In the latest episode of 888sport’s The Eye Test, the subject surrounding loyalty in football is brought to the forefront following Tottenham Hotspurs recent appointment of Antonio Conte, ex-manager of fierce London rivals Chelsea FC.
Joining Spurs only a few years after winning the league with Chelsea, can be seen by some, as treacherous, and a move which has changed Rory Jennings’ – a diehard Chelsea fan – perspective of football.
Offering a diplomatic approach to Jennings’ anguish was Alex Hurst – a Newcastle United fan – who stated: “The thing is Rory, [Chelsea] did sack him.
“Your emotions are important and Chelsea fans are important but the guy is out of work. He’s got to earn. You only get a certain amount of time in the game and the game moves on. The longer you’re out of the game the worse you’re going to be.”
Responding to Hurst’s point, and acknowledging the truth behind it, Jennings noted: “There is something relevant in that, I completely agree he is a professional, he needs to be working and he needs to be going to one of the bigger clubs.”
Yet, the Chelsea fan stressed: “What I would say though, there is pretty much one rule… just don’t go to Tottenham.
“You can go to Liverpool and still be loved, Joe Cole proved that. You can go to Man United and still be loved, Juan Mata proved that. Lampard went to City, no drama. Petr Cech went to Arsenal, no drama.”
Echoing Jennings, Steve McInerney – Manchester City fan – emphasised that if Pep left the club after seven years and decided to take the reins at another club in the Premier League, he would be “fuming”.
He added: “What’s the point? Everything he said about becoming an adopted Mancunian, it would have been nonsense. I guess from your perspective [Jennings], with all due respect to Spurs, it would have been easier to handle if he went to someone who is a title challenger now but Spurs are a bit of a rebuilding job.”
Rounding off the topic, Flex – a Manchester United fan – offered a different perspective into how fans now consume football and how it can impact the idea of loyalty to a club.
He concluded: “It depends on how far and deep you want to go into football and what you’re willing to emotionally invest into it. There’s different types of fans, there’s different ways of consuming football.
“Some go, I supported Man United all my life. Listen to them on the radio and open the paper to see the score. Some say we lost at the weekend but I don’t care I’ve got work. You’re no less of a fan for doing it as it’s how you choose to consume football.”