This is an article written for and published on Les Artilleurs by
@andysternAFC that we are helping to publicise for him.Personally I dont agree 100% but near enough.It makes some great points.
Loyalty is a funny thing in football. Is there any loyalty left in football, or indeed, did it ever exist? Whereas an abundance of loyalty can only lead one to become a fan favourite, disloyalty is one of the cardinal sins of football, and the player (or indeed manager) to commit such a sin will undoubtedly become a villain for the rest of their life. Of course, every cloud has a silver lining, and more often than not, the traitor will be welcomed with open arms at their new club.
I’m writing this article to coincide with not only the transfer from Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich of Mario Gotze, but also with the one player who is probably most revered at the moment amongst the Arsenal fans (see this poll for more evidence; at the time of writing, he [RVP] is top, with 32.26% of the votes) set to walk out on Sunday with a guard of honour, against his former club, that showed all the loyalty that they could during his career there. But this isn’t a backlash article, it’s one I’ve been thinking about for a long time, and I hope that comes across.
As a starting point, the Mario Gotze transfer is as good as they come, fortunately for me! For all the talk about how fantastically well run Bayern Munich are, they most certainly are not a homegrown side. Far from it, and whilst most of their players are German, they’re not all Bayern through and through (the obvious two Bayern blooded players are Schweinsteiger and Lahm). They’ve got a knack of snapping up the best talent from around Germany, and thus not only improving themselves, but also diminishing their rivals’ chances for the next season. Plus, it eliminates any fears over whether or not they’ll be able to adapt to a new league. Clever, eh? Mario Gomez, Neuer and Mandukic were all plucked from Bundesliga clubs, but this isn’t a recent trend. Our very own Podolski was taken from F.C. Koln, and going even further back, Van Buyten, Ballack and Lucio were all plying their trade in the Bundesliga before their moves to Bayern. Now Gotze can be added to the list, and perhaps Lewandowski too.
Okay, so maybe Bayern are an anomaly? After all, they are by far the most prestigious club in Germany, and one of the greatest in the world. What about their probable opponents in the 2013 Champions League final, Borussia Dortmund? Yes, so their squad has been assembled for less than £29m. But that assumes that either they’ve promoted players, or they’ve bought cheaply. Hummels, Subotic, Gundogen, Kuba, Bender, Reus and Lewandowski (Kagawa too, although they made a tidy profit of around £13m on him) were all bought, or signed on a free transfer. The only big players missing there are Gotze and Kehl, and whilst the former is off to Bavaria, the latter is coming towards the end of his playing days with Dortmund. Whilst these players will have very fond memories of playing for Dortmund, they don’t have the same emotional attachment to the club as you’d expect Gotze to have, given that he’s been there since he’s been 9.
Emotional attachment plays a large role in loyalty, particularly in the world of football. Just look at Fabregas – no-one’s voted for him in the aforementioned poll, despite the claims of striking, as well as the acrimonious transfer. Cesc was always going to go back to the club he was raised at (we didn’t make him, unfortunately – we developed him into the world class player he is now, but the foundations were clearly there). This inevitability went some way to softening the blow for us, and there was definitely a sense that he’d given his all for Arsenal; it was only ever us or Barcelona. Unfortunately, Barcelona were also the best club in the world – who wouldn’t want to go back there, especially when you’d be reunited with your childhood amigos. But suppose it doesn’t work out at Barca – he’d come back to Arsenal, because of the emotional attachments. They’re just not as strong as the ones pulling him to the Catalan club.
But to be honest, it’s rare that one gets to play for the club that one has supported all ones life. If that was the case, Arsenal would have millions of players on their books, and Wigan would have 17. Especially when that club is Barcelona, given the unique skill set required, and the standard to which that skill set must be honed to. If they really wanted him, I’ve got no doubt that Arteta would jump ship to rejoin Barcelona, having been a La Masia graduate. No matter how professional you are, playing for a club as a fan is only going to happen once, so you’d probably take it.
