What a strange week in football. First, Blackpool put their miserable performance away at Cambridge behind them and then we’ve had Pep Guardiola suffering the biggest defeat of his managerial career.
Next, it was all about the ugly side of football and the Premier League especially. Dimitri Payet, Jose Fonte and Diego Costa have reportedly gone on strike because they didn’t get their own way.
It’s hard enough for fans to relate to the superstars of the Premier League as it is, but when they see these spoiled players sulking because they didn’t get the transfer they wanted it gets that little bit harder to empathise.
In the case of Fonte it seems especially strange.
I recall playing against him when he was at Palace and he couldn’t have been that great as even I scored against him.
Southampton took him, and through hard work on his part and being coached and managed by the people of Southampton he is now a Premier League regular, besides being the holder of a European Championships winner’s medal with Portugal.
So at 33 he has now decided he’s too good for the south coast club. Subsequently he missed his team’s excellent 1-0 EFL Cup semi-final victory over Liverpool.
Diego Costa appears to have just had a complete meltdown and all the reports indicate he’s been tempted by the vast pots of money in China. Some reports have said he’s been offered £30m a year.
I know China is a wealthy country but just how sustainable their football league can be when they are dishing out these sorts of long-term contracts is another matter altogether.
Costa appears to be at the peak of his game and is driving Chelsea to the title, so for him to even contemplate spending his best years in the Far East seems like a real waste.
Slaven Bilic is in a difficult position with the Payet issue. Bilic himself forced a move to Everton from West Ham as a player because he thought they were a bigger club.
I’ve never really witnessed a player go on strike to get a move but I’ve seen plenty of disgruntled players make their feelings known.
We only really see and hear about the players refusing to play but the other side of the story is how some clubs treat players.
I’ve seen managers come into clubs and completely disregard players without giving them a chance.
This has happened with Joe Hart and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Hart was granted a move away and that’s always the best way to deal with the unwanted players.
Some ex-team-mates who have been forced to stay caused massive issues in the changing rooms and also on the training ground.
As soon as you get a group of unhappy players together, it can be poisonous for clubs.
Clubs have also refused to play certain players due to clauses in their contract.
Often players would have an agreement that if they played ‘x’ number of games their wage would increase. This also works for transfer fees, when the selling club receives so many millions after a specified number of games.
For a club running low on money, the easy option is just to stop selecting the player and this can leave them in a bit of a wilderness.
I had a clause in my Notts County contract that entitled me to an extra year if I made a certain number of appearances.
I was well aware the club would never allow that to happen, hence I finished the season on loan.
Memories of the League One Play-off final victory will come flooding back this weekend as the Seasiders host Yeovil Town.
Fingers crossed the players aren’t too exhausted from their monumental 120- minute effort to reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.