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Total Loyalty

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In a world where loyalty is hard to come by, it’s still nice to know that in some part of the world it still exists. Case in point, Manchester United and Nemanja Vidic. But before I go into that let us take a brief trip down memory lane to see how those who were tempted by cash and left for so called “greener” pastures.

David Beckham. Ah yes, the diplomat for world football. We all know the history and how the ill fated move to the now former “Galaticos” caused his career to tank. Yes it can be argued that he made millions from advertisements, clothing, modeling and so forth. But us die hard football aficionados appreciate play and loyalty for the club that gave you everything. He only won two trophies in his stint at the club in a move which was pushed by his wife. I got nothing against that. You want the fashions of Europe, that’s fine, just don’t let them interfere with football.

Andre Shevchenko. I remember the banners in the Curva Sud at the San Siro. He was immortalize by the fans that took him to their hearts. Top scorer for Milan and the Serie A, which included a Coppa Italia, Scudeto (Italian Serie A Championship) and a Champions League title. So tell me why would anyone want to leave a club in which they are seen as a God? Wait for it. You got it. The wife. In a move that was pushed to learn English and be with buddy Roman. Which led to the departure of the “Special One”, and saw Shevchenko’s career go into the gutter. Going where the money is, is part of the equation, which results in your career going no where. So where are the loyal one’s you ask? Here are some examples.

Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Paolo Maldini, Javier Zanetti, Raul, Eto. Just to name a few. There are a lot more out there but for the sake of length of this article I wanted to bring in Nemanja Vidic.

Finally someone who didn’t give in to his spouses want for a lavish lifestyle in a European club that would see his career go down the drain. Vidic expressed this week his love for the club and that he enjoyed playing at Old Trafford with his mates.

To the footballers out there. Read up loyalty in the dictionary. To the WAG’s out there, the footballers already make millions and it’s not about you, but about the game, fans, honor, and the loyalty that comes with playing for the badge.

I want to say in relation to Kaka and Ronaldo. I got a feeling they’ll be following in Becks’ footsteps. They could learn a lot from Vidic.

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  1. Daycaremusic

    July 7, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I think Kaka saw the limitations of the Milan team after the season ended. If it was simply because of the cash factor, he would’ve left to Man City for that record-breaking offer. What did disappoint me about Kaka was his comment about his desire to finish his career wearing the skippper band around his arm in Milan then commencing to leave. But, I doubt that he had much of options when big money like that swindles from club to club. Ronaldo is just trash. Not as a player of skills but as a player of attitude and mentality. He not only disrespected fans,teammates, and coaches by continuously stating that his “dream” was to play for Madrid but by making public statements of his “content” in Manchester then switching up his statement after the final game in Rome.

  2. vinnie

    July 2, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    is it just me or i see some contradiction here? i understand the move from spartak moscow to united, he’ll learn/improve more in a year with united than his lifetime in spartak. he needs higher level exposure and that’s the highest he can get from any where else.

    however, would he had stayed if SAF didn’t increase his wage? was he blackmailing SAF? obviously from the looks of it, his tone in his interview doesn’t sound like it but i never believe 100% what journalists has been feeding us. it is open to interpretation and if i were to judge him, i’d say he’s a down to the earth, hardworking player

    now i’m contradicting myself, am i not? nah, i’m just looking at things from different perspectives.

  3. ferocho

    July 2, 2009 at 8:15 am

    I was under the impression that this young lad got a hefty raise to be kept at Manchester. Is this right? If so, I’m not sure what this loyalty deal is all about. Players are professional workers; as you and I, they come and go based on personal preferences, financial incentives, opportunity for development and free drinks.
    Furthermore, I believe that it is good for a player (and for everybody in general) to work in different clubs/countries. We should be encouraging disloyalty and club promiscuity among players as it benefits the player’s progress (in most cases) and the better they get the more we can enjoy the game (unless you are pathologically devoted to your favorite team and feel like you own them). Look at people like Raul and Guti in Real Madrid, they could have progressed so much more have they changed clubs and explore new challenges. Ronaldo (the fat one not Christiano), Figo, Laudrup and a long group of players, maintained their legendary status despite (or maybe because of) their desire to change, improve and make more money.