Sometimes, you have to play for a rival club at a young age – this must be very tough indeed. Whilst this sometimes doesn’t work out, those that do often result in extraordinary cases. I’m thinking primarily of Jamie Carragher and Andres Iniesta – two very different players, but each with similar histories. Carragher was an Everton fan, and Iniesta claimed that his dream was to win the Champions League…with Real Madrid. Look at them now? Carragher’s been the mainstay of Liverpool teams for the past 10 years or so, and Iniesta has been one of the key influences in Barcelona’s meteoric rise over the last few seasons (but once more, Barcelona’s a special case here, given the ratio of La Masia graduates in the first team right now).
Of course, there are other factors in transfers, and one of these is success – Barcelona has that too, but let’s just forget that for a minute. Sol Campbell joined Arsenal because we were a successful club, and because he knew that he would win things at Arsenal. On principle, that’s bad – he’s not only left, but he’s joined a rival, so that he can win the league at their ground. But I guess that’s just why Arsenal fans love him so much. Going back to an earlier point, that’s why so many big players join Bayern – they can almost always be guaranteed silverware at some point or another.
The terms upon which one leaves, and the comments that are made about the club after the move can often determine the future relationship with the fans of the club that player leaves. To use Arsenal examples here, Fabregas and Henry are always both glowing about Arsenal, which sets them apart from RVP, who seems to have blotted out any memory of us from his mind, and Na$ri just tends to be rude about us, unless he’s talking about Wenger. I don’t believe that Na$ri left for the money, I think he left for the trophies. However, he chose City for the extortionate wages. I personally think that he was good enough to have won the title for United last season, had he been there. They didn’t offer enough to him, and thus he went to City, and played a role in winning them the league.
Is success a good enough reason to move clubs, even if it means annoying multiple sets of fans? Ibrahimovic certainly thinks so – “If you move to five different places it is a real test. If you succeed that’s when you become a real champion, that’s when you get more respect”. Whether you like it or not, he talks sense – it can be easy to plod along at one club for you whole career and win very little, but in order to challenge yourself, you may well have to move. As for his move to P$G, well that’s clearly about the money, but at the same time, he could well win Ligue 1, which would add yet another trophy to his (presumably IKEA) cabinet. Another player (who ironically also shone against England in 2012) who likes to wander around a little bit is Andrea Pirlo – AC Milan, Internazionale and Juventus have all had success when he’s been at each club. I guess Zlatan and Pirlo can be justified then.
But then again, I guess that’s what hurts so much about RVP’s loss to Manchester United. He was justified in his move, unfortunately – that’s clear from the fact he’s spearheaded them to the league title in his first season there, and arguably he’s been playing worse than he was last season, where he came fourth. The same goes for Ashley Cole – he’s won almost everything at Chelsea, and he didn’t at Arsenal. They might have left for financial reasons, but unfortunately, their moves were justified by the success they’ve both had.
A lot’s been said about Arsenal’s British core, and how Wenger wants to build a team around Wilshere, Ramsey, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson and to some extent Walcott (who’s slightly older) and Szczesny (who’s an honorary cockney). Loyalty-wise, Jack and Jenkinson look set, and Chamberlain is a self professed Arsenal fan too. Ramsey though? He strikes me as a model professional (playing out of position but not moaning, no pay rise in new long term contract etc.), but should Cardiff come knocking at the door with lots of money and the promise of lots of trophies, would he say no? I can imagine him going there. As for Walcott, I think he’ll be fine (as will Gibbs), but only as long as we suit his needs, namely playing him up front, either with someone else or alone (preferably the former).
Loyalty in football isn’t a given, by any stretch of the imagination – yes, you get players like Zanetti or Maldini, but they’re so special because they’re so rare. Leaving a club doesn’t have to be acrimonious, and it’s easy to spot when someone genuinely has an affection for a club (i.e. Henry) – whilst some transfers are unpredictable, almost always there are reasons why a player moves. These loyalty issues aren’t new, they can be traced back a long way, but naturally they’ve been augmented by the injections of cash into many teams. One can’t always expect loyalty, but one should expect respect – the way in which players leave clubs often determines the regard in which they are held, and whether they’re booed or cheered when they return in opposing colours.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it – please share if you did enjoy it!
