In our working lives, most of us get to a point where we look to improve our standard of living by applying for a promotion, new job or seek a change of scenery because of being unhappy at work or not being able to see a route to promotion.
How’s work? ….is always a familiar question when meeting up with family and friends. I am very lucky in that I have genuinely enjoyed every job I have done in some 50 years of working. So many of my friends down the years saw work as a means to an end and never really enjoyed what they did. I can’t imagine what it would be like to go in every day to a place you didn’t really want to be.
It has, however, always fascinated me that the standards we apply to ourselves rarely apply to football players at the clubs we support.
In my time at Charlton, you would not have found a more committed player than Scott Parker. He gave 100% and more in every game. He often played whilst carrying injuries, but he was also fiercely ambitious to go as far as he could in the game. He sought and was given an unequivocal assurance from the then chairman that if a top four club came in for him at any point, he would be allowed to leave. As Parker saw it, when Abramovich backed Chelsea came knocking, he had to take the opportunity whilst it was on offer or the opportunity might not come again however bad the timing. Many fans at Charlton have never forgiven him despite his immense contribution to one of best teams the club has ever had. Leicester City has bowed to the wishes of players like Kante, Chilwell and Maguire to leave their club but have flourished and the fans have found new heroes.
It looks like the same could be about to happen to Harry Kane. Kane has been a prolific scorer for both England and Spurs but as he approaches his 28th birthday, he has nothing in his trophy cabinet to show for a tremendous career and as with Parker he now wants to go to a club where his chances of medals are greater. Spurs Chairman Daniel Levy is reported to be upset that Kane has made it public that he wants to move and that indicates his departure could well end up being acrimonious. If it is, that will inevitably lead to him being targeted when he returns to White Hart Lane when he plays in a different club shirt. There is of course a financial reality around players of the calibre of Kane. It is likely that he will eventually move for around £130m this summer and with the financial impact of Covid along with the cost of the White Hart Lane stadium upgrade added to the fact, the new manager will be looking to strengthen his squad and such a huge influx of money will solve a number of issues for sure. I would expect the new manager would want the situation resolved quickly in any event so he can focus on building a new squad.
I think it is sad that players who were once regarded by fans as heroes are then targeted negatively when they come back in another club shirt. If the aim of the booing is to unsettle the player, then in my experience returning players are far more affected by being welcomed back than by being booed.
It has now been confirmed that the transfer window in England will open on 9th June and close on 31st August. England has an outstanding chance of success in this summer’s Euros, and it will be a distraction to their chances if media coverage of the tournament is side-tracked by Kane’s future so let’s hope that is one situation that is resolved soon. We have seen too often in the past how negative media reporting has affected the chances of the England team.
And maybe next time a former hero of the club you support turns up at your ground with another club think of the good times he gave you and act accordingly. It may put the player off his game more than you think!
Peter Varney – Chariman, Integral Sports Management
Image – Getty Images