Valentine’s Day love affairs
A look at the bond between player and club
Happy Valentine’s Day, and big hugs from the sports crazy people at Coral. In the spirit of the day we take a longing look at the love affair between players and clubs. As the old saying in sport goes, if you want loyalty, buy a dog. But that doesn’t apply to the five gentlemen below who have given their best years to their employers.
John Terry – Chelsea
Surely JT won’t be at the bridge for much longer, but there is certainly a long-standing love affair between player and club here, and the fans adore their dedicated defender too. The 36-year-old from Barking made his professional football debut for The Blues, and hasn’t looked back since.
OK, so he had a brief fling with Nottingham Forest back in the day, but it only served to bring him and Chelsea closer together in the long-run and they can look back fondly. Since making his bow in October 1998, the Englishman has gone on to become the club’s most-successful captain, ever.
Wayne Rooney – Man Utd
OK, so Rooney isn’t a one man club, but there can be no doubting he has given the best years of his life to the Old Trafford side. There have been a few speed bumps along the way, with The Red Devil’s record goal scorer caught up in his fair share of rumours about a move to Europe, but it has never materialised.
The money men have worked their magic to keep Rooney sweet over the years, and he has paid them back many times over, scoring important goals and lifting important trophies. The latest drama from the life of Rooney has him off to the cash-rich Chinese leagues, with that move expected to go through in the summer. We’d be surprised to see it happen though.
Theo Walcott – Arsenal
Arsenal have had many wonder-kids over the years, but very few have lived up to the hype and lasted the pace. That does not apply to Theo Walcott however and, since signing as a youngster from Southampton in 2006, he has gone on to carve out a reputation as a darling of the fans.
Large sections of his Arsenal career have been hampered by injury, with many still believing that we have not seen the best of the 27-year-old yet, but if we are to get more, it will surely come in an Arsenal shirt. Whatever Walcott achieves going forward, there’s no doubting genuine Gooners love their boy.
Phil Jagielka – Everton
Everton are looking to the future and have filled their side with youth, desire and running, but one man there will always be a place for is 34-year-old Phil Jagielka. He first signed on the dotted line at Goodison Park back in 2007, arriving from Sheffield United, and has seen both good and bad times in equal measure since.
He is not getting any younger, and has probably played his best football already, but there’s certainly still plenty of work for him at The Toffees, as long as he wants it. Club captain, he is a commanding presence in the rear guard, using every inch of his experience to keep up with the young legs breaking through around him.
Andy King – Leicester City
More fairy-tale than romance, Leicester remain Andy King’s one and only true love. He has never played for another and has, without any kind of exaggeration, seen the good, the bad and the ugly at The Foxes.
Part of the League One winning side, he was also named player’s player of the year in 2010 and last season was part of the Leicester team who won the league, against all the odds and against the opinions of experts across the country. Signing a four-year deal in the summer of 2016, he made his Champions League debut shortly after.