Andrew Lane, Professor of Sports and Exercise Psychology
Transfer Deadline Day
Deadline day on the transfer window sees a number of high money deals taking place.
Gareth Bale reportedly went to Real Madrid for £85million and will receive a salary that looks like a telephone number. “Fantastic – I would love that sort of thing” will be the thought that comes to mind, and if you could see it for its simplicity then it would be fantastic - being paid to play soccer, and paid very handsomely too.
Big money moves come with big expectations to perform well from the owners and fans of the soccer club. Top players should be used to dealing with stress and so will possibly be capable of dealing with these expectations.
However, integrating into the team might not be so easy. The team will have a hierarchy of wage earners and whether true or rumoured, the new signing will rustle this hierarchy. Soccer changing room are notorious for the banter between players. Developing relationships takes time and the amount of time you could be afforded could be influenced by how quickly you settle; this will not be that easy when you can’t speak the language, you are not in on the joke, and so on. Life at work has just become more challenging.
Moving house, never mind moving abroad, will present numerous challenges. Highly paid people can smooth over a lot of issues but there will be times when you need to converse with the locals. It’s easy to get a bit isolated in such conditions. The player will be recognised and so people will go out of their way to help; his wife will not be and so suddenly she has to deal with a new language and culture.
Of course all of the above is made much easier due to the fabulous salary that comes with being a top level soccer player.
However, spare a thought for players in the lower leagues also being transferred. No big money deal and fringe benefits. You turn up for work today and “Sold to Wigan” is what the Boss tells you.
Professional soccer looks glamorous, and it can be, but it also comes with pressure and fragile job security.