It seems to me that the minimum requirement from a professional football player is that player actually plays football, yet record breaking Carlos Tevez this week felt that this was not a compulsory part of his £250,000 a-week contract. This compounded the last 15 years of growing player power within the game that could not be seen in any other profession in the world. This is not a complaint against player salaries. Footballers get paid what they are worth. Within the free market if they were not earning their respective clubs more money than they are being paid, then most clubs (with the exceptions of your Man City’s and Real Madrid’s) would simply not pay them as much. But, these are young men who make a very comfortable living doing something that millions of people do for fun, so why do they think that they require special treatment?? The more you are paid, the harder you are expected to work. More should be demanded of players. Andy Carroll’s contract with Liverpool is to play football to the best of his ability. You find me a doctor who says that beer and night clubs helps athletes perform well. Why is it tolerated that players don’t do everything within their power to perform at the top of their game? With the choice to become a professional must come professionalism, and that means personal sacrifice.
But I don’t think this is the players’ fault. They learn how to conduct themselves by taking examples from the senior men in football, running the clubs and coaching the teams. Sunderland were booed off the pitch this week after a lackluster draw at home to West Bromwich Albion, and the response from Steve Bruce and the club was all too predictable. Fans are consistently criticised for not having enough patience with the team, and that supporting a club is about cheering for the side however they perform. But the commercialisation of clubs into businesses means that they, like the players want to have it both ways. The high level professionalisation of football means that supporters of big clubs are not really members of the organisation, but are instead patrons of the company, and as such will treat it like one. They will complain if they feel that the service they have paid for is not up to scratch, and more worryingly will take their custom elsewhere if they are not satisfied. There’s nothing wrong with running a team as a business, but the clubs must then accept that they are providing a service, and loyalty is a rare trait within the modern day consumer.
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