Azonto Epistles 1: So what has happened to Loyality in Football?

Azonto epistles 1: So what has happened to Loyality in Football?

!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=”//”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitterThe maiden edition of a series of articles which tackle hardcore issues of football in and around Chelsea and captures the chorus and sentiments of fans dubbed the “Azonto epistles” by ChelseaFC360’s Ghana correspondent Seth Adusei, who looks at “loyalty” in football by players and clubs. Please be warned it could be quite controversial.

During transfer windows like these whiles fans of some clubs enjoy and celebrate the arrivals of new players, others continually to talk of issues like betrayal of loyalty by some players. Some fans even go to the extent of burning the replica jerseys of their ex-players and idols just to demonstrate how unhappy they are about the exit of those players from their cherished clubs. Chelsea, like many other top and rich European clubs have mostly been the perpetrators of many major and controversial transfer tassles which evoke the feelings of many of the fans at the receiving end of this saga. The most recent of this “loyalty” crisis comes as a result of the shocking capture of Robin Van Persie by Manchester United from their close rivals Arsenal. What epitomizes this whole issue of “loyalty” in this is that the said player (Mr. Robin van Persie aka RVP) happened to be the captain of Arsenal and had been taken care of by Arsenal Football club so many years of been injured. The full season he happened to have without injury has seen his exit. I believe this is just one of the many “lack of loyalty” types of transfers which fans show their open displeasure of. The issue “Azonto epistles” will like us to deliberate upon is, is there anything called “loyalty” in football? Are fans justified to call for player loyalty especially in such a competitive football world where these same fans celebrate the capture of players from other clubs? Finally how do clubs handle issues of loyalty like that of Arsenal which has become something of a “captaincy curse”?

In the last few years, transfers which have caused fans uproar include; Michael Laudrup and Figo from Barcelona to Real Madrid, Tevez-United to City, Torres-Liverpool to Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mascherano, Alonso. The rest include Ashley Cole, Nasri, Adebayor, Clichy, Fabregas, Kolo Toure, Thiery Henry, Vieira etc. There could be an endless list which I know you can continue whiles reading. Since the transfer window has come to be a crucial part of football for player recruitement, why do fans continue to demand for player loyalty? What about club and fans loyalty to players? After the glorious double winning squad of Chelsea have achieved the mission impossible of conquering Europe to see the club avoid the demotion of playing in the Thursday night League, Chelsea offloaded Bosingwa and did not renew the contract of Salomon Kalou and the Legend, Didier Drogba. Nobody in Chelsea can convince me that if the club had shown the seriousness needed to renew their contract, they would have declined but we did not. Doesn’t this also border on lack of loyalty by the club towards these committed former players of Chelsea?

On the side of fans, have we been so patient and loyal to the players who have performed at the highest level for the club and in one way or the other have found their form dip like Florent Malouda who in the 2009-10 season was the best Chelsea player and drove us forward with stunning performances and goals when Didier left for the African Cup tournament? How many fans don’t wish that Raul Mereiles who defended and rescued Chelsea in the crucial part of last season against oppositions like Manchester City, Benfica and the almighty Barcelona be offloaded by the club? What about Michael the Bison Essien? I can go on and on but the point is, football fans and clubs should not expect any loyalty from players because they are not loyal to players

The Arsenal Football Club’s “Loyalty Crisis”; a case study:
 Arsenal FC was one of the first clubs to introduce a policy of lack of loyalty to players who have been loyal to the club. When Wenger introduced their policy of not extending the contract of players for more than just one year of you turn 30 years, it affected many of their long serving and committed players like Denis Berkamp, Fredie Llunjberg and Patrick Vieira, little did they know that the club in one day will suffer from loyalty crisis today. The lack of fighting spirit and character exhibited by Arsenal through their trophy droubt seasons can be attributed to their lack committed long serving players who can inspire their young ones to victory just as Frank Lampard did and stood out to be counted during our troubling times last season. It is difficult to understand why a top team like Arsenal will suffer such a fate even against opposition like Birmingham City who were relegated later but the answer lies right under their nose; if you have a team with players who cannot identify themselves with the traditions of the club, it makes your team a soulless club with plastic players who only work as mercenaries. From captain to the goalkeeper, none of the players have the passion to fight for Arsenal.

