24 Aug 2011

Pepe Reina could learn a thing or two about loyalty from Dirk Kuyt...

With so many self-absorbed, money-grabbing players currently snaking their way through the game, it's heartening to see that there are still some honest, genuinely loyal players around. Dirk Kuyt, for example. As a footballer, I've never been his biggest fan, but as his latest comments show, Kuyt's professionalism, work-ethic and loyalty are - and always have been - beyond reproach.

Earlier this week, rumours began to surface about Kuyt making a possible move to Inter Milan. Unlike certain Liverpool players in the very recent past, he immediately responded immediately to the speculation and left no doubt as to where his loyalties lie:

"As far as I know there is nothing true about this. I am very happy at Liverpool. I didn't extend my contract for two years three months ago for nothing. You don't do that if you have the intention to go away quickly. Maybe people think that I want to leave. But it doesn't work like that for me. Liverpool has a very big squad and therefore you could sometimes be on the bench"."

These days, football contracts are generally worthless, with players willing to renege on recently-signed agreements if they get a better offer, and/or feel that their club is not meeting their lofty personal ambitions.

I love the fact that Kuyt specifically made reference to his contract, and how it had only recently been extended. That's precisely the kind of unambiguous response ALL contracted players should give when questioned about their immediate plans.

Kuyt's response is in stark contrast to Pepe Reina's equivocating comments over the last year, during which time there has been constant speculation that he will leave Liverpool. Reina could've ended the rumours at any time with one emphatic, Kuytian comment on the subject, but instead, he has persistently fanned the flames of ambiguity with self-interested and (arguably) disloyal comments, such as the following:

"I signed a six-year deal seven months ago and I'm happy at the club, but every footballer wants to be competing for trophies and winning things. I will stay at Liverpool at least until the end of the season".

And, *after* Liverpool had spent £50m on Suarez and Carroll:

"Van der Sar is hanging up his gloves and people say that Arsenal are looking. I renewed my contract with Liverpool last year. But what a player wants, logically, is to challenge for titles. I think Liverpool will always be a big club but we have to be realistic and the reality is that right now we are not at the level of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea or Arsenal. That’s the truth."

This kind of selfish attitude is a curse of modern football, with presumptuous, self-absorbed footballers thinking that football clubs exist only to fulfill THEIR individual ambitions.

The overall implication here was that Reina would leave if the club were not winning trophies. These were veiled warnings, not dissimilar to the kind of risible threat Wayne Rooney vomited out at Man United last season.

Anyway, I'm glad that Reina stayed, but like the Mascherano and Torres situations, his lack of emphatic loyalty to the cause after being rewarded with a long, fat contract was, and is, disappointing.

With his gentlemanly demeanour, excellent attitude, and inalienable commitment to the cause, Kuyt is cut from the same cloth as the recently departed (and still sorely missed) Sami Hyypia, who - like Kuyt - epitomises all the core values of Liverpool FC.

Leading by example is important, and I hope that Kuyt's unselfish loyalty and commitment to the club (and his contract) washes off on other players at Anfield.

Bravo, Dirk!

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. could of been said to make the club buy players.

  2. Stupid article. Do your research, those comments were in response to a question where they implied future vacancies in big teams to which Reina replied to. He's also said he'd never play for United, showing the Van der Sar comment has been completely taken out of context by yourself. Pepe has never expressed a desire to leave and if you want to compare him to Dirk, you should take yourself back to last year, where he didn't deny any links with Inter when these storied first surfaced. Stop stirring the pot and spend more time in a more useful manner than writing tripe like this.

  3. Pepe would be off if Barce or Real wanted him and you can't blame him. He's one of the best in the world yet winning nothing in Liverpool for 5 years and not even in the Champions League for the last 2 seasons.

    To keep the best players you need to be competing for the biggest trophies or you have no chance. Reina is still at Anfield because no huge club made a big move for him. If we don't get top 4 this season he will be off.

    Dirk Kuyt is lucky to be at a club the size of Liverpool so I wouldn't read much into him. Benitez wanted him when he went to Inter Milan but no other massive club wanted him. And Inter don't want him now.

