Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kissing the badge


We’ve seen it over the years so many times. In an act of pure joy probably following scoring a goal, a player kisses his club’s badge on the shirt. This is supposed to be an act which demonstrates love and loyalty to the club he plays for. It’s an act which gets the club’s fans cheering and pointing in adulation that their player has shown his love to the club. It’s an act which, in some cases, infuriates the opposing fans. Either way, especially in this day and age of the game, I find the players that do this to be a little bit embarrassing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love when players show some desire (ref. Gary Neville vs Liverpool, click here) and I don’t condone when football’s higher authorities punish players for showing any act of emotion or passion. It is not a crime and it is harmless when you consider some of the other things we hear and witness at football games. What I do find a little awkward is when these players that kiss the badge do it in order to try and show some sort of eternal loyalty but then move on to the next big thing. These players kiss the badge seemingly to want to tell the club’s fans “look I’m kissing the badge and I love the club as much as you do” but before you know it, they’re off to somewhere else kissing some other badge. It feels and sounds like a woman that has just cheated on you.

The strange thing about this is the fans, like you and I, who fall for this kissing-the-badge nonsense use it as a justification that a certain player should be loved or that he’s now become as loyal as we are. We pour on the worship of a player who kisses a piece of clothing (that’s what a jersey means to some footballers) almost as much as when the team actually scores a goal. But in all honesty, the player could be kissing the shirts manufacturers (Nike, Adidas..etc) and he wouldn’t know the difference between that and the club’s crest. They both pay him don’t they?

One thing we always seem to forget is that we are fans, and unlike the players themselves, we stick with one club through the good and the bad times. We never bend or break for anyone or anything. A true supporter’s loyalty to his club is unquestionable when he loves the club (I’m talking about true supporters here, not the plastic ones who change teams every few years). However, for players, it’s just their job. It’s difficult for supporters to accept this fact because of how highly emotional football makes us. But think of it, if you were working for Yahoo for a longtime and claimed to be extremely happy, then suddenly Google offered you double your salary, with better perks and in a better city – you’d leave Yahoo in a heartbeat. But in a footballer’s case, he’s called a traitor.

There are some exceptional cases of players that have never needed to leave their respective clubs because they know that they are “home”. They have rarely been seen kissing the badge or making a big fuss about it, because for them it is the only club for them: Jamie Carragher, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Paolo Maldini, Xavi, Carlos Puyol, Alessandro Del Piero… These are one-club men that are so rare to find nowadays and if they kiss the badge then fair enough, it’s THEIR club. But then again, they have been lucky enough to be at clubs where they haven’t needed to leave their clubs to move forward in their careers, and money was never able to lure them.

It’s a strange situation, because we the supporters invest so much time and emotion into supporting our football clubs that when a players decides to jump the boat elsewhere we feel like we’ve been betrayed; however, truth be told, if this situation came about in our jobs and lives we would probably do the exact same thing as them.

2 comments:

  1. You should have used this picture tony: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_B1JtfOpd85I/SnBS6-EZ2jI/AAAAAAAARkg/G3v9ogrgFIo/s400/zlatan+presentation+kiss+stadium.jpg , Juventus – AC Milan – Inter, that’s quite an accomplishment! I bet his next team will be Real Madrid…
    "L'amour du maillot" doesn't exist anymore, the players you mentioned have no big merits since they play with the best teams and have the highest salary possible and play in the biggest competitions, no wonder they want to stay...
    Most players have no respect at all for the team they’re playing; we have seen a lot of transfers from PSG to OM
    Some guys are worth mentioning, I'll give you some OM example (well you probably saw this coming ;) ), Marseille is a team that doesn't belong to the top 10 of Europe, but yet again some players show appreciation and love:
    Nasri’s contract was expiring with Marseille yet he signs a contract with l’OM a week or two before signing for arsenal to help l’OM get a big transfer fee (Marseille was a bit in trouble financially at that time), he could have negotiated with an arsenal a much higher signing fee.
    Drogba shouting on TV with rage “Allez l’OM” when scores twice against Paris in the Parc Des Princes.
    But one guy tops it all and is worth mentioning, Del Piero, who stayed with the Juventus even when it got relegated...

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  2. Haha Zlatan has been a bit of a "club whore"! Those players I mentioned have never needed to leave their clubs for money, fame or anything else as you said; but they worked hard to reach to the top and have stayed and that it itself deserves merit. To break through in these top teams when you're a youngster is a tough thing, especially at the club you support, so I think they do deserve a lot of credit for doing that and for keeping their positions for so long!

    Marseille - not in the top 10 of Europe? Guy...have you smoked something? Haha!! Just kidding. You're right about Nasri, I only hope Michael Carrick has taken the same example as he just signed a contract at United, hopefully with the same intention as Nasri...(I wish for that so badly!).

    The Juve example is the best one with the players who did stick with them. For the equivalent of that in England you have to look at Leeds United and when they went down, how their players just left them hanging down there.

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