FOOTBALL: PLAYER LOYALTY
Are players fans of their teams - and should they be?
We asked our 2 football correspondents to consider this issue .
One of the reasons why Fulham are where they are is the lack of commitment to the cause from the likes of Berbatov, Ruiz and Taarabt. Under the blessed Roy Hodgson, the forwards chased down the opposition back four but Berbatov strolls around in his own skilful bubble. We don’t expect players to be fans but like Scott Parker we expect commitment.
Very few players actually support the team they play for. Fulham does seem to leave a bigger impression than most epitomised by a comment from Nick Cusack who played in the Micky Adams era ” playing for Fulham stays with you…” It’s also fair comment that Clint Dempsey is the latest of the line who have left the Cottage but to their financial but not career advantage.
Lee Clark was a massive Newcastle fan, he even had a box at St James Park . He always seemed to score for Fulham against them but no one questioned his Cottage commitment.
Alan Smith, a die hard Fulham fan of 4 generations managed Crystal Palace to a Premier League promotion but he and Ray Lewington were not breaking open the bubbly as that season Fulham were relegated to the bottom flight.
No, i don’t expect players to be fans and when they kiss the club crest on their jersey i know that they will be off if their agent can find then better money. The only loyalty in the game is from us mugs ,the supporters.
We Fiorentina supporters are passionate. One season we lost 8-2 and the defender responsible had his villa attacked. We will make our feelings clear with banners such as” vergogno” ( shame) or in extreme cases protest at the training ground. The ultras wield stronger power than the ” crews” that follow a premier side home and away.
I have spoken to Alan on Berbatov who was going to sign for Fiorentina till he changed his mind at Munich airport and signed for Fulham
Gabriel Batistuta was and is a Fiorentina fan but I doubt if any other are. Ironically Viola club Londra fans see Emiliano Viviano at most televised Fiorentina games. He is now the Arsenal number 2 keeper and played for Fiorentina. Born in Fiesole he is a Fiorentina fanatic with a daughter called Viola , he was sad that Montella would not sign him permanently.
I doubt if Fiorentina fans would tolerate the type of lack of commitment displayed by some Fulham players and would be more vocal in getting their feelings across. As it is we are doing well this saason and its rare for the whole societa to be functioning cohesively.
As in most European leagues where there are a few dominant clubs that have the financial muscle loyalty to one team is rare when one of the big teams come calling. Thus a few years,ago Fiorentina fan rioted when Roberto Baggio was sold to Juventus it was not his disloyalty but Juve that was the issue. Playing for for Juve Baggio refused to take a penalty against Fiorentina and left the pitch draped in a Fiorentina flag. I believe that when Denis Law scored for Manchester city and thereby demoted Manchester united, he walked off the pitch. Sadly I don’t think you would either this happening in the modern game.