written by Dave Usher for ESPN
The declaration of loyalty from Stewart Downing this week was greeted by many Liverpool fans with the same 'enthusiasm' as the recent season ticket price hike. A fortnight ago, when it briefly looked like he might be off to join 'Big Andy' at West Ham, the jubilation in some quarters was akin to that usually reserved for an exciting new signing and there were a lot of unhappy campers when Stewy announced he was staying put.
This throws up an interesting contradiction in terms of how supporters view player loyalty. For example, Luis Suarez has been getting it with both barrels from angry fans because he appears to be trying to engineer a move away from Anfield. "He's got three years on his contract, there's no loyalty in football these days" we cry, with some justification.
Yet when Downing does the opposite and says "I've got a contract at Liverpool, I'm happy and I want to stay," he gets slated for not taking the hint and packing his bags for West Ham, or anyone else that will take him. It matters not that he doesn't fancy a move to 'the Hammers' and doesn't want to give up on his Anfield career without a fight, we want him out so he needs to just clear off, contract or no contract.
Read the full article here.