Lampard: The Curious Case of Respect without Loyalty

Published 09/29/2014, 1:23 PM EDT


Loyalty and respect.

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For eons has mankind, considered these two units as a single entity. If you have one, you are bound to have the other, or so we were taught. Yet, on recent evidence, the two words might in fact be mutually exclusive. Take Lampard and Chelsea for instance; on the surface, there are only respect and kind words from both parties for the other, yet there is a tinge of queer resentment of how things eventually turned out.

Lamps has every right to be aggrieved, for he might feel that he was unjustly considered superfluous once his finest years left him. A man is not a fruit, wherein you throw away the peel after gorging on the scrumptious insides. Any other club would retain its most trusty servants for not what they offer on the pitch, but what they offer off it. What Giggs was to United or Gerrard is to Liverpool, “Fat Frank” was to Chelsea. One simply does not let go of his priciest assets (unless you’re a “special one” from the Iberian Peninsula, that is).

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The flipside to this case was the fact that after making his journey to The Land of Opportunities, Lampard stupefyingly decided to take a swift U-turn back to the UK, and that too to arguably the biggest title rivals of the club from the Stamford Bridge. When his new side, Manchester City, encountered his former employers at the Etihad last week, Lampard made his much awaited appearance. Yes, there was a warm applause from the travelling contingent. And yes, there was a muted celebration after his (almost inevitable) goal. Like the meeting of two mature exes, there was amicable conduct, although coupled with a bugging uncomfortable feeling throughout. Lamps’s case highlights the condition of respect without loyalty. Respect was in order for 13 years of unparalleled service to the club from London. However, fidelity deserted both the club and the player.

For the fans of the yesteryear who seek the romantic notion of loyalty in football, this has been a blow. Still, the emotional case of a certain former Merseyside player still has us retain some faith in the idea of fidelity. The player in question, Daniel Agger, abandoned the offers of riches and glory from rivals all over the continent to return to his humble origins in Brondby, Denmark. Not only did he display loyalty towards the club which started it all, but he also did the same for the club who made him what he is today. In spite of possessing a fair 2-3 years of top-class football left in him, he chose not to utilize them on the grandest stages. Like Lampard, despite his seniority he was increasingly benched at his club, so he had to go. But unlike Lampard, his departure was not accompanied by a sense of acrimony, but by a sense of gratitude and sorrow.

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Sure, the Nicholas Sparksean romance is slowly making way for some instant Tarantino-esque success and ambition in the beautiful game. What is right and what is wrong is separated, but by the blurriest of lines. The numbers of Maldini’s, Scholes’s and the Totti’s might be on a steep decline. Yet the likes of Danny Agger give us hope. Maybe the ruthlessness that the money has brought into the sport may make the tiniest of rooms for the lovely idea of loyalty.

 

‘The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, lies in its loyalty to each other.’

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-Mario Puzo

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Siddhant Mukherjee

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