    • wdkf

      July 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm

      hes on 70k a week now, after a 20k increase after signing a new 3 year extension.

  4. Joao

    July 2, 2009 at 6:56 am


    So loyalty should only come into play with certain clubs, not others, right? Maybe we as fans can come up with a list of the clubs players should be loyal to and distribute it to all the players so that they know from which teams they can bolt without being criticized for being disloyal.

  5. Joao

    July 2, 2009 at 6:54 am


    But that’s exactly the point, its cutthroat, and it goes both ways. if you can’t cut it, you are cut by your team. There is no club loyalty in keeping you employed past your due date. By the same token, the players owe the team nothing but their best performance while they are with the club, but if the player no longer has any use for the club, or prefers to try something new, then they should leave. If you don’t perform at your work, the company should be free to dump you, and by the same token, if the company is not paying you enough, or the work sucks, or you dislike your bosses, you are free to leave if you can find other employment, loyalty should not come into the discussion.

    • Ali

      July 2, 2009 at 8:56 am


      I completely agree with you. Maybe, in the footballing world, loyalty is showing someone you value their efforts and rewarding them likewise. Granted a footballers’ career is short, so maybe because of that, loyalty CAN be giving your best performances, and have them noticed, not ‘spit’ on. Although you have to admit, what Vidic did, although money was involved, is still very rare among footballers. What Sir Alex did is very rare among managers as well, not cashing in on someone for tens of millions of pounds, and giving them a pay increase instead. Maybe some will think that is good business and managing, but to me, it’s loyalty. We are only talking about performances though. What would you say about United staying by Rio’s side during his suspension for drug use, or for waiting 2 years about to sign Van Nistelrooy, while he healed from a bad injury and could have found someone else? Loyalty also happens off the pitch, which no one is talking about in this discussion.

  6. chris

    July 1, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Edgar, lol shit i cant tell man hahaha..if we were talking in person then i may have known you was being sarcastic

  7. Nabil

    July 1, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    Spartak Moscow doesn’t count as a club. Vidic could have never won anything there. We made him european champions and made him the star that he is now. So he’s loyal to us for that- he knows that he cannot possibly play in a better team and its a fact that he can never find a better partner than ferdinand.

  8. edgar

    July 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Yes Chris, I knew, i was just being sarcastic. Hahaha!

  9. Rob Kotoviets

    July 1, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Hi Leedstilldie, I will definetly take you up on that offer for a seat at Elland road. We could become good m8’s. Maybe a trip down to the pub will do fine. I don’t hate leeds. I always support them to come up as they are a club side with so much history, they desrve to be in the Premier League. What Risdale did is unforgiven, so even though I support the “filth” I still want Leeds to come up.

    To address Dave. Mate, listen. I appreciate your banter on commenting on this piece. I only write from the heart and never have a bias view as was indicated in examples of other players from other clubs and leagues which I watch, follow and write about with a passion. Hopefully you can start to participate in op-ed pieces to demonstrate your knowledge of the beautiful game so we can have a forum where fans can come and make EPL talk a place for true footie supporters. Also those who are not familiar with the game, coming here will give them a different retrospective view on football from the fans point of view. Much better then Sky Sports. Again, thanks for your comment as well as those who I did not address personally. I am also appreciative that you commented as well.


    • Dave

      July 2, 2009 at 7:48 am

      Thanks Rob and perhaps I was a tad harsh. The “loyalty” argument is not something that is exclusive to football, it is an argument that is made in pro sports certainly across the US in sports like baseball, American football, etc.

      At all times I’ve thought the argument somewhat silly because a club is very rarely “loyal” to a player who is past use, costs too much money, or in football, can make them a buck.

  10. chris

    July 1, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Edgar, Beckham is back at LA Galxay now to finish out his contract and has expressed alot of intrest to go back to AC Milan once his contract has ended at LA.

