Whilst for many divisions in England, football is still a part time job, in the Premier League, everything the players do revolves around football. The players have to build their bodies around the game, eat in line with managerial requests and basically live and breath the life of the sport.
Luckily for them, they get paid hundreds of thousands of pounds every month and so I can’t imagine fifteen/twenty years of devotion to football is too bad for them, especially as it’ll be something they love. However I can understand that perhaps under the constant urges to be competitive and the media frenzies that surrounds them almost 24/7, playing professional football must put a hell of a lot of pressure on your shoulders.
At Arsenal, the pressure is always there to compete at the top, often because we expect more from the players who seem to consistently underperform of their capabilities every single season. Perhaps there are doubts that we allow ourselves to win the league when perhaps it’s an unrealistic hope, however surely we can at least expect them to put up a fight and be amongst the best.
Currently there is overwhelming amounts of pressure on everybody at Arsenal. From Arsene Wenger and the board of directors, to the players and the medical staff. The fans want Wenger out because he is unable to take this club forward anymore. The board of directors and the owner only seem to be interested in one thing – profit; and as for the medical team, for some reason they just cannot get it right. The players also deserve their share of the criticism, and of course the jury is out on wanting some of the players to leave.
However has the pressure gotten too much for the players and is that what has caused such an upset at the club. The Gunners Legend Nigel Winterburn has had his say on the matter and he feels that the persistent hounding of players has taken the game to a different level. Winterburn said: “We had some fabulous times. I always say I played in a special period, we had that little bit of freedom to go out and do stuff that we wanted to do but weren’t hammered for it. ”
Winterburn is talking about how the players in his period of play had more freedom in their life, and there wasn’t so much pressure bound onto the players. They played with passion, fight and of course when times were tough they got stick from the fans. However in today’s game, the fans and media are quick to turn their backs on players when the going gets tough, and as we’ve seen with Ozil already this season, it’s been suggested that he’s been made to feel as the scapegoat of the club.
Of course football is a very different game today and we expect so much more because it is a full time profession that happens to be very lucrative in terms of finances. We expect more from the players and every club can be scrutinised by their own fans and the media, making Arsenal players no different from the rest. Pressure cannot be used and excused and things certainly need to change sooner rather than later!