Where is the loyalty in the game?

One week players are adored by thousands of fans then the they could have calls for them to be dropped.

Loyalty is a word that is thrown around a lot these days. Here is my take on two separate cases this season that show this from both sides.

We start with France and West Ham midfield Dimitri Payet who last season was heralded as one of the greatest players they have had in the last ten years. His free kicks became a trademark and a mural was even added to the London Stadium to honour him. His form continued into the Euro’s where he scored a last minute winner in the first game for the hosts against Romania. Payet continued to perform right through the tournament as France reached the final only to lose out in Extra Time against Portugal.

Rumours immediately started circling that the likes of Real Madrid were looking to sign the Frenchman however an official bid was never lodged. Since the season started his performances have been nowhere near the level they reached for club and country last season. Then it was announced this month that Payet has refused to play for the Hammers. His mural has had to be guarded by security due to this.

The lack of respect Payet is showing to the club and its fans who took him from Ligue 1 where he wasn’t exactly pulling up trees. They handed him a 5-year deal back in February worth a reported £125,000 week. This refusal to play is just another kick in the teeth to the club’s fans. They should sell him and move on.  Get someone in who wants to play and fight for the shirt.

On the other side of the coin is Leeds United frontman Chris Wood. Last night he scored his 20th goal of the season. Yet he is still to convince the whole Leeds faithful that he is the right man to lead the club towards the Premier League.

He joined for £2.5 Million back in 2015, he scored 13 goals in that first season despite missing three months of the season with hamstring injuries. His relationship with the Elland Road faithful has always been a bit ropey. He was booed throughout his first campaign as fans branded him lazy and unfit at times.

This season Wood angered many Leeds fans with a cupped ear celebration following a late equaliser in the game against Fulham. This followed Wood being jeered for missing chances in the earlier games of the season.

However, that celebration seemed to ignite a fire in Wood’s play. Since then he has been in scintillating form with 17 league goals so far too his name. His all round play has improved with him adapting to manager Gary Monk’s style high pressing passing football.

The Leeds fans do appear to be growing too the big man’s style of play and presence as he is in the form of his life at the moment. He only needs one chance and he sticks it away as last night’s performance showed. He is willing to chase lost causes and epitomises everything a true number nine should have in his artillery.

All football fans want to see from a player is desire and passion to fight for the shirt on their back. Wood is now doing this for Leeds and the fans are getting behind him. Whereas Payet has downed tools and refused to wear the Claret and Blue.

Loyalty is something football fans crave however it needs to mutual.


Thomas Johnson


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