  11. chris

    July 1, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    OOO YEAH, I could never imgaine rooney leaving United. He seems very very very loyal to Manchester United like its his own house. If he left im sure everybody may know why he left.

    • LI Matt

      July 1, 2009 at 4:47 pm

      I bet Everton fans thought that way about him once….

  12. edgar

    July 1, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Great article. I’d like to throw in my two cents also. I think it is great that Vidic is staying on at United. Many players have had great seasons and had their heads turned. Speaking as a United supporter, I have seen some players have phenomenal seasons and then move on from United. For instance: Gabriel Hienze, Rudd Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo. What do these have in common? They left for Real Madrid. David Beckham was first. He was quality. What did he win? One La Liga while he was at Madrid. He won that the last year he was at Madrid when he had already signed for? La Galaxy. Where is he now? Who knows. Heinze, Van Nistelrooy, where are they? Van Nistelrooy is hurt. Why did he leave United? He had a falling out with Ferguson because of Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo is now on his way to Madrid! The way i look at it, if you end up leaving United to ply your trade in Madrid, you end up hurt, on the bench, or playing for the La Galaxy! On the other hand, you have, as mentioned before, Roy Keane. Look at how Keane was treated after all he did for United. He also had a falling out with Ferguson. Gary Neville is not going to be a starter for United anymore. Neville has two other guys in front of him for the right back spot. Wes Brown and Rafael. Paul Scholes forgot how to tackle. Scholes even scares me when he goes in for a tackle! The only one you have left is Ryan Giggs. Wow! Giggsy only gets better with age! What a phenomenal season he had this past year! Phil Neville. Seems Phil knew when to call it a day at United, and look at what he brings to Everton. Seems like a roll of the dice.

  13. arjwiz

    July 1, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    I find it funny that you include people like Eto’o (who you spelled incorrectly) over so many other more loyal people, including Gary Neville, John Terry and Paul Scholes.

    But anyway, I would rather imagine Evra as highly loyal. He has always said that he thanked God for bringing him here. He reads up on all of United’s history and has always spoken of his love for the club. I don’t feel that Vidic will end his career at United, though I am sure Ferdinand, Brown and Rooney (who is only 23) will.

  14. chris

    July 1, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Well with Kaka…I never seen a reason for him to go to Real Madrid. Didnt Kaka say he wanted to leave to help out Milans money problems. Well when he got to Madrid he didnt say this. I was pretty sad to see Kaka leave milan but I think he was also wanting more money. Im sure money is soemthing that comes into mind with all these players..but if you really enjoy playing it wouldnt matter where you was at. just like Paolo Maldini, he could have easily went anywhere in the world to play. but he didnt because milan is where he was treated the best and he loved it there. Beckham has said the same about Milan. I think he will come back to Milan and he has said he loved it there and everybody was great. Everybody that is there that i am aware of loved Milan. But I thought Milan didnt want to let Kaka go unless he wanted to leave and they both came to the agreement that he wanted to leave to go play at Madrid to help milians money problems. But oo well I do think Loyality plays a role…..but w/e every person is different I see it as loyality and somebody may see it as finding another job.

  15. Jon-Jon

    July 1, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    Also these blogs are great to have because without them I’d never know anyone opnions. Banter is good. We may not agree but it’s nice to hear points being refuted.

  16. Tyson

    July 1, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I think this is an interesting subject. It is easy to point fingers at people and claim they shouldn’t have taken the money when if we were in the position where we were being offered a lot more we probably would act in the same way but you have to wonder if one day you will regret taking the money.

    I mean loyalty and honour are things that have been long forgotten in the flashy world of multi billion dollars sports franchises. Football is no longer about a bunch of local lads entertaining their home cities football is now a multi billion dollar business that is often ripe with suspicious doings.

    If you compare the likes of Ryan Giggs to the likes of Ronaldo for example from a financial perspective Ronaldo is likely to end up so much richer but what will his legacy be?

