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Is money all that motivates young players?

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Jack Ross | 11:04 UK time, Monday, 26 July 2010

If I was to say that this week's blog is about the reasons why a player moves clubs or chooses one team over another then I am sure some would expect it be very short and straightforward.

Surely, for footballers, it is all just about the money and therefore the highest bidder secures the signature of the player in demand.

As a professional of many years it may come as no surprise that I would argue this point, and instead point to many other factors that a player will consider before deciding upon his next move.

Of course, there are mercenaries in the game and a higher wage will often hold sway over a lesser offer but do the same rules not apply in other sports and other professions?

James McArthur and Danny WilsonTaking aside the matter of finance, what else will a player consider prior to committing himself to a new club?

The potential for success is an obvious one, as players have always grown up with the dream of winning championships, appearing in cup finals and being capped by their country, and therefore a club which can offer them more than a good chance of achieving this is always an attractive proposition.

Whether you will simply be a squad player used to fill in for others, or be seen as a regular starter with a vital role to play is another issue to ponder.

Undoubtedly there have been examples in the game of players moving to other, sometimes bigger, clubs but failing to cement their status in a way they had done at their previous employers.

This in particular, however, is difficult for a player to judge as they will usually be confident enough in their own ability to make a move a successful one.

There are numerous other circumstances which will dictate a career path, with age being another significant one.

An older player may be less willing to uproot a family for example, or may opt for a club because it offers him a route into coaching and so on.

For younger players, and perhaps even those still of school age, the decision of which club to join can be even more important, as it could determine their very future success in the game.

In Scotland, would a teenager (and their parents) prefer to sign for a big club and enjoy the prestige and accolade that comes with it?

Possibly, and sometimes with justification as the facilities that these clubs can offer are often superior to the smaller sides.

However, some of these smaller sides are those who invest huge amounts of time and money (in a relative sense) into their youth programmes and who are prepared to give their own developed players first-team opportunities.

All of the above conjecture is particularly relevant in a week when two players brought into their respective teams through a youth system have seen their performances rewarded with moves to the English Premier League.

In the case of Danny Wilson, he displayed incredible maturity in his displays for Rangers and is undoubtedly a defender with a huge future ahead of him.

While the transfer of my former - albeit very briefly - teammate, James McArthur, is a fitting reward for a consistency and standard of performance which has often belied his young age.

I obviously have a lot more experience of playing against James than with him but always felt he merited the hype that often surrounded his displays.

The move to Wigan affords him the chance to emulate the huge success of James McCarthy, and is surely a ringing endorsement for any top young players to consider Hamilton Accies as their preferred move ahead of any other clubs.

Speaking of Hamilton, we are in Spain this week for a five-day training camp where we also have a couple of matches arranged.

It is always beneficial to get away as a squad and to enjoy working in a warmer climate -but before anyone asks, a trip to the Costa del Sol was not the reason I chose Hamilton over other SPL sides!


  • Comment number 1.

    Great post Jack it is good to see more youngsters from Scotland going down to the EPL or the English Championship and getting to the EPL that way e.g adam and dorrans but nowadays the team offering the most money are the teams that will be pushing for the accolades like Man City and Real Madrid so the players dont tink twce aboutsigning for them
    Anyways how you settling into life at Hamilton?

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Jack.
    I presume that the reasons you chose Accies over others (If there were others of course :)) was a combination of, being able to stay in the same house and a chance to do some coaching. Is this right?
    I hope you have a good season next year except when tou play agains Motherwell.

  • Comment number 3.

    Good Blog Jack on a very interesting topic! I think young players with potential are looking for a break but don't often choose the right options as (understandably)they often get seduced by the 'bigger' club.

    It's a tough call and one I've, unfortunately, never had to make. I've always thought about the money from the perspective of the 'top level' but I guess it applies at all levels in the professional game. What disappoints me is that it now seems to override club loyalty more often than not.

    I've no idea what sort of salaries young players would command at (say) Hamilton versus (say) Celtic or Rangers. While the money is no doubt a factor, I think it's always been the case that young players will be attracted to the bigger club.......that was the case years ago before there was so much money in the game.

    On another subject (maybe for a future Blog)I've been disappointed by the standard of the Scotland team for so long now. As an oldie, I remember the Scotland teams of the '70's and '80's and they were always my team of choice in the big competitions (me being Irish and generally not being represented directly).

    Where are the Dalglishs, Strachans, Jordans, McQueens, Macaris, Mc Coists, McLeishs, Duries, Gemills, Coopers etc etc? It's been a very long time since Scotland have produced such quality and I'd be very interested in your views on that.

    Cheers for a good read!

  • Comment number 4.

    As a Wolves fan I was disappointed that we didn't sign James McCarthy last season. Everything was agreed for him to sign for Wolves except Mick McCarthy told him straight that he probably wouldn't be in the first team. He then opted for the vastly smaller club, Wigan, as he believed he had a greater chance of playing in their first team.

    This is all very honorable & suggests players do want playing success more than wealth...but then I see both James MCarthy and James McArthur have their souls possessed by agent Willie McKay!!!

  • Comment number 5.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 6.

    Thank you for the replies.

    I have settled in well at Hamilton, having worked under the manager previously and played with some of my new team mates before the move has been an easy one to make. Having said that it has been a really tough pre season but a beneficial one and I have been enjoying the matches that are now coming up thick and fast!

    With regards to coaching, it is something I am interested in but not a factor yet in any move I have made-my priorities are still very much with playing and hopefully I will prove throughout the season that I still have plenty to offer on that side of the game. The point is a fair one however as there are factors such as a chance to coach or manage that players will consider before joining a club.

    Finally, thanks for the future blog idea-always appreciated!

  • Comment number 7.

    I do feel that young scottish players really only have 2 choices.
    1- Join one of the Old Firm
    2- Join an english team.

    I do not think this is right though.
    For any young player to progress he needs first team football.
    The majority of them just do not get it. Look at Victor Moses, John Bostock,Jack Wilshere and Theo Walcott.

    All apparently destined for greatness.

    Moses joined Wigan and ended the season on the bench- Sure he might get a chance this season but it does seem Roberto Martinez likes to sign players who need to 'settle' in England first.

    John Bostock was tipped to be a great. He joined Tottenham (for the money) and is now languishing in the reserves and by all accounts not exactly setting the lower leagues alight when on loan.

    Jack Wilshere should get his chance this year but I have been saying that for a good 2 or 3 years now.

    Walcott- Well where do I start?
    Signed as a striker, put on the wing to learn a new position and then is left out there where he makes the wrong decision again and again and cant cross for toffee!

    Look at Wayne Rooney. Yes he had AMAZING ability at the age of 16 but do you think if he was at Arsenal or United he would have played as much? I dont think so.
    He played because Everton needed him.

    Its best to plug away for a couple of years at a lower team. Build up your game, mature and if you are good enough you will be signed.

  • Comment number 8.

    Your point of view is really interesting because the sports world -and specifically football- should not move for money.
    But we are living such difficult situations to understand how the fact that a football team as Villareal pay three million euros for a junior Uruguayan player, Nestor "colibrí" Coratella ([Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]) almost unknown to fans, when Spain is involved in the worst economic and social crisis of all time... even recent FIFA World Cup.



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