If you want loyalty - buy a dog.

on Sunday, 15 January 2017. Posted in Richard Keys Blog

'He's on a fantastic contract, the highest paid player in the club's history. He signed it. Now he wants a move and feels Everton are a big club, so there's nothing we can do. West Ham are a big club in our eyes, but he feels otherwise'. Harry Redknapp Manager West Ham - March 1997.

The players' response to the stinging criticism above was this 'I had to do this. As all players know, if anyone gets the chance of a big club, he must take it'.  Slaven Bilic, West Ham - March 1997.

I'd like to take the credit for digging out the above explosive quotes, but I've lifted them from David Hills fantastic column 'Said and Done' in The Observer. I should say 'aptly named column', because all the fuss over Dimitri Payet's behaviour this past week now is!  Forget the moral posturing Slaven, there's nowhere to hide now.

Look - I like Bilic. I think he's a good guy and with Payet's enormous help he delivered a fantastic season for the Hammers last time out, but the 'love in' between Payet and his army of adoring fans at the Taxpayers Stadium was never going to last.

Time and again last season the question was asked 'how come he's 28 and only just surfaced on the big stage'. Now we know.

No-one at West Ham should be surprised by his behaviour. He threw a hissy fit just like this in order to leave Marseille for Upton Park! Have  we all forgotten so quickly Marseille issuing a robust statement to condemn the 'reckless demands' made and the ultimatum issued Payet and his agent expressing 'surprise that negotiations with another club had been opened' - without their permission?

Come on. Let's get real. Transfers are a dirty business - if you want a player you do everything you can to turn his head - which is exactly what West Ham did to get Payet. To a lesser extent - aren't they doing that right now to unsettle Jermaine Defoe? Sunderland haven't publicly said as much - yet - but privately they know that's exactly what's happening.

Let's also not forget that Payet was once on PSG's radar, back in 2011. He was playing for St Etienne at the time. In order to force the move through Payet stopped training saying 'my decision is taken. I think only of Paris'. On deadline day he actually drove to the French capital expecting a deal to be done, but it stalled. Payet went back to St. Etienne.

This only has one ending - Payet leaves, either now or in the summer. I'd get shot now. He's a wrong 'un and they never change. If West Ham don't sell he'll stink the place out between now and next summer. And never mind 'holding out' for £35m - they're not going to get it. Take the money back you spent 'David's' - and be happy for the good times he gave you. Don't be greedy - because it'll be a costly exercise in many other ways the longer you try to hold onto him.

As for the fans indignation and the ridiculous cries of 'where's the loyalty?' - let me repeat, there isn't any. Loyalty with an employer ends on a monthly basis when your salary is put in the bank. Seriously, how many of us have ever turned down an employment opportunity to better ourselves and our money out of 'loyalty' to our current employer. Come on, the whole idea is daft. Footballers are no different.

The above also applies to Diego Costa. Sell Chelsea. Cut your losses. We're talking here about a player central to the coup that led to Mourinho's sacking last season. He downed tools. Have we forgotten that as well?

Chelsea will survive his departure. There's every chance they'll flourish. I've long wanted to see Hazard (another mutineer mind you) play through the middle. I think he'd be sensational there.

Players are commodities. They know that too. They play because they can and because - at the very top end of the game - it makes them rich. They don't care about 'loyalty'. As I've said many times before - as a colleague of mine used to say - 'if you want loyalty, buy a dog'. 

 

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