Ok, this is going to be shortish and sweet. Drunk, tired and emotional so I'll probably read this back tomorrow and wonder what the hell I was jabbering on about.
If you work for a company and another firm comes along and headhunts you, offering a bumper pay rise to join their venture (which might also include the odd trip to the continent) you'd probably take the job.
More money = better quality of life.
There's no doubt this applies in modern day football, you'd be naive to think otherwise. But it's not the same thing and in some circumstances players turn their heads away from a true challenge and follow the money even if the true challenge still offers an amazing wage and far more prestige.
That happens back in real life too, but with the greatest respect to any football writer who seems to think its fine for players to do this because the ordinary man in the street would do the same thing, the reason why its ok for a postman or a mechanic to leave their work place for the opportunity of earning more money elsewhere is because they're not on that much to start with.
Some people would much prefer not to work at all. It's not like work for most is the highlight of their day. Its an unavoidable inconvenience. It's not rock'n'roll. It's a job, 9 to 5, bane of our lives. And if we exel we might earn a promotion but if we can't go any further in the company hierarchy we look to move on to another work place so we can progress further and earn more money.
But an average footballer, even the ones in the lower leagues, bring home thousands per week and drive around in plush sports cars. These are the ones you might laugh at for being shit or journeymen. Professionals that are not on top of their game. Bit like a postman who fails to deliver all his letters.
I'm not saying players shouldn't strive to get the most out of a billion-pound industry and maybe I'm the one being naive in thinking that there is still an ounce of loyalty left out there, a little slice of romance, in that us fans - the true bread and butter of this great game - are at times the only ones who truly love the game for what it its meant to be loved for. The football.
And the players, the lucky sonsofbitches who get to wear shirts with badges we worship become more and more detached with the bloke in the stands. You know, the postmen and mechanics and office workers who give up their Saturday afternoon to go through emotional upheavel as they cheer on their team. Because for us we don't have the luxury of ridiculous wages to comfort us in defeat.
Seriously, 100K per week? Do they even know how lucky and blessed they are? They play football for a sodding living, ffs.
As a fan, if someone came along and offered you 200K to change your team loyalty you wouldn't do it, would you? Would a Newcastle fan change his allegiance to Sunderland? Would I change my team from Tottenham to Arsenal? Of course not. I'd rather chop my balls off and watch rats feast on them (I have big balls) than have anything to do with them lot.
There is so much money in the game that whilst fans chase the dream, the players chase signing-on fees. I know what you're going to say. It's still their livelihood. One that involves playing football. No Microsoft Office or spanners or mailbags. Kicking a ball and being idolised. Their careers don't last for that long in some cases. Their form might dip or they might suffer a career-threatening injury. So money is important. If football generates millions then they deserve to earn a fair percentage of it.
But that's not the crux of it, is it?
Football is a religion to most who follow it. It just feels that we're giving all our money to tv evangelists who don't care about anything other than their fat wallets and getting their leg over (Yes I know this is a broad stereotype and doesn't apply to all).
Without us the game wouldn't exist and there are still plenty of millionaire footballers out there who do care as much as the fans do. But the culture of money and greed is one that is slowly eating away at the game.
And with the FA (39th game) and billionaire owners and football agents it's not something we can stop.
So, to answer my question - if I suddenly handed in my notice at work my work colleagues would be happy for me if I was moving onto a new job and doubling my wages. Even if it was a rival company. Our customers wouldn't give a toss about me moving on because they won't know I even exist. I'm looking after myself because I'm not accountable to anyone other than my family and my own good self.
I just don't see how this is comparable to millionaire footballers who move on for more millions.