  4. Jaimie, we would all love our star players to pledge undying loyalty to the club - but thats not realistic. Kuyt is the exception that proves the rule. Most players are only too aware that careers are short. They have about 10 years, on average, to achieve all they can in terms of earnings and trophies. Once your career is over you dont get a second chance.

    Most top players will have one or two moments in their career when they have to make a potentially life-changing decision: "do I stay or do I go?". Reina was just being honest. As he stated, he extended his contract and obviously feels strongly for LFC. But, he simply said aloud what we all know must have been going through his head: that at the end of last year LFC was at a crossroads and as a professional footballer he would have to consider his future if a serious bid came in from one of the teams in CL contention. We now know that new owners have backed up their encouraging words with substantial transfer funds and have firmly put LFC back in contention - at least for a top 4 spot. Whether or not an enquiry or bid was ever made doesnt matter now. He is staying and real football supporters do not need to be convinced about his loyalty or his committmen to LFC.

  5. Excellent article and I'm sure that all discerning Liverpool fans over the age of 12 agree wholeheartedly, as do I. Reading some of the comments in response to this article makes me despair for the future of this country.

  6. This is the most ridiculous article. I've no idea why you even took the time to write it.

    For one it's completely out of date, refers out of context to comments made during one of the most testing periods the club has ever seen, and makes no reference to subsequent comments made by Reina. Frankly, I don't see a problem with someone of Reina's calbre wanting to elicit reassurances from the club's owners that they are committed to backing the manager and making the team competitive. The owner's have demostrated their backing - story over.  

    The boy (probably the best keeper in the World) has demonstrated his commitment to the club through years of loyal and accomplished service and is going nowhere.  

    Now please stop stirring this crap. 

  7. As usual, some people are incapable of producing a counter-argument, and prefer instead to hurl insults.  Those people are now permanently banned.  I'll say it again: anyone who posts derogatory comments in their post will be banned, and their comment will be deleted.  This is made clear in the comment policy.  If you disagree, or if you think I'm full of crap then argue your points in the right manner.

  8. Jaimie, these comments were never directly attributed to Pepe; in fact he flatly denied the context and some of the "adjusted" wording in the article.

    Also Jaimie, why attack Pepe? These comments were made during a depressing period for the Club and the team, things are now much better. Why not compare Kuyt to Nasri? A much more current topic of discussion; the sole reason for this article seems to be yet another baseless attack on a LFC player. It would have made far more sense to compare Kuyt & Nasri, but no, you use any excuse to write negative dross about LFC.

  9. Are you referreing the same Dirk who when linked to Inter before chose not to say much and when pushed said he was "happy" yet in football who knows, typical of your sensationists blogs always using half truths and specific quotes to highlight your gripes.

  10. I don't think it's fair to compare Dirk's immediate reaction with Pepe's stalling reaction. Before you compare the two, be sure you're comparing apples with apples.

    Dirk has been (and will continue to be) a great asset for LFC. The first time he donned the shirt and came on against West Ham at home, he immediately got stuck in and showed he had the physical presence needed to play in the Prem. I was at that game and remember turning to my bro and saying we've got a real live wire here which was something we'd been missing at the time (barring Gerrard & Carragher of course). However, it wasn't long before we all realised that Dirk, for all his guile and tenancity, didn't have the technique nor sixth sense like some of our former CFs and was never destined to become a great. But beside all of this, one thing Dirk does have in his locker is he is a BIG game player and that is enough for me. Loyalty will only ever get you so far, delivery is what counts.

    On the other hand, Pepe is a truly world class footballer and we are very lucky to have him. Unlike Dirk, Pepe can pretty much walk into any major team and their starting 11. It would be interesting to know had Inter Milan said to Dirk "we want you to spearhead our attack as our first choice CF and lead the our challenge in the Scudetta and CL" whether he would have taken more time to think it over? Dirk knows that if he goes to inter there's every chance he'll become a bit part player because for a reported £8M he can easily sit on the bench or even in reserves at Inter. Whereas Pepe should be playing at the highest level. He's younger than Dirk by a couple of years and as we all know, keepers tend to get better with age whereas Dirk is now approaching his twighlight years as a player.

