The lack of loyalty in sport has been an ongoing problem for sporting clubs around the world. The constant disrespect shown by players to the clubs, that in many cases, have given them their chance to shine is a blight on the sporting world and in particular those players themselves. The problem of disloyalty is not concerned with just one sport, it has effected almost every sporting organisation in the world from the NBA with LeBron james’s move from Cleveland to Miami, to the AFL with Gary Ablett and Mark Thompson’s moves from Geelong to Gold Coast and Essendon respectively but the one sport which has drawn such constant and ridculous lack of loyalty is world football.
One of football’s brightest stars Wayne Rooney, is a fine example of this lack of loyalty. Rooney was a boyhood Everton supporter and made a dream signing by joining his supported club’s youth academy at the age of just nine. He went through the various youth teams at Everton before signing a professional contract with the club when he was seventeen years of age. Soon after he made his breakthrough in the first team before establishing himself as a regular starting striker for the club after they had nurtured his talent since the signed him some eight years before. After just his second professional season for Everton, Wayn Rooney chose to chase the lure of money that Manchester United were offering rather than show loyalty to the club that gave him the opportunity and invested ten years into his development. Sure, Everton were compensated for the transfer of Rooney but we all know of Everton’s inability to find a consistent striker since his departure and one might think of what could have been if he had of stayed at the club he supported as a child.
It is not just the players which have shown a complete lack of loyalty but also the clubs themselves, with one example of this being Manchester City Football Club and the farce they created by having four managers in the same year. During 1996 Manchester City were managed by Asa Hartford, Steve Coppell, Phil Neal and Frank Clark. Coppel and Neal were both at the helm for just a month each before they were sacked, not being allowed the time to rebuild and introduce their own tactics onto a club. How on Earth did Manchester City think that this was an adequate time frame for these managers to turn their fortunes around without having the ability to work with the squad for a sufficient period of time? This total lack of respect and loyalty to the hiring of the men that they must have thought could turn the club around was a disgrace.
Its not all lack of loyalty in world football though there are cases of strong loyalty shown between clubs and players, as well as managers which have provided the groundwork for successful relationships. Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher have both been at their club, Liverpool, for their entir professional careers. These two have shown strong loyalty to the club that nurtured their talents and gave them the opportunity to play at the highest level even when faced with the lure of hefty offers from other clubs, Manchester United and Gerrard in particular. Another fine example of loyalty is that of Alessandro Del Piero, who since signing for Juventus in 1993 has remained loyal, despite having his club relagated to the second division in 2006. His faith and trust in the club whom had shown the same when signing him was rewarded with promotion in their first year in Serie B even becoming a world cup winner during his time in the second division, not many people can claim that.
All in all football is like most sports where some players and clubs are going to show loyalty and disloyalty at some stage in their careers but hopefully Gerrard, Carragher and Del Piero can pave the way for more footballers showing loyalty to their clubs and help build the successful foundations for their clubs and themselves.