Coming to the end of the season means one thing for every professional football club in the land… new signings!! I expect Sam Allardyce and the West Ham United Chairmen have been working since about March to start securing new playing staff and this always raises the questions about agents, wage demands, activation of clauses in contracts, and the bitterness of supporters when their star player moves on for more money.
I am the first to jump on the band wagon when a player appears to have signed for a club, based purely on money. Queens Park Rangers are the classic example this season. Loic Remy was set to sign for Newcastle, a team, at the time, were mid table, but at the last minute, he signed for bottom of the table QPR. Would Christopher Samba have really signed for QPR had he not been offered £100k a week? I don’t think he would. It was well known that he wanted to return to the UK, but I am sure other parties would have been interested, could have paid the £12m transfer fee, but in the end, QPR offered the most in wages and bonuses, so he went there.
But are footballers greedy? Or is it a case they are just doing what is best for their future? Take football out of the equation for a minute, and apply this to a normal, every day office job. Imagine you are working for a company, and you have been there a couple of years. You have a good reputation, and have built this through hard work. Another company head hunts you, and asks you to come and work for their company, doing the same role, but earning more money, and have performance related bonuses signed into the contract. This company offers you more security, and means your family will also be secure for years to come. The new company are bigger, and if you perform at this company, your reputation grows meaning you can grow even more in your field of work. You have gone back to your current employer and asked for a raise, but they say they cannot afford it. You want to stay loyal, but you have been given a massive chance to better yourself and your life. What do you do?
It’s an interesting debate, and one that is not going be solved by me writing this article, but think of it like this. If a footballer, playing for West Ham United, gets spotted by a bigger club, we’ll say Manchester United in this case, would you expect them to stay at West Ham? Probably not. Does it mean they hate the club? Not if they have been treated right. But a bigger club, coming in and allowing you to enhance your reputation as a good footballer on the World stage, whilst also offering you more money to do it, and security for your family for the rest of their lives, and their childrens lives, and their childrens children and so on, it’s pretty difficult to turn it down isn’t it? There are obviously other aspects you will need to take into consideration. Moving to a different area, settling into that area, will you make the grade at the bigger club, will your kids be ok moving so far away from their friends?
Footballers get paid an astronomical amount of money for what they do, but fact is, if someone offers you £50k a week, are you going to turn it down? Not unless your Ashley Cole.