One thing West Ham keeper Robert Green can never be accused of is that popular football fan insult of being a Ã¢â‚¬ËœJudasÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. This seems to be the word that is thrown at any player who decides to progress their career by moving on to bigger and better things at other clubs.
Green spent his whole youth career at Norwich City and then spent seven years there as a pro. He has been at West Ham for two years and is committed, or at least as much as any footballer is committed by the contracts they sign, to staying for another three years. He is a loyal sort and not someone who moves from club to club looking for an increased pay day.
It appears now though that although Green has three years left to run on his contract, he was hoping that he would be offered a new deal to stay at Upton Park this summer whereby he would be paid considerably more money.
This incident has raised three issues for me:
1. Why sign a long contract and then ask for more money?
2. Why make your dissatisfaction public?
3. What do managers actually do?
The twenty-eight year old keeper is popular at Upton Park and was voted player of the season for his consistent performances in an inconsistent West Ham team.
He was hoping that the club would approach him and offer more money, but they have not come forward to open talks. This seems to have left Green deeply unhappy.
“No matter what the figures are in the workplace in terms of wages, you either feel a valued member of your staff or you don’t,” Green told The Sun newspaper.
“At the moment, I don’t and clearly West Ham don’t care about me. We’ve a whole host of players who have arrived on a lot of money since the takeover and, fair play, you take what you can get and I have no problem with that. Some of them have played, others have been injured, but I feel I have played a part and been good value.Ã¢â‚¬Â
“If you put the strongest West Ham XI out, I’d be the lowest earner by a long, long way. I do not even want to be close to the top earner at the club – I don’t care about that. I would just like some parity. Other guys are getting rewarded but I’m not.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“It’s been reported that one player has been offered so many millions to go away. He could be rewarded with a Ã‚Â£3m pay-off while I would like to tie myself down to the club and they have turned around and said ‘no thanks’. I am not getting in the England squad at the moment and I’m not getting European football, but I love it here, which is why I want to sign a long contract. The fans here are fantastic. Why would I want to leave?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“After asking for a long-term contract, the club turned around and said ‘no’ without a real explanation. It wouldn’t have been as bad if they had said no and then given their reasons. The club might say ‘you don’t need to sign a new contract as you’ve got three years left’. Fine. But how highly do they value me as a player? Realistically, look at Dean Ashton who has signed a new contract this summer. Good luck to him. Brilliant.
“He’s a great player and I have no doubts he will become an England regular. Obviously, West Ham value him a hell of a lot more than they value me. In fact, I feel completely under-valued. Generally, the situation here leaves a question mark whether the club are rewarding success and you end up questioning yourself and questioning your future
“I’m the same as anyone else. If you are as good at a job as someone else but they get three or four times more, you get a bit frustrated. If I wasn’t a relatively successful player I wouldn’t mind, but I think I’ve done well here. I don’t want to play for another club.Ã¢â‚¬Â
I know that contracts for footballers have been discussed to death this summer with many fans feeling upset that they are not worth the paper theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re written on and some in the game thinking, outrageously, that the players are treated like Ã¢â‚¬Ëœmodern slavesÃ¢â‚¬Ëœ. The question that strikes me most about all this is why did Robert Green sign a five year contract in the first place? The answer is because it suited him to do so.
Presumably both he and his agent agreed the terms of the contract and signed quite happily to accept what was offered. Why should the player then feel that he is entitled to more? I just donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t understand it.
I also fail to understand why he would feel the need to tell the Sun newspaper what was going on. Does Green think that the fans will be angry with the club and put pressure on them to pay him more? The more likely outcome in the end is that the fans will be angry with him for rocking the boat.
Green went on to admit that he has not spoken about the issue to manager Alan Curbishley.
“I have not spoken to the manager about it. He takes charge of first-team matters and does not deal with contracts, which is fair enough. I know there are clubs interested in me. If it turns out they value me more, then I will have to make a decision. It is strange because if it was the other way round, and I was holding fire after being offered a new contract from West Ham, the club would be making sure I was getting hammered by the fans. Surely, it works both ways.”
Nobody held a gun to GreenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s head to ensure he signed the original contract did they?! How can a player go public about something like this when he hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even spoken to his manager about it? It defies belief!
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m going to stop trying to work out how these things work. It is pointless to try to apply any logic!
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