A Tribute to the One Club Men of Football!

Barney CorkhillSenior Writer INovember 28, 2008

In these days of football being more of a business than a game, and money playing a huge part in the careers of players, loyalty is something that is becoming rarer and rarer each and every year.

But, every now and again, along comes a player whose loyalty and love for a club goes beyond anything money can offer.

Now, I'm not saying that all players who have played for more than one club aren't loyal. For example, Bobby Charlton was one of the most loyal players in Manchester United history, yet United weren't the only club he played for.

I fully understand that sometimes players want to leave their clubs, either because they are unhappy, or an offer comes in from their boyhood club, e.g Alan Shearer to Newcastle.

I also fully understand that some players need to leave to further their careers.

But this makes the one club men even easier to admire. They must have all gone through at least one of these phases in their career, yet they chose to stay.

I can think of perhaps one player who has played for one club his whole career that I dislike, and that is Gary Neville, for obvious reasons.

Other than him, everyone else's loyalty wins me over. Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes play for my club's arch-rivals Manchester United, yet I still like them. Perhaps this is what made people so upset at Cristiano Ronaldo throughout the summer with the Real Madrid rumours—that he was being compared to the loyalty of these two great players.

At Chelsea, you have John Terry, although he did spend a brief spell on loan at Nottingham Forest.

At Arsenal you had the likes of Tony Adams, and at Liverpool you have Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher.

All these players are cult heroes at their respective clubs. If I was a player, one thing at the top of my list of goals to accomplish in my career would be to become a cult hero.

You get the feeling also that most of these players, with the possible exceptions of John Terry and, as much as I hate to say it, Steven Gerrard, would take a pay cut if it meant still playing for their beloved clubs.

At this point a shout has to go out to the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon who, despite previously playing for other clubs, took a pay cut to stay at Juventus when they were relegated to Serie B.

Other current players from around Europe who have been loyal to their clubs include players such as Raul (Real Madrid), Paolo Maldini (AC Milan), and Xavi (Barcelona).

But, in terms of complete loyalty, two stand above the rest. All the clubs listed above are highly successful. Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Real Madrid, AC Milan, and Barcelona can easily pay enough to keep the talent there, and are successful enough for the talent to not get frustrated, unlike the clubs these two play for.

First up is AS Roma's Francesco Totti. Now, without Totti, Roma would, I think it's fair to say, have struggled to come anywhere near to any silverware. With Totti, however, they have managed two Italian Cups and even a Serie A title.

Totti has been at Roma now for 16 years, and is the top scorer and appearance maker in the club's history. Such was his quality that teams like Real Madrid and Manchester United made big money offers for him. Such was his loyalty that he turned them down.

He has been the golden boy in Italian football for almost a decade now, and, thanks to his loyalty and dedication, he must go down as the greatest player in Roma's history.

But, the next player dwarfs even Totti.

I speak of Southampton's Matt Le Tissier.

Now, Le Tiss is a player I rate very, very highly. In terms of midfielders, he is, in my opinion, the best the Premier League has ever seen. Yes, that includes Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard etc.

But Matt Le Tissier was unbelievably good. Most of the goals he scored would be ranked among the best ever, had they been scored by Maradona or Pele. He defines the phrase "scorer of spectacular goals."

His only weakness was that he seemed to drift out of games too often, and was considered a lazy player. It really is a grave injustice that he only has eight England caps to his name. He probably deserves 50+ Brazil caps!

But, what makes this man even more incredible, was the fact that he played his entire 16 year career with Southampton, a team constantly fighting relegation. Had he signed for one of the top teams, which he continually had the chance to do, he would be regarded much higher around the world than he is today.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that many of those reading this around the world haven't even heard of Le Tissier. If you haven't, check him out.

Matt Le Tissier is the shining example of football loyalty, and he should be applauded for that, as should everyone else mentioned above.

So here's a toast to the one club footballers!


To see a list of all the one club footballers, click here!