Location, location, location – should it matter to a professional footballer?
It’s grim up north, so they say. They might have a point – for example, here’s the best pic I could find of the Middlesbrough skyline (with apologies to Jeff Stelling, who I would not want to upset).
There’s no doubt that in the past, players have not signed for big clubs that are located in the north of England (more the north-east than the north-west), purely because of the location.
Personally, I find some things about London just as grim as Newcastle, say, but then I’m never going to be offered a contract by Kevin Keegan. Should location matter as much to a professional footballer? Would it matter to you?
Homesick Jose Reyes famously couldn’t stick it in London and ran back to Spain, whilst it’s been reported that Alex Hleb finds the capital too noisy and wants a move to peaceful Milan. Looking further north, ex-Forest star Brian Roy once slagged off the whole of Nottingham – “all Nottingham has is Robin Hood and he’s dead…” – whilst this season Andrei Voronin moaned about how England’s culture and services lagged behind that of Germany (er, he has a point).
Would you let location determine your club, if you were lucky enough to have a choice? If you were offered a Â£20k a week contract with Arsenal and a Â£50k a week contract with ‘Boro, which would you go for, and why? I accept that the choice is as much to do with the stature of the club as it is to do with the perceived shittiness of Middlesbrough as a location, but that’s a huge wage difference. Would you take more than a 100% wage cut just to live in the capital?