Dortmund are Arsenaling Maureen’s rectum at the moment. 4-1 and only thinking of attacking.
Gotta love those blackenyellows.
what a truly wonderful player Reus is.
He is a lot like his idol Rosicky.
Never bring a knife to a gunfight.
You are spot on.
I’ll give the kid a break ( assuming he’s a younger supporter). As George said some of his argument doesn’t hold up to thorough scrutiny.
Ps trying to get yourself barred out of the other blog bars mate?
Calling shite talk for what it is only annoys the blogmeister ( not you George, the other one) especially when the shite talk is moong from the bear’s ass. “The board should be changed coz we don’t know what they do” FFS.
You did we’ll to keep your temper down.
Anicoll, I’m still bitter about that because the winning goal came from his side of the pitch and I think he was already half out of the club. Rumour has it that Colin Lewin questioned the validity of his ‘injury’ prior his return for that match. AW perhaps should have stuck with the winning team rather than opt for the experience. We’ll never know.
Frank, I think AW tried to make light of the issue in an attempt to take the heat out of the situation. He probably misjudged the strength of some supporters feelings, but from his point of view he can’t be a hypocrite – he has taken advantage of other players wanting to join AFC for money or the chance to win things. So whatever his personal feelings, he has to act like a professional and focus on the players who are currently part of the club and not be pining for what might have been. His comparison of JVC with a woman who is desperate for a baby and hears her biological clock ticking is spot on and for me softens the blow a bit when I think about it that way. He has his medal now, but not much more. It’s kind of sad, in a pathetic way and for me I can now sense a shift in my feelings about him and what happened. I’d rather focus on those who are still fighting for the team and accept that the manager is not infallible but he means well and wants what is best for the club.
I have to agree re Theo though. He used the situation last summer to his advantage to extract the maximum out of his new contract. I will watch is future moves with interest because there is a young man with an eye for the main chance.
great scenes at the bernabau
Plenty of time for Webb to win the game left.
the ref did not get too much wrong today.
Real might have .0000001 % of decisions go wrongly against them infact. It was a good game of football.
well done dortmund.
well tried Real.
Mourinho will cry about the ref. wait and watch. lol
the funny thing is the scoreline is actually flattering on Real.
Real played amazingly in the first 5 minutes and the last 10 minutes. Dortmund ruled the rest of the match and had amazing chances to go front.
i still cannot believe some of the dortmund misses.
I would like to give AW the benefit of the doubt, Passenal.
This is not a criticism bit a comment,
Wenger and Gazidis could have tied up Theo’s contract in the early summer before the Euros but I think they were waiting to see how much of the wages kitty Robbing was going to use up to want to stay. When he realised that 130 or tops 150 a week was going to be our best offer he ran, and ran.
(Thank’s Darren Dein).
Theo’s people then knew that we had some wage cash spare so he maximised the outcome for himself. When he is compared to other English stars at rival clubs the 100 a week is relative, €ity and €haves pay more to far worse English payers than Theo. it is really interesting however that we gave him such a short contract. Part of his new deal includeds more personal image rights, no problem with that from me if it sweetened the deal.
He now has to walk the talk or walk.
DC, from what I remember, Theo did not want to work on a contract early out. I could be mistaken all the same?
hey frank it is sickening it really is. clapping for them wankers did not sit right with me either. really hate them. as for robin leaving, its him who left really. how? by basically shitting on the club. why would he prefer united to arsenal? thats standard ian wright-esque lets play the “fan” card …thats how i see it. the health and stability of the club is far more important than adventures for titles. if this period is chosen to be all about health in finances then we bite the bullet, we go argggghhh, we go sick, yes to all that ..but i dont know if im justified to feel like i need explanations for what happened…. its more like robin should explain why and if united offered him a safer passage to a medal than arsenal, like barca offered easy cl medal for henry… he should explain how its possible to be a football child of wenger and running and hugging ferguson.