    To be honest, had Kenny not have come in last season and turned things round both on and off the pitch like he's done and is doing, I don't think Pepe would still be with us. Yet he's allowed Kenny to show that there is an immediate bright future at LFC and he's decided to stay. Should we fail to make the top 4 this year, then I wouldn't blame Pepe if he left.

  11. I don`t really care about kuyt loyalty to the club...All I care about is whether he can have an influence on a match or not. Even if he keeps running non stop during the entire match if he is not scoring, providing assists or creating opportunities for other players with decent crosses or passes in the box then I think he is not needed in the team.He may be kept as squad player but not a starter. Sentimentalities are not going to lead us anywhere. What will happen if the likes of poulsen, cole, ngog etc start pleading loyalty to the club...Are we gonna win titles with them? All those not providing anything for the team no matter how loyal they are should be offloaded...

  12. Sorry, KK, but that's not correct: the comments were made by Reina in direct interviews (one on Spanish radio).  Reina denied he wanted to leave, but that does not change the fact he made the comments originally. 

    One of my personal bugbears is player disloyalty, especially from those who sign long contracts, tell the world how much they love the club, and then a few months later make ambiguous comments to the press about staying.

    This kind of behaviour needs to be highlighted, and if people don't like it, tough luck.

    This site is predominantly about LFC, and it is a site that takes a critical approach.  If you can't handle this, and just want positive 'we love you Pepe!' articles all the time, I suggest you stop coming here and go to the many other sites that produce those kind of articles.

    There's no point coming to a site that takes a critical approach and then moaning about the criticism (!).  it should be expected.

  13. Additionally, I think it's clear the article is overall a positive one about Dirk Kuyt - why do you ignore that?

  14. Ok I think your full of it.....
    FIRST you say you don't rate kuyt as footballer (shows your lack of intellegence)

    Second even if i do rate kuyt, even i can admit reina will always have bigger clubs after him he's bigger player and more sought after. So why should he stay, if the club doesn't compete. Wake up Kanwar there is no loyalty in football anymore, unless your a local and even gerrard thought about chelsea.

    Also if your pepe reina, the manager that brought you in got sacked, your main friends like alonso, torres, mascherano have all left....you'd think twice too.

    Also as much as i like pepe, should he leave there are other keepers out there like muslera, stekelenberg or lloris.

  15. Correct me if im wrong but didnt Pepe declare his hand by committing to a long term deal knowing full well that there would be no champions league football the following season, coupled with the fact that under the previous owners umpteen promises and reassurances were made to all and sundry about where the club was heading for the lies to be exposed. To call into question Pepe loyalty is scandalous in the extreme. Even Carra has stated in the past that trophies and money hold more sway than his beloved club and if he cant be called disloyal then we cant tar anyone else within the club with the same brush.

  16. You conveniently seem to be ignoring the fact that *after* signing that agreement, Reina stated he would stay until 'at least the end of the season'.  At least?  He just signed a 6 year deal; he had no right to imply he might leave less than one year after signing.

  17. Please highlight the alleged 'half-truths' in the article.

  18. there is NO loyalty on football today but don't slate pepe for being HONEST! it's easy to APPEAR loyal when things are looking rosy, but when it was all doom and gloom what was kuyt doing? touting himself round europe!!!

  19. So, you would argue that being disloyal is okay as long as a player is being open and honest about it?  interesting.

    When was Kuyt 'touting himself around Europe'?

  20. contracts arent worth the paper they're wrote on nowadays....a ahame really.

  21. firstly Dirk didnt display that "loyalty" when inter came calling last time stipulating he was happy but in football who knows what may happen. You choose to cheery pick statements from Pepe to suit your position why not highlight the fact he extended his contract when everyone was saying he should leave as he would have no champions league football the following year ( transpired it was 2 seasons ). On reading Carras book he also said that without the prospect of silverwear and a decent wage even he would consider his future AWAY from anfield - Is his loyalty ever called into question

  22. Granted your point about the comment being made after signing a long term deal, but where in his statement does he say he will force a move out of the club? bear in mind during this period players had no idea where they would be playing from one week to the next. unless you were in the boardroom when these issues were being discussed then no one knows what the position was with regards to any player pepe included. You can attribute those critcisms to Torres yes as it soon became apparant he engineered his move out but pepe is somewhat different, and i believe you could have selected quite a few other players to make your point.