    Will any of these footballers who only care about making money even be remembered or will they be lost in the flood of other footballers who care nothing for the fans and club and just want more and more?

    When you look back at successful clubs like United and Arsenal and clubs worldwide they chant the names of and remember the players that had qualities that were timeless and one of those is loyalty.

    You will find few loyal players amongst those trying to get a bigger paycheque but we will see how kind history will be to these players because there have been a lot of talented men who only wanted one thing and history has forgotten them.

    Those who practised loyalty and were honorable above all else are still mentioned today however.

  17. Jon-Jon

    July 1, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    Everyone is a bit testy during the off season. 45 days I think to go?

  18. hank

    July 1, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Or maybe we can accept loyalty isn’t a yes or no question, and that there are many shades of gray. Even out of the “loyal” players you mention only Raul and Giggs have played their entire professional career at a single club, and I say that’s due more to luck than loyalty; they were both lucky enough to sign for an elite world team when they were very young.

    Honestly, this feels like a united fan who’s discovered a back-handed way to express bitterness about Tevez and Ronaldo.

    • Fahim

      July 1, 2009 at 3:13 pm

      WHAT? Wait, let me get this right. The only reason Giggs and Raul are at one club is out of luck that they were there very young? OK, so what about everyone else who was young at man utd and real and signed for them? Where are they now? LOL, listen mate, it’s loyalty and talent. You can’t just say it’s cuz they signed young HA. They are still there because they show passion for their clubs and keep the displays at a top level. The only luck they have is to the have the talent, nothing to do with signing at a young age. How come Helguera isn’t still with real then? How come Butt isn’t with man utd still?

      • hank

        July 2, 2009 at 2:25 am

        My point was that was most great players have to transfer over the course of their career to get a boat load of cash and a shot at silverware. Giggs and Raul were lucky that they never had to transfer to have those opportunities. If Giggs had originally signed for Leeds, do you think he’d currently be playing in league one?

  19. Joao

    July 1, 2009 at 1:17 pm


    I suppsoed you’ve never switched jobs, right? This article is complete crap. Do you think these clubs will have any problem dumping a player as soon as they can find or afford someone better? Where’s the club’s loyalty then?

    • Ali

      July 1, 2009 at 3:04 pm

      I don’t get your point. I have switched jobs in the past, not many times, but I have. What does this have to do with football or working? Performance is demanded everywhere you go, not just football. If you can’t cut it, then you are cut. Manchester United as well as Real Madrid give players who have served for a long time jobs or embassador roles. It’s a cut-throat world, but that’s just how it is.

  20. Dave

    July 1, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    This is the worst in what has been a long run of absolutely horrendous op-ed pieces on EPL Talk.

    Would it be possible to start using a labeling system for the articles? I enjoy the news on EPL Talk but these opinion pieces are utterly vile trash.

    • The Gaffer

      July 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm

      Dave, sorry to hear you didn’t like the article. But with opinion articles, they are exactly that — opinions. You’ll find some people who will enjoy these. Others will hate them.

      The Gaffer

      • Dave

        July 1, 2009 at 1:23 pm

        Sure thing, that’s why I’m wondering if a labeling system can’t be used like on many other blogs? Even something as simple as “news” vs. “oped” would be extremely helpful!

        • Tyson

          July 1, 2009 at 2:06 pm

          This is actually a well informed opinion. The only time EPL get it wrong is when they show extremely strong bias to one team or another. As long as what is said is laced with facts at the heart of it it is well done.

          Thing is if you don’t want any opinions about anything and just want to read the news why don’t you just read Sky Sports?

          On the website they pick up on all the Premier League news and they rarely offer an opinion.

          On the other hand with a blog it’s not exactly unusual to post things that are an opinion to stimulate debate.

          After all theres not much point in having a blog if you can’t state your opinion and have your readers debate their views over it.

          • Dave

            July 1, 2009 at 2:14 pm

            I actually very much enjoy some of the “not quite” news content on EPL Talk, just not the op-ed pieces lately. I like to see the kit announcements gathered in one place, what’s coming up on TV, especially info about North American broadcasts and the like living in the US.

