Modern football problem No 1,057: fans turning on departing players | Soccer


Rarely has The Fiver’s departure from previous employers been met with anything other than cheers and a small card signed by four people. On one occasion there was an awkward moment when we refused to hug a suit at a leaving do, too. The transfer window is another time for awkward goodbyes, when history is rewritten because a player decides to leave their club. Said player then goes from being a fan favorite to one of the worst signings in history, once it is rumored they may be fluttering their eyelashes at other sides.

Social Media Disgrace Twitter is awash with hot takes such as: “XX is rubbish – you enjoy him at your club of similar size”, “He won’t get more than 13 goal involvements next season, I bet”, “He is nothing compared to this new lad we are buying for silly money. He has 18 for adaptability on Football Manager – he must be good.” Despite having to pack a glut of medals into their wheeled suitcase, once a footballer deserts for pastures new, their achievements from him are as good as gone. How dare someone want to change jobs? No one else in the world of work ever does this. Gone from Deloitte to KPMG, have you? BOOOOOOO! Swapped Aldi for Lidl? BOOOOOOOOO! Gone from Big Paper to the Athletic? Ermmm… BOOOOOOO.

Even when the deal is done and one club is paid a fair price by the other, then the player will often have to return to his previous employer, jogging up the touchline while being berated by sections of the home support who once came up with a ditty about him to the tune of Sloop John B. They come back as a pariah in a different kit. “BOOOOOOOOO! You used to play in red and now you wear mauve. SHAME ON YOU!

When someone is paid a large amount of money to do their job – not The Fiver in this case – the thought they might want to earn an equivalent or higher amount elsewhere is regarded as madness. Who knows, maybe some players even want to play more, are relocating for family reasons or just fancy a change. But whatever the reason behind the decision to depart, one thing is for sure. If you do go you are as good as dead to many of your former club’s fans. Until you return and get booed. BOOOOOOOOOOO!


“I saw a few of West Ham’s games this year, and I saw the fans and the atmosphere were fantastic, with the bubbles. It was easy to choose to come here” – lord only knows how Rennes fans will feel after learning that centre-back Nayef Aguerd was lured to Taxpayers FC by the sight of their pre-match bubble machine.

Nayef Aguerd: ‘And this rattan three-piece garden set sealed the deal.’ Photograph: Javier Garcia/Shutterstock


“Say what you like about Paul Pogba (Friday’s Fiver), but that room in Miami fully justified his decision to wear shades indoors” – Andrew Parker.

“Philip II of Macedon, the father of Alexander the Great, once told the Spartans that ‘If I invade Laconia, I shall turn you out’, to which the Spartan ephors replied merely ‘If’. Jaap Stam and Manchester United fans should possibly bear this in mind” – Noble Francis.

“James Bolton (Friday’s Fiver letters) reminded us of a dribbled free-kick that benefitted Wimbledon’s opponents. The penultimate game of last season saw another, but under very different circumstances. Wimbledon goalkeeper Nik Tzanev was (softly) fouled in the 87th minute, as we held on to a 1-0 lead away against relegation rivals Fleetwood. After some treatment to eat up more precious time, play restarted with a free-kick. But for some reason, Tzanev didn’t hoof it up the field straight away, opting to roll it out with his foot before launching it. Unlike in 1990, the ref spotted the infringement and gave Fleetwood an indirect free-kick, from which (of course) they scored. A 1-1 draw, our relegation all but confirmed, and Fleetwood stayed up on goal difference. You wouldn’t believe it if there wasn’t footage” – Wayne Ziants.

“Re: Fiver merchandise (Friday’s Fiver letters). Surely a branded alarm clock with no alarm and which is permanently slow would fit the bill? And what about a Fiver joke book with no jokes in it?” – Martyn Shaper.

“Re: Fiver merch – surely beer goggles are a natural fit” – Caro Yates.

“Look, I’m fine with The Fiver being free to read. I’d probably accept a cash payment from The Fiver to stay subscribed. But are we really suggesting that I should send money to The Fiver in exchange for merchandise that advertises The Fiver to other potential victims readers? Not a chance” – Mike Wilner.

Send your letters to And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our letter o’ the day is … Wayne Ziants, who wins a copy of the Premier League Nuggets, by Richard Foster.


Football Weekly is here, with Max Rushden and Barry Glendenning getting their chat on with Nedum Onuoha, the former Manchester City defender. There are still a few tickets to live shows in June and July – get ’em while you can.


The Buck stops here. Yup, Bruce Buck is stepping down as Chelsea chief suit after 20 years in the role – and new owner Todd Boehly is considering taking it on instead.

Chelsea have made Raheem Sterling their No 1 summer target and but will have to shovel around £60m into Manchester City’s coffers to make it happen.

Antonio Rüdiger checked in at Real Madrid and immediately stuck the boot into Barca Liverpool. “I was really happy that Real Madrid [beat Liverpool],” I cheered. “It was like a personal third final for me after those two losses in cup finals.”

Antonio Rüdiger is unveiled at Real Madrid
Antonio Rüdiger is unveiled at Real Madrid. Photograph: Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Calvin Ramsay says he made the move to Liverpool from Aberdeen because “there’s obviously a pathway here” for teenage pups like him to break into Jürgen Klopp’s side.

Inter chief suit, Giuseppe Marotta, has said talks are ongoing with Romelu Lukaku over a return to San Siro but “today will not be the day of his announcement.” Marotta also confirmed the club’s interest in Paulo Dybala, plus the imminent arrivals of midfield schemer Henrikh Mkhitaryan and keeper André Onana.

And Manchester City will play Barcelona in a charity match at Camp Nou on 24 August to help research into amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. “We will tell our players why this matters so much,” said Pep Guardiola. “It is admirable.”


Brazil boss Tite gets his chat on with Thiago Rabelo about the pressures of his job, turning down Madrid and PSG and how Neymar is Neymar.

But how did he shrink the World Cup?
But what we really want to know is: how did he shrink the World Cup? Photograph: André Durao/The Guardian

How Euro 2005 offered England a glimpse of women’s football’s future. By Louise Taylor.

Turmoil at India’s FA could lead to a ban and the national coach, Igor Stimac, has warned those in charge to “wake up”, writes John Duerden.

From the beach to Barcelona – Pedri’s laid-back style has captivated Spain, says Sid Lowe.

Super-subs are back, baby! Jonathan Wilson on why jumpin’ Jack Grealish can set the benchmark as a game-breaker.

Catch up on the moves you may have missed over the weekend, with our men’s and women’s transfer interactives.

Lucy Bronze checks in at Barcelona.
Lucy Bronze checks in at Barcelona. Photograph: Barcelona F.C.

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