I think Emmanuel Adebayor is entitled to negotiate himself the highest wage possible from his employers. This is not a reflection of personal political views, although I would side with the employee over the employer as a general rule in such matters, but an issue of common sense and fairness. To be quite frank, I feel that the vitriolic fervour with which he has been attacked is not just excessive, but also hypocritical, in those few cases where there has been any statement of principle underlying them.
To deal with the first point raised above, let us consider the general market for Adebayor’s profession, as well as his attitude to his work. Adebayor has, at best, another 10 years earning potential as a football player. After this he will have to fall back on what he has saved, or find himself some other role within the game that will allow him to keep earning a wage, almost certainly at a level well below what he can earn as a player. He is only looking out for his best interests, and those of all the people he supports, when he seeks to maximise his current earnings, any man would do the same.
Without getting dragged into tired analogies, imagine you were paid half of what someone else doing the same job was earning, or perhaps more accurately, if it were suggested to you that through careful manoeuvres you could earn double your current salary for doing the same job? Being a football player is obviously quite a unique profession, you are paid huge sums to do something most people consider recreation, and there is necessarily the dynamic between player and fans to be considered.
Regarding the amount players earn, good for them, I wouldn’t say no if it were offered to me, but I’m to fat and slow. I think it becomes insulting when they are crass, loutish, and act in a manner that clearly does not accompany one taking seriously a career as a professional athlete; but again, maybe you would if you could, and that is partly a reflection on the shallowness of the average football club. Joey Barton is a decent example, convicted of assaulting a colleague, whilst serving time for assaulting a 17 year old boy, yet Newcastle still want him representing their club.
Cashley in the car, any number of drunk John Terry stories – although I like the brawl at his wedding best, Fat Frank Lumplard who smokes like a chimney; needless to say Chelsea have many twits, seemingly predominantly English. At Manure there are similar tales, the supposed Christmas gang bang, Rio as Rio, Ronaldo initiating Nani and Anderson to the club habits, and of course Rooney and his alleged penchant for older hookers. We at Arsenal are lucky that our boys are expected to behave themselves and taught that 10 pints, a kebab, and a pack of fags is never really acceptable for an athlete who takes it seriously. As far as I know, and the press find out pretty quick if it is otherwise, Ade takes his work seriously 24/7 and that matters more to me as a supporter, who wants to invest time and emotion in watching and encouraging the players, than how he gets a contract.
This though leads onto the issue of loyalty, how far are fans, who ostensibly pay the wages and support the game, those watching on TV even more so than ticket holders now, entitled to demand reciprocal allegiance? Clearly, it would handicap Adebayor in his legitimate attempts to protect his financial interests and maximise his earning power, if he stated that whatever happened, he would continue to do his job just as well on the same money. You can imagine his employer’s stance perhaps? Therefore if we as fans actually give a damn about the players, and consider them as anything more than show-ponies or dancing bears, we would acknowledge his side of this situation with a greater deal of compassion than we already have.
I like Adebayor as a player, I think he is excellent, and what his team play offers the side compensates more than amply for his occasional profligacy in front of goal. I would ask anyone who disagrees to take our tie with Milan as an example, it contained one of the most jaw-droppingly ludicrous misses you can imagine right at the end of the first leg, but overall Ade was immense, got his deserved goal and we won the tie. You take the rough with the smooth, every player has both. I do not consider him arrogant, despite our esteemed editor’s views(FTK) on his dancing I cannot correlate that to anything more than questionable rhythm.
Having watched just about every interview the club put on its online TV last season, he always says the right thing, and the team thing. All summer long he has stated he wants to stay, often quickly responding to speculation to refute it, and has only said different, it appears, when it compromised his bargaining position. I think the harsh reaction to Ade is just as disloyal as anything he has done, and just another example of a section of fans who seem to want to find fault in everything the club does, irrespective of facts, reason, or right – I do not understand this sense that the club owes them in some way beyond being a football club competently and successfully run, which we clearly are, just ask a Spurs fan about that – and it is they who need to re-examine the bonds of loyalty.
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