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Friday, June 19, 2009

Is this why footballers always take the money?

It must be odd being a professional footballer at the best of times. It must be even odder when they're on their annual holidays, knowing that at any time a phone call may come with the news that in a couple of weeks they're to report at an entirely new place of work. This may even be in a different country. There will be no time for a fond farewell to erstwhile team mates. This isn't just an upheaval for the player. It probably involves their wife, children, parents and courtiers in tearing up roots that have barely had time to bed down.

I've had a distant glimpse of this since a young family friend joined the fitness staff of a major football club. Promotion or relegation at the end of a season means that the manager moves. Depending on the budget at the new club or the disposition of the incoming manager at the present club the fitness staff might find themselves staying or moving, sometimes hundreds of miles, sometimes to a different country, always at a few day's notice. Nobody, of course, is complaining that this makes the job intolerable but it might help explain why whenever football people are offered a large amount of cash they tend to take it.