  23. how many clubs are bigger than man united? who have openly courted Pepe. Real have Cassilas who is ahead of pepe in the national side so why would they want him and more to the point why would he want to go there. Barca have Valdes and although i prefer pepe to him Barca rate Valdes very highly and with their huge debt and recruitment policy geared towards outfield additions then pepe would be on their radar ( also he would cost a significant amount ). Italian teams have not got the money they used to and only really Bayern in germany would have the prestige to attract a player of Pepe quality - but would they pay 20 million im not so sure.

  24. NO i did not say disloylty was ok! and kuyt & his agent were on the tout last summer when he spoke to inter among others, remember? before the take-over! like i said, it's easy to APPEAR loyal

  25. At the point Reina made those comments we were at our lowest point in years with 2 fat scheming owners interested in doing no more than making a quick buck.

    Investment in the squad to compete with ManU and Chelsea was paltry at best with Benitez's choices not much to speak of (bar Torres). Reina has proven his loyalty as much as any player can. He could easily have left for ManU by holding the club to ransom until we gave up and sold him.

    We can HARDLY blame him for voicing his wish to be competitive in the league, he would not be half the player he is if competing was not in his nature.

    At this stage of the season with Reina backing King Kenny all the way I find your article inflammatory and poorly written, no true fan would cast such negativity this early and for no real reason so I can only assume you support some other Great team.....Leeds perhaps? But if you are a liverpool "fan" then please keep your pathetic diatribe to yourself.

    Was that high brow enough for you???

  26. Why should footballers be anymore loyal than any other working person? I'd consider leaving for a better wage or a more 'progressive' employer! We're all a slave to the wage man ;)

  27. The problem in football is the agents, If a player moves, they make money, the agent will also get money if he negotiats a new contract, the agents job is to get the player the best deal he can. A player will know if he claims to be loyal he will not get as good a deal as he would if he leaves the door open to a move. Top players know this and use the situation to get what they want. Kuyte has probably got the best deal he is going to get for his age, so is happy to stay put. Reina could get a better deal than the one he has know because he is one of the best keepers in the world. What this says to me is, he would like to be successful at liverpool than any where else, but if we are not competitive, he would go some where else to be competeitive.

  28. Loyalty is a two way bond, if a player is not consistent, or a waste of "money" to any club, the club will always look to sell. Kyut doesnt mind being on the bench every now and then but if Liverpool was to bring another player and kyut was to drop down the rank I'm sure Liverpool will be looking to cash in..

  29. Here's how i see it I have stated something like this before

    We cannot blame current players for trying to maximise earnings

    There used to be a maximum wage and no freedom of contract. Players often moved down a division because the earnings were potentially the same everywhere. Players could not move when and where they wanted

    Sir Stanley Matthews played for "unfashionable" clubs for years as his pay would have been no different at bigger clubs

    This had 3 main impacts (loads more also I'm sure)

    1. Local teams all secured big attendances, keeping local players/heroes as long as they wanted. No TV etc helped obviously

    2. Players were treated like pieces of meat, traded as commodities with no control over their own careers etc

    3. Great players ultimately ended up penniless. Nobby Stiles, World cup winner in 1966 recently had to sell his winner's medal just to fund his day to day living

    Maximum wage was eventually abolished, freedom of contract flourished and Jon Bosman changed football with his landmark case

    So we find ourselves where we are now. Mediocre players earn enough in a career to retire afterwards, unless Sky decide to reward them with even more millions as in "my dream home is a £10 million, eco-friendly, Tele-tubby inspired monstrosity" Gary Neville

    Players deserve a share of the massive revenues their participation in the sport generates. Once a club is run "properly" then they can earn whatever the club wants to pay them as far as I am concerned

    But who is run properly, I would suggest that Arsenal and some of the German teams are

    Man Utd are being run on the potential future value of a sale of the club

    Man City spent 121% of turnover on wages last season. The list goes on

    It's the duty of each nation's football associations to resolve the issue and implement a salary cap, but they all have sold out to different bodies to run their top leagues for them. The Premier League for example, their sole interest is to build the profile, international reach, increase profits until the behometh bubble they have created bursts