            I suppose it is fair to say I could simply not comment or skip the article as soon as it swerves into total bias, but as a long time reader I’ve been shocked lately at the lack of quality in these pieces.

            Just like this post though, I guess that’s just one man’s opinion.

          • Gaz

            July 2, 2009 at 10:55 am


            I always wonder why people say things like, “this article is crap”.

            Whenever I think an article is crap I skip over it (I definitely don’t comment on it).

        • LeedsTilIDIE

          July 1, 2009 at 3:30 pm

          Listen “Dave”, how about you come over to jolly old? THIS IS WHERE THE TRUE FOOTIE FANS ARE. here we dont talk about the news, any twat on the streets can find the news. here the real footie fans talk about things that arent news. we talk about things you dont see on the tele or the paper. pubs here are full of people like rob who give their take on things like showing loyalty to the club. although i dont like you rob for liking the filth known as manchester united, there’s always a seat at elland if you want to come. maybe you can like a real team like LEEDS. show these yanks what it means to be a true footie supporter, not just some plunker who reads the news and thinks he can cheek anyone.

          • Dave

            July 2, 2009 at 7:45 am

            I didn’t realize that “true footie fans” meant “absurd arguments”. That being the case I’ll stay on this side where we I like to think we look at things a tad more objectively.


  21. gary debussy

    July 1, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    this is such a ridiculous, out-of-touch attitude. who are we to judge to “loyalty” of someone who decides to work somewhere else? would you throw heaps of scorn on your wife or child if they decided to switch jobs? people who carp on about loyalty are the worst kind of armchair pundit-scum and are ruining football.

  22. Mark

    July 1, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Great article mate! I’ve been seeing a lof of this happen lately, even Van Der Vaart’s wife doesn’t want to leave Madrid, so he’s staying and going to be on the bench it seems. I think that Fredorrarci is somewhat right and wrong. Few teams are as big as United, so you can’t blame him for leaving Spartak for United. Loyalty in this sense is when someone gives you a chance to step up to the biggest team in the world and you repay their faith by staying and not going somewhere else. But great article overall, hopefully the footballers take charge of their own careers, instead of the wives who just wan’t the fashions of Europe.

    • Fredorrarci

      July 1, 2009 at 1:52 pm

      Loyalty in this sense is when someone gives you a chance to step up to the biggest team in the world and you repay their faith by staying and not going somewhere else.

      But this supposes that loyalty can only be demanded by the superclubs. Does ex-G14 membership or Premier League status entitle you to a greater moral claim on a player than a club in Europe’s second tier might have? The idea of what constitutes the “biggest team in the world” is hugely subjective, anyway; it’s perfectly reasonable to believe that Real Madrid are bigger than Manchester United or Milan. And if it’s okay to forgo loyalty if a bigger club wants to sign you, why shouldn’t, say, Ronaldo or Kaká move?

      • Mark

        July 1, 2009 at 2:57 pm

        It is fine in my opinion for lower level clubs to ask for loyalty, but when bigger clubs come calling for a player with huge potential, loyalty for staying that long at a lower level club should be appreciated, as talent has to go where talent can get developed. I wouldn’t agree Real Madrid are bigger than United. United have the biggest fan base in the world, and as well, are actually winning trophies of late unlike Madrid. I used to respect Real a lot, but now they are just using the Chelsea tactic towards winning championships, just go and spend cash. For a long time now, Madrid hasn’t been a team, they’ve just been a bunch of overpaid footballers who don’t amount to anything. But I still respect what you think, I just don’t agree with it. When you get to the top tiers of football, whether the Prem, La Liga, or Serie A, and only a fraction of the teams in those leagues, should loyalty be called for. When you play for a “G14” team, which only a handful of playes can claim they do, they should be thankful they are allowed to play at the highest level.

  23. Fredorrarci

    July 1, 2009 at 11:59 am

    Would this be the Nemanja Vidic who left Spartak Moscow for “‘greener’ pastures”?

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