LOYALTY IN FOOTBALL
By A. Musa
Soccer is a great game followed by millions of fans around the world. Whether its the World Cup, Asian Cup, African Nations Cup, or even on a club level, supporters always follow their teams with great passion and loyalty, through thick and thin.
Back in the 70s and 80s, soccer was all about entertainment. It was about giving your heart and soul to win a game for your local team and make your loyal supporters happy and proud. Money was not a huge factor in the sport. Soccer players were in the game only for the love it and were not influenced by money. They would never change teams – even if they were relegated to a lower division. There was a strong bond between players and supporters. Soccer greats such as Tony Adams of Arsenal, Ryan Giggs of Manchester United, Gerard of Liverpool and Del Piero of Juventus all were loyal players who served their teams with their heart and soul.
Growing up, I represented my school and my province in soccer. Hearing the team supporters singing your name, cheering you on during the game, and even offering to buy you a cup of coffee, was an incredible feeling.
Unfortunately, all of this cannot be said about modern soccer or current soccer players. These days, everything is based on money. Soccer is seen as a business for most club owners and a job for football players. Soccer has become more about business where agents are always trying to improve the deals and contracts of their clients. This process puts the loyalty of the players and managers into question. We often see players move from one club to another on every transfer window for a more money or prestige, and who could blame them? After all, it’s in our nature to develop our careers and improve our earnings.
Unless clubs take the initiative to control the overfunding of the game, I am afraid soccer is going to sell its soul once and for all. If that happens, there will be no passion, no true fans and definitely no loyalty. Unlike the AFL, soccer does not have a draft system, which creates disparity between the clubs. Perhaps a similar system would benefit the world game? Until then, all fans can do is hope their star players will go astray.