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Leave loyalty to the fans: players need to show integrity and take responsibility

Next time the big buck’s player kisses his badge be afraid ,be very afraid. He’s probably plotting his escape. It’s a lovely little gesture and at best it shows solidarity with the fans and appreciation for your ticket money. At worst it’s a cynical and inappropriate attempt to demonstrate loyalty. And that is the last thing fans need from a player. Loyalty is overrated and frequently misguided.It can lead you way down the wrong path if you blindly follow its trail. You need integrity to inform where your loyalty lies.

Players’ talents are a commodity, bought and sold in a fluid market. The price of those talents is discovered and set by the market. But critically the talents belong to players who need to make choices and take responsibility for those choices, If they are incapable of making informed choices then he contracts they sign are suspect to say the least. They shouldn’t hide behind their agents and advisers, throw up their hands, abrogate responsibility and say they made me do it. Critically, fans should hold players to account for their behaviour in the process of contract negotiations as well as on the pitch. The FA’s effective engagement with the issue is as scant as Gary Brooke’s 1983 shorts.The high earners are doing little to benefit the game as a whole and they shouldn’t be loved by the fans whilst they destabilise the market with their inflationary wage demands which threaten the existence of clubs lower down the leagues.

Players need to take full and continuing responsibility for the contracts they sign and the wage demands made by them or on their behalf. Then as professionals they should do their job as best they can. Which in a small way represents integrity. The majority, we hope, act in this way and it is to their credit. Footballers, you have to imagine, are happy in their well paid work. They have short careers but this is no excuse to bludgeon to death any notion of integrity during the falsetto drama of the transfer window. They are entitled to do the best they can for themselves and their families but they must remember that fans pay their wages and they need to act as if they live in the real world, for when their short careers are done they will have to slum it with the rest of us.

We love them for their skill and their ability to act out our dreams on the impossibly green grass of professional football. Sporting role models perhaps and exemplars of the beautiful game maybe but we should never expect them to be our moral guides, for then we truly would be in a mess.However we must not allow them to trample all over the passion, support and cash stumped up by men and women of all ages by thinking they are exempt from taking responsible for themselves.

You know it’s time for action when it appears the prevailing power is running away with all the spoils and are beyond challenge. A shift is due. There needs to be concerted action by fans(if they can see beyond the travails of their own club) to show the players that they will be held responsible for their own contractual mess and the consequential damage to individual clubs and the wider football world. Fans need more representation within clubs. A prospect that will send a chill down the collective spines of the impenetrable network of individuals and companies currently running football.Fans need to step up and show they care. Otherwise their undoubted loyalty and adoration could begin to look a little misguided.

Leave loyalty to the fans:players need to show integrity and take responsibility. Kick Integrity Into Football.

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