Don’t label Ramsey and other other players who leave ‘Mercenary’ when all modern players are mercenaries



An interesting piece by Victor Thompson yesterday on Aaron Ramsey

“Interesting” because, in my view, he makes “good” points and some “no so good” points.

Let me explain


About Ramsey, Victor is spot on. An Arsenal player of immense stature, character and ability. He stands up there with the Greats for what he has done on and off the field.

So impressive, such quality and a human being of real achievement. And but for his recent hamstring injury we would be a cert for the Champions League by now


The “not so good points” that jarred were the references to “mercenaries”.

All players are mercenaries – I looked at Collins Thesaurus for synonyms and these are the words I find listed…

“acquisitive, covetous, grasping, greedy, money grubbing”

Looking back into history terms such as “hireling and soldiers of fortune”


So often when fans are unhappy with players they drag up the word “mercenary” to insult them and when you see what the word actually means we should be cautious in our use of such toxic language.


All players are acquisitive. All of us are acquisitive. We want the best for ourselves.

We are mercenaries – we offer our services in our own work to the highest bidder.

We haggle – we negotiate, we press for more. That is life

So far so good.


We fans are the fans. The players are the mercenaries.

We pay for the privilege of seeing the “mercenaries” do their best.

Some players are better than others are, it is as simple as that but as long as they give their best on and off the pitch that is fine.

Jenkinson is one of our fans favourite – he is a mercenary. Ramsey too. He has offered himself to us and to Juventus.






Now where Victor loses it for me is where he brackets together Sanchez and Walcott.

Sanchez was highly paid – he scored some wonderful goals (e.g. -against AV in the Cup final). He gave us some great moments – real celebrations. He was not an easy character – not all players are and he could sulk but not to be especially identified as money grubbing or a soldier of war. He wanted the best for himself and sometimes sulked. Ramsey also wanted the best. Both were entitled to seek their best. As it is Sanchez has failed at United – that maybe down to him or the United management but he served us well



Not the same


So did Theo. Always wholehearted for Arsenal FC despite the boos and the moans. He never turned on AFC – he was loyal and I bet he looks for our result every time we play. He never quite made it and the boo boys got at him but he kept his dignity and in every interview he was AFC solid.

Most of us will recall his two goals v THFC at the Emirates when we were two down – and the goal he made for Adebayor in the Champions League giving us a victory so quickly to be erased by an immediate bad penalty award against us


So in praising Ramsey – as we all should do because he is the absolute tops– don’t let’s show our frustration at his departure by turning on players who have given us some great moments. Criticise them for weaknesses but do not whip us hate by calling them “mercenaries”.




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One Response to Don’t label Ramsey and other other players who leave ‘Mercenary’ when all modern players are mercenaries

  1. Victor Thompson May 7, 2019 at 3:37 pm #

    I plead “Not Guity M`Lord”

    Your definitions from Collins Thesaurus are not that far away from my interpretation of their behaviour.

    Walcott came to Arsenal from Southampton as a boy wonder and he had certain attributes which stood out. Firstly he was extremely fast and he ran at speed with the ball. He had come to the notice of the England selectors and he was included in the squad for the World cup at age 17. During his time at Arsenal Arsenal declined as a football Club and its star players were sold to the emerging super clubs Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and of course, Barcelona. Throughout those years, Walcott continued to impress with his speed but it was noticeable that he often lacked the end product. It was somewhat fortunate for him that Arsenal depended on its best players at that time.They did deliver but he progressively failed. In those circumstances he had a perfect opportunity to negotiate a hard bargain to renew his contract. You are correct that he never criticised Arsenal or ran it down. When he was interviewed by the media, he was always articulate and modest but the negotiations dragged on and on. Van Persie had left which for the fans was very hard to swallow. We became known as a `Selling Club`. The management finally surrendered to his demands and he re-signed for £100,000 per week. His game did not improve and he did nothing to enhance his performance for the team. He also became an irregular member of the England team. The main problem for him was that he had lost the fans because although he never said anyhing controversial on TV or in the press, he explained it by saying that his agent handled all the negotiations with the club. Even Wenger said that one of his hardest tasks was to have to negotiate with players agents. It was disingenuous for him to try to shift the blame for his stonewalling on to his agent. The fans could never forgive him for forcing his deal at a time when the club was suffering.

    Sanchez was a different situation. When Arsenal signed him from Barcelona, he was a fantastic signing and he was an instant favourite with the fans. There is no argument that he was one of the best signings in the Premiership by any club in 2014 and he followed his first season with an even better one the following year. However other clubs were interested in him but he had a six year contract. He maintained a very high standard of skill and commitment, but he made it clear that he would not re-sign at its end. Arsenal made the mistake of letting his contract run out and during his last two seasons his level of performance dropped. He finally signed for Man Utd. with no transfer fee, but a huge salary. He has never come near his original standard for Arsenal since he negotiated a salary of between £500k and £600k and he is now reviled as a carpetbagger by the Utd. fans.

    I am not recalling these events for the puerile reason of stirring up hatred for Walcott and Sanchez. I have presented my opinion based on what I consider to be factual accounts of their behaviour towards AFC. At a time when they knew two things; the club was struggling with lack of money due to the expense of the new stadium and in both cases, they knew that other clubs were interested in them and second, they drove the hardest bargain they could, knowing full well that their demands could not be met.

    First and foremost Graham, I am an Arsenal Fan, I want to see the club prosper and I want to see us have the best players playing for us. When I see our best players leave the club without really trying to compromise on the terms of their future employment knowing that they have it over a barrel, I lose my affection for the player concerned. I understand the rights of any individual to get his best terms of engagement in his occupation.

    When footballers were kids, they dreamed of playing for a good team and it is better the bigger the team and the more support from the fans that there is. That class of club is big because of its history and for its success. Much of that success is founded on the love and support of the fans. If you sign for a club for three years and the fans take to you and make it obvious that they love you, is it not fair that you give something back? I call it loyalty. I do not think that players would follow a club for blind loyalty. If that was the case lower division clubs would only ever be able to satiisfy the locals who watch them week in week out with no prospect of glory.

    With respect, you are wrong in your assessment that we as fans pay for the privilege of watching the mercenaries do their best. That would be fine if it was true, but the fact is that we fans are not satisfied that Walcott and Sanchez were doing their best in the last two years with Arsenal. What they were watching was two mercenaries trying to screw the club for a better deal. I would also point out that Chelsea have had, I think three managers in recent years. Even though they have won trophies, the fans and their owner were not convinced that they were doing their best. Man Utd. have done the same and despite the fact that they have the highest wages bill in the Premiership, they have not qualified for the top 4 this year. Their fans are seething with discontent because the performance of their mercenaries is not of their best and Snachez is the biggest culprit of all.

    Is it coincidence that in both cases, the occupant manager in both clubs stated that their main problem was a lack of cooperation in the dressing room? Even Sir Alex Ferguson says that it is much harder for any manager these days because the players are billionaires. He said that in his day, his players were scared of him but it is hard to instill fear into a person who can simply down tools and get a transfer to another club.

    The question therefore is `What price Loyalty` and does a mercenary even have any?

Your thoughts?

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