    UEFA are the only body who are attempting to force clubs to conform with the financial fair play rules

    We will see if recent high profile sponsorship deals actually stand up to scrutiny. If they do, there may be no real hope for financial fair play, and thus no real hope for viable, self sustaining football

    As for Kuyt and Reina

    Kuyt is model professional, but I'm sure living in the UK is currently ideal for him with 3 young kids and he probably wouldn't top the current deal he's on anywhere at this stage of his career

    At least Reina signed a 6 year deal before alleged possibility of him leaving. We would have received a top fee for him. At the time I thought it may have been worth getting £20 / £25 million for him

  30. In my opinion, a player who suggests that he may leave after signing a 6 year deal is being more "loyal" to a club than a figure like Nasri, Owen, McManaman etc

    At least Liverpool would have gotten a substantial fee for him

    Players should earn whatever a financially viable club is willing to pay them

    This doesn't excuse the obscene wages in football that are being paid by clubs who aren't financially viable without a sugar daddy figure. This is financial doping and offenders should be banned just as drug offenders are

  31. Loyalty is a personal and can only be measured on an individual basis as one persons cause is different from someone elses. Wayne Rooney is a die hard Everton fan, however Evertonians slated him for being disloyal by signing for Man Utd but the reason rooney left was he personally wanted to win things. He has won everything with utd so was it a right choice for him personally? Should he have disregarded his own cause for the happiness of evertonians.
    Reina when signing for 6 years must have backed the cause and personally felt the cause was for him to back. However like any cause if you see start to feel that the cause is failing then you will look at another that appeal to you. It is essentially the same as politics, one year you may back one party then another year a different. Does this make you disloyal or a person who has their own mind and will satify it without any involvement from anyone else.
    Jamie you had a personal gripe with football and turned your back on it for months, does this make you disloyal or at the time your objectives and personal stance changed towards something you truly love?

  32. For me the whole notion of player loyalty is a fallacy when you think about it rationally. In order to sign a player you have to induce him to disregard their loyalty to the club they are currently playing for. So in order to sign Pepa Reina LFC persuaded him to disregard the loyalty to come to the club but then we (as fans) should suddenly expect him to stay loyal to us...

    Obviously footbally is an emotional thing and we never want the special players to leave but I just think if we (as fans) took a more balanced, less emotional approach perhaps players could be a bit more honest and we wouldn't have these protracted situations where we all pretend that once a player signs for a club its for life and they never want to leave except on our terms.

  33. here here.. Jamie i don't know why you are citing loyality as a characteristc here.. Player are business men as much as anything.. Dirk Kuyt has a handy number in Liverpool and is a potential for different positions giving him more chance of a game.. Lets see how his attitude varies if he doesn't make the team for a while.. Players look out for themselves at the end of the day..He is settled in Liverpool also and likes to live there.. Why would he agitate for a move.. Loyality to himself more like it.. 
    I know this is a tangent but anonther point for me is that he's slow and predictable and it wouldn't bother me if he's not in the team.. I think Kenny has the same opinion.. Give me €50,000 a week and i'd run around like a lunatic at Anfield.. 

  34. Markjuliewalters4:40 pm, August 25, 2011

    Based on your logic virtually every player we have bought is lacking in loyalty as they broke their contract with their previous club to sign for us. Recently the only a couple of players didn't and these include Joe Cole and Philip Degen (who continues to demonstrate his loyalty by remaining at the club even though he has no chance of playing in a meaningful game).

  35. There is no loyalty in football. Not from players, not from the board, not from supporters. When a player states his loyalty, it is because he does not think he will get a better offer anywhere else.

    Reina was right to state his concerns. He would get offers way beyond anything that Kuyt will receive so it is easier for Kuyt to be 'loyal'. We've seen how loyal players can be, ourselves with Torres, Nasri at Man City now. We've seen how loyal supporters are, with half of the Arsenal support calling for Wenger's head before they beat Udinese. And we had enough supporters baying for Lucas' blood for a long time. And, of course, manager's like Chris Hughton know how loyal a team's board can be. Loyalty doesn't exist, all there is will be the recognition of whether someone is happy where they are or whether they think they can win more/get paid more/live in a preferable location, etc, etc, depending on what matters to them the most.