From what I recall in the papers before the euros Theo didn’t want to discuss renewing his contract during the match season as if would distract from is game(!?’!) for arsenal but he appeared to be somewhat put out that we didn’t start ringing his agents every 10 minutes last summer. Definatly AFC let the contract talks fallow during the Euros with Theo while we sat out the bullshit with Grecian 2000.
jose mourinho : “It is a red card for Mats Hummels, he saw it, everybody saw it but in that moment he was not a ref he was a human being. He thought ‘if I give him a red card here, he misses the final’.”
ahahahhahahhhhhhhhhahahahahha ….i will ignore the fact hummels was on the floor..unintentional…ill just focus at the fergie-esqe manner of it all..the “friendly” cuddling towards webb..that “we” all saw it…so much fergie there….the managerial son of wenger has humiliated the managerial son of ferguson.
thank you dortmund, well done! couldnt stand that tosser going for a third with a third team. none of all this mourinho thing would have ever happened if we had been serious against chelsea in 2004 second leg qf.
that loss was really really painful wasn’t it. Wayne bridge 😦
I have never heard his name nor seen him play. He must be really good if Arsene is talking about him eh?
Why Walcott did not extend his contract sooner nobody knows. Walcott has never said anything disrespectful nor he behaved in that way. Arsene has never said anything negative about him.
The only possible two reasons imho why he did not extend are
a. He wanted to leave.
b. He wanted more money.
If it was ‘b’ I really don’t have a problem with that as his game improved magnificently in the last 2 years and what with the exorbitant pay lesser players seem to enjoy in todays world.
Unless somebody proves clearly to me it was ‘a’ (all the current evidence is against this), I’ll blame Walcott for anything.
He is an Arsenal player and should be treated like one.
I’ll not blame*
He and his team put a gun to the clubs head.
Then cavorted about in RVP’s shirt.
He is either
a)a bit fucking dim
b)on the wind up
He is an Arsenal player and should behave like one.Not an RVP fan boy
Sadly I hope it is (a).
Most footballers are a monkey wrench short of a full bag of spanners.
I think Skunky little boy was actually genuinely shocked that we don’t love him anymore.
I really think he thought if we were ok about King Henry we would accept his decision to move as fair.
As I said – what an idiot.
100k a week to keep theo is the market rate.
If Theo deserves to be our top earner ,I am a Spud
Hummels has had many a cap stolen off of him by Per. Though i guess the two should play together for ze Germans. What’s more interesting is what the three top top CBs at AFC represent.
The inspiring ’08 team had a template of three types of striker. one useless twunt was injured, one striker was ‘taken out’ and the other bagged thirty odd that year, and OG is an improvement on the latter. no doubt.
It is a template AFC have stuck with I think- it’s logical to imagine there might be a signing up front to come during the silly season, or a promotion, I’m happy to see what happens. But having three quality CBs as well, four including the (still) great Sagna, what does it mean? I guess circumstance dictated that this rebuilt squad has more parts at the back for now, which is no bad thing, and there’s more to come. What I’m trying to say is that this new squad/team could easily turn out to be stronger then the 08 squad. Looking forward to the next few games and next season already!
Oi. Leave Theo alone!
He is guilty of listening to his agent. But at least he’s not as dumb as Peter Odemwinge!
h13: “the managerial son of wenger has humiliated the managerial son of ferguson.”
double cannister: “100k a week to keep theo is the market rate.”
such a lucky boy, our master walcott.
but he is going to have to really grow in character to earn my loyalty
PG: “If Theo deserves to be our top earner , I am a Spud”
..guess i’m a Spud too then.
as canister says even I think its (a).
But we should understand he is the fastest footballer in the world and that is no small feat, which also means his potential far greater than what he has so far displayed. He is the sort of player who will only improve.
I’ll want Walcott at Arsenal for a very long time, unless he doesn’t want to stay ofcourse in which case he can leave at the correct rate like RVP. If he does leave I’ll forget him just as easily as I did Van Persie. No player is above ARSENAL and that’s the bottom line.