Jim Lyon - If you want loyalty buy a dog

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
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Are any of you really surprised?

You are? Oh, okay.

In which case you are probably naïve enough to believe I am a Nigerian prince and if you will only provide me with your bank details I will...

Come on.

You cannot seriously have expected Luis Suarez to have said his farewells to Liverpool having just played in front of a packed Anfield in an emotion-filled testimonial match.

He is not, how can one say it nicely, that type.

Considering his list of convictions – which really don’t make pleasant reading - he was never likely to have shown a new loving, devoted side and betrothed himself to Liverpool for all time.

If he goes to Arsenal I have no fear in predicting the same thing will happen in a matter of time.

But then that is perfectly fine anyway.

It is time to banish this misguided notion about loyalty in football.

I heard a discussion on a certain national, sports-related, talk-based radio station this week in which Suarez was being slated for his desire to leave Liverpool.

What seems like an ever-lasting debate over the futures of both the Uruguayan and ‘Real-bound’ Gareth Bale prompted the presenter to suggest the pair were under contract and should show some commitment to their employers.

But why should they?

Would said presenter show the commitment he expects of others if another radio station offered to treble his wages and let him talk to a far greater audience.

Indeed if he was offered three times the wages for doing the night shift on Isle of Man FM, I happily predict he would be checking out properties on Rightmove before you could say ‘long service award’.

I have never quite understood why any player – or manager – is expected to be loyal.

The only reason players stay for any length of time at one club is either because they get paid what they ask or because no one else wants them.

There is not a club in the world that will keep paying someone they consider not good enough just because they want to stay loyal to him.

And no boss is given a contract extension when losing games because he is a nice chap.

If the employees do not match up to the club’s standards they are sacked, sold or released.

Why should it be different when the relationship breakdown is the other way around?

If you want loyalty buy a dog.

It is because football fans all have double standards. And we have all done it.

If, for example, Christian Benteke wanted to leave Aston Villa for another club he would probably be slagged off by the fans.

If Villa decided they wanted to replace him with Robert Lewandowski, I imagine the faithful would very quickly be asking ‘Christian who?’. *

Emotional matters very rarely blend too well with corporate affairs.

It does not make it right, but it does make it so.

Supporters have a club for life. Players have an employer for a while.

Such differing positions mean both sides are going to expect different things from the relationship.

So, just as players should not be surprised fans turn on them when they leave, fans should not be surprised when they leave in the first place.

* (Villa fans are only used as an example. Other fans with double standards are also available)