THE LOYALTY GAME

Gone are the days when loyalty to a badge, a board of directors, a set of fans, a manager or a cause was more important than the colour of your pounds, euros or dollars.

Sadly, as football as morphed from a sport to a business, so have the rules of engagement with employees. In most circumstances it is ALL about what is in their pay packet.

Now, we all know that football is a short career and footballers need to capitalise financially where they can. But, that thought process and dynamic is constantly eroding the connection between the fans and the players year on year.

It is no surprise that men such as Billy McNeilL, John Greig, Willie Miller and Maurice Malpas are held in such high esteem by the supporters of Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen and Dundee United respectively as well as the wider footballing public.

As ‘one club’ men they are entitled to be celebrated and revered by the fans because they not only delivered silverware to their clubs; they played for the jersey.

Could the same ever be said about Nicolas Anelka, Carlos Tevez, Zlatan Ibrahimovich or many of the modern players who have been engineered to look after themselves first?

Contrary to regular opinion though, there are still loads of guys out there who give their all for their club over a significant period of time.

Lewis Stevenson at Hibs, Scott Brown at Celtic, Keith Lasley at Motherwell and Andrew Considine at Aberdeen are great examples of individuals who have ALWAYS given their lot for the people who pay their wages.

In truth, amongst the backdrop of a game that is now regularly paying players £400,000 per week, there are thousands of guys who go about their business week in week out in a more committed manner for literally 0.1% of that figure.

From Kris Doolan and Chris Millar to Steven Hammell and Steven Anderson there are plenty of guys who put in a real shift for one club during their career and that is why they are loved by the punters – it is not the money that drives these guys, it is all about their professional pride and conscience.

If you look hard enough you will find plenty of others in Scottish football who have operated in the same way.

And, that brings me to Queen of the South’s Derek Lyle.

Now, I’ve known Del since he was a gallus kid at Partick Thistle under John Lambie.

The only difference now is that he’s no longer a kid – sure, he’s still just as gallus – and already half way through his 21st season in Scottish football. That takes some doing.

Throw in the fact that he suffered a really bad knee injury during his time and it is remarkable that he is still doing what he does best – scoring goals.

As one of only five players in Queen of the South’s history to score over 100 league goals he is quite correctly celebrated down Dumfries way.

He is currently third highest goalscorer in the club’s history and is only three goals behind the late, great Bobby Black who graced Palmerston back in the ’50s and ’60s.

As Queen of the South’s most decorated player, he has won two League titles and two Challenge Cups, it is safe to say that he will always be part of the Doonhamers’ family.

It is no surprise that his Testimonial Dinner last Saturday night in Dumfries was sold out and that the feeling within the room towards him was nothing short of incredible – I think he almost enjoyed them as much as they enjoyed him.

That proved to me that loyalty is still a two way street and very much alive in football.

You just need to know where to look for it.

5 thoughts on “THE LOYALTY GAME”

  1. Great great night for a great player I have been lucky to see in all three spells at the club.
    Hopefully the manager plays him so he can get those three extra goals. He really deserves to be right up there in our history.
    Cheers del and to the queen’s

    Liked by 1 person

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