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Loyalty of a Sort

Hlebs ice cream expedition and continuing questions about Flamini`s commitment to extending his contract has added to similar concerns earlier in the season following quotes attributed to Bendtner and also to Cesc`s agent. Clearly many see these as displaying a lack of loyalty towards the team but how much loyalty can we expect in the modern game? Was it ever in reality any different? Anelka is held by some as the epitome of disloyalty while Liam Brady is looked upon as one of our greatest midfield players yet he left us not long after his 24th birthday. His best years were spent elsewhere.

Teams are always in transition and players` loyalty to the club and the clubs loyalty to the players extends only as far as they are of benefit to the club and the player. The business of football makes it economically impossible now to keep players on beyond their financially 'best before` date. Ljungberg apparently made it clear that he wanted to stay but he was given little encouragement to do so and every incentive to leave. For the club it was the right thing to do. Players have to be looked upon as a resource. The clubs loyalty is to the club and its supporters (or more commonly now - its customers). The players loyalty is really only to themselves.

The mentality of the supporter is that the player owes undying loyalty to the club but even that is a one sided loyalty. These and other forums are forever listing players we should get rid of and young players who 'won`t make the grade`. So the average supporters loyalty to players is only for as long as that player is performing. A poor run of form, a bad month, a bad game even and that player will be put on some supporters exit list. Supporters should bear this in mind when reacting with sensitivity to 'disloyal' quotes attributed to players in the press.

The business of football makes loyalty dependent on meeting market value. Arsenal has one of the highest wage bills in the Premiership only exceeded by the distorted finances at Chelsea and very close to that of the higher revenue generating ManU. Loyalty depends on it.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday March 21 2008

Time: 3:02PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

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chelsea fan here...its an interesting take on the situation but there are rare cases when clubs and players show loyalty to each other and even in this modern world chances are you will find players who will want to stay at a club forever and sacrifice everything for them..the ac milan is a big example...they show a lot of care to their former and current players and the players do the same...also we fans also expect that players will show the loyalty and maybe as you said its not true in the major sense..but we all still want to see it!!
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21/03/2008 15:09:00

fair enuf. I esp. like your point about how fans who howl about player loyalty often demand that so-and-so be sold because they're not performing well. I think it all depends on the context. cesc meeting with real madrid during the summer is something I can live with, esp. because cesc quickly admitted it to the press (instead of leaving it to his agent to speak for him) and clarified his desire to stay at Arsenal. Contrast that with Hleb--days have gone by and no comments to the press from the player himself, only his agent, whose explanation was comical. The meeting took place the night before a crucial CL game, in the middle of a campaign; it was done on the sly, in deceptive circumstances and Hleb hasn't come out denying it or admitting it. For me, those are very good reasons to react with disappointment and anger.
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21/03/2008 15:51:00

I'm holding back on the Hleb one for now. I know the silence doesn't look good, but so far we have a quote from an agent and a story in the mirror. Hardly two sources I consider worthy of my trust. I think we'll see today if AW is quizzed about it at the press conference.
Little Dutch
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21/03/2008 15:57:00

On another point, i met William Gallas at St pancras yesterday. I got my photo with him and said "please beat chelsea this sunday for me". He said "no problem", and now i am confident we will win. He wouldnt lie to me....
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21/03/2008 16:18:00

I'm going to put this quite simply to my fellow Gooners...HOW MANY OF YOU HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT GIVING BERT A STANDING OVATION AT THE FINAL HOME GAME THIS YEAR?? I rest my case. The question of loyalty makes me sick. Here is a man who bleeds the club, and from all of the blogs it's been like, "get him out". I understand that he hasn't had a good season and am fine with him leaving, but where is our loyalty to a man who has given us his greatest years and is beyond his prime??? Loyalty and respect it seems to me is only to the players we need the most.
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21/03/2008 17:59:00

"He said 'no problem', and now i am confident we will win. He wouldnt lie to me...." LOL!! :-D YES, OK, THANK YOU! I can now stop walking around like a nervous wreck and get some sleep tonight and Saturday night. stonroy, well said. I'm Brazilian and keep track of as many Brazilian players in Europe as I can. Players like Ronaldo, Adriano and Ronaldinho with their cr-ap attitudes infuriate me. I have been a HUGE fan of Gilberto for years. I've watched his interviews on Globo TV for years and he always impresses with his character, patriotism, love for Arsenal, gratitude toward Wenger. He also does a lot of charity work for Brazil's poor that never gets publicized. I have been absolutely heartbroken to watch him this season, it's been painful to see, I've just wanted to take him in a big hug! If I were there at the season's final game, I would definitely stand up to applaud him. He's behaved with such grace. He deserves that ovation. And LD, fair enuf, I understand about holding off about Hleb. I hope the whole thing is proven wrong or exaggerated.
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21/03/2008 18:14:00

I wanted to ask him if he could have my name written on his under shirt and lift it up if he scored. Then i realised i am a nobody to him and he would probably think i was some wierdo.
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21/03/2008 18:17:00

Well I've seen Wenger's comments about the Hleb thing and it seems there is a strong thread of truth in the stories. I'm possiblythis guy's biggest fan as a player, but he now owes us a big performance on Sunday.
Little Dutch
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21/03/2008 18:18:00

Hleb doesent seem the kind of guy who would do such a thing behind the club's back. he is stupid to not inform the manager about meeting his agent, but i genuinely believe that he went out for an ice cream. when the barca rumours were floating around last month, he said he doesent want to leave and he plays for the best club and manager in da world so i dun feel he will be disloyal to us, atleast not at present. and LD he is my fav player too, so hope he plays a big part in our win this sunday..
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21/03/2008 18:58:00

After a season of wonderful football I hope you beat Chelsea and get back on track
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21/03/2008 20:02:00

Interesting how ATVO left out the Hleb question in the press conference video. I like the player, will give him the benefit of the doubt, unproven guilty and all that. Hope he'll do well this Sunday.
Lou the Gunneress
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21/03/2008 21:29:00

You put it really well Amos. The truth is a bit unpalatable though especially if someone harbours the old-fashioned ideas of loyalty. These days we’re just happy if players manage to behave in a half-decent manner and show a bit of respect or humility in their transfer dealings. I guess it's hard to demand much more given the circumstances.
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22/03/2008 11:31:00


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