This week, Real Madrid lodged a purported bid of £86 million with Spurs for Gareth Bale. Spurs turned it down. Gareth Bale, it turned out, was pretty unhappy about this, after all the chance to play champions League football for one of the biggest clubs in the world, for more money, in a nicer climate is hardly something you’d turned down. The print media went mental. Adjective such as ‘staggering’ were thrown around like bananas at a chimps tea party.
But , in truth, is a player wanting to leave a club in order to improve his situation that shocking at all? Are the media simply playing up to this sense of self-righteous indignation simply to sell more papers to fans whom with head-scratching regularity cry that they ‘deserve better’?
The Gareth Bale situation (I refuse to call it a ‘Saga’ as, in general, it’s a word used by the media to frame a situation they themselves have created) is the third in a holy trinity of transfer requests in British football this summer. The other two of course are those of Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez. Between the three there is common themes: They are all considered top talents, they all earn huge amounts of money and they are all unhappy in there current employ to the point where they want to leave.
The common theme running parallel to those is the fans of the players respective clubs. All are showing a lacking grasp on reality, making the logical into the emotional.
Take if you will the Luis Suarez situation first. All and sundry of Liverpool’s fanbase will tell you he is indeed ‘world class’ . There is no denying that, questionable antics aside, Suarez is a remarkable talent, one of the best. So why with any ounce of logic would anyone expect him to stay at a club who could only muster a 7th finish in the league last season? Brendan Rodgers has stated that Suarez owes the club a ‘debt of loyalty’, the player who scored over 30% of the league goals last season. It’s a shame to see such a proud and historic football club bend and twist itself and its image in order to try and placate a player who quite simply doesn’t want to be there anymore.
The situation at Old Trafford is not identical but does share some similarities. Wayne Rooney wants to leave, though doubtful for the same success driven reasons as Luis Suarez. If indeed the rumours are true that communication between the player and manager were almost non-existent last season, and with there seemingly no over reliance on the player with other attacking options open, then the likelihood of Rooney playing in red next season look slim. The fans of the club will no doubt sprout the line of ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’.
I had a co-worker once, a Manchester United supporter, who said “United trade on two things, success and loyalty”, however I find that quite hard to quantify considering their acquisition of Robin Van Persie, Arsenals club captain, last season. Would you consider what RVP did to Arsenal be a loyal act? So why once the name on the shirt has changed does the player somehow become a different player, someone whom becomes immune to all the bad things once he’s wearing you club colours.
I was at a West Ham game back in 2009. It was a good game the hosts beat Fulham three goals toone. But what I remember most about that game was the crowd. For the whole game a section of home fans chanted, without stopping, “F**k off Craig Bellamy” over and over and over. To put it into context in the week leading up to the game Craig Bellamy had handed in a transfer request. His fine form had inevitably sparked the interest of a number of ‘bigger’ clubs. What I thought then has not changed in the years since, why bother? Why bother wasting your energy telling someone who wants to leave to go away?
It seems ludicrous, but it happens at nearly every club. Its almost an analogy of the behaviours of a certain breed of male in nightclubs across Britain and Ireland; If a girl turns them down she immediately becomes ‘a slag’ or whatever to cushion the huge crushing pressures exuding down on their egos.
The emotional nature of football is one of the key ingredients that makes it, to my mind, the true world game. However it is also that adolescent emotion that can become so tiresome and quite frankly embarrassing.
And so to Spurs fans, at the time of writing the transfer hangs on the balance. Perhaps the perfect time to dispense the truth. If Gareth Bale stays well done, your club has managed to hold onto a truly world class talent for atleast another year. If he goes to Real Madrid be proud that your club was one of the key factors in making Bale a Galaticos. But in both situations ALWAYS remember this, if Bale had flopped in his first two seasons at White Heart Lane in all likelihood he would have been sold to anyone who had an interest and may well would have never been heard of again. the loyalty that fans so crave from their players is a figment of their imagination as , much like respect, loyalty is a two way street.