People ask why Arsenal continues to lose their key players and even captains. Do you want to know? The answer is quite a painful truth and reality but it is only controversial “Azonto Epistles” which can say it. Every football club in the world is guided by tradition and certain ethos which is transmitted and communicated through the players on the pitch. The issue is that it is not easy to fight and die for a club which your heart is not ingrained in it and when this is the case, you will find it hard to enjoy certain divine and hand-of-God interventions which we call “Luck”. Have you asked yourself why do Frank Lampard and John Terry always stand up to be counted during crucial times in Chelsea? Arsene Wenger over the years has built a very strong youthful multicultural team dominated by his French compatriots at some point. There were times if you look at Arsenal first eleven, hardly will you realize it is an English club due to a very limited number of English players. Wenger, whether you like it or not has biases towards his compatriots and what point am I driving at? These players like many non- English/British players have continually been the subject of controversial transfers which has rocked the boat of the club. Chelsea has had a stabled captain in John Terry and Frank Lampard who will not swap Chelsea for any team in the world because it is their club, it is in their blood, they breath and live Chelsea. The only reason for a captain of a top team like Arsenal to abandon it and go to another club is that they care less about it; they have travelled to London to work as professionals and when they feel they cannot achieve their personal targets, they leave. Henry, Vieira, Frabegas, and Van Persie who were captains of Arsenal have all left Arsenal with an excuse which can only be g
iven by a worker who has no personal, emotional and historical attachment to the club. These tendencies of lack of loyalty to Arsenal by these captains can only be laid at the door step of Arsene Wenger and the Club which over the years have heavily relied on the development of non-English/British players to both as leaders who are supposed to lead by example and key players on the pitch. How can a top British club like Arsenal hand over their captaincy to players who openly profess their love to play for other European rivals like the case of former captain Fabregas who never hid his commitment to his home club Barcelona? Is it not strange that Robin Van Persie, captain and a player Arsenal has shown so much love to in his troubling injury ridden career will abandon the club for title rivals Manchester United? The likes of Adebayor, Nasri, Song, Hleb, Toure and Clichy are just too many to be coincidence but the point is that players who play for their home clubs like Xavi and the Catalans, Steve Gerard, John Terry, Frank Lampard and many of the players who lead their home teams hardly abandon them in a bizarre manner as players like Carlos Tevez, Fernando Torres, Chritiano Ronaldo, RVP, Nasri, Figo, Michael Laudrup etc. do switch clubs in a controversial manner.

Many would have thought that after the proposed exit of Luca Modric, Gareth Bale will rock the Spurs boat by following but he has quickly put transfer speculation to a hold by showing his commitment to the club when he extended his contracts by four years. With all the speculation surrounding Theo Walcott’s future, I believe hardly will he choose to exit if Arsenal truly wants him to stay. Frank Lampard, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Ryan Giggs, and Paul Scholes will all choose to retire at their respective and native clubs. That is how football club is run, it is a human institution and the personal attachment, emotions and commitment shown by its players go a long way to affect its fortunes.

Loyalty to a football club is rare and almost nonexistent but “Azonto Epistles” have observed that it can found among players who can identify themselves with the clubs like its natives and few foreigners like the Drogba’s and Zola’s of this world. These players are the true legends and clubs must seek to court and develop. Maybe the time when Arsenal’s captain debacle becomes stabled would be when Jack Wilshere or the other natives become leaders of the club like Terry and Lampard; until then, expect their new captain Vermalen to exit on a certain 15th day of August.
By Seth Adusei, Chief Ghana Correspondent 

  1. Anonymous says

    MAscherano and xabi Alonso? how come they come into the list? -_-

  2. Anonymous says

    MAscherano and xabi Alonso? how come they come into the list? -_-

  3. Anonymous says

    give drogba a break he has achieved evrything u can think of with chelsea so i think its nice for him to leave he is a real legend

  4. Anonymous says

    give drogba a break he has achieved evrything u can think of with chelsea so i think its nice for him to leave he is a real legend

  5. Anonymous says

    Completely agree.. nice article

  6. Anonymous says

    Completely agree.. nice article

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