Why do footballers force a transfer by refusing to play?

Footballers careers are short. The average professional playing career is typically around 15-20 years, and because of this players will normally milk as much money as they can in order to sustain themselves when they retire from the game.

You see higher up in the footballing pyramid, especially in the Premier League, players will refuse to play for their clubs until they get a transfer to an interested party. However, this has recently happened in non-league football with Hartlepool United striker Pádraig Amond.

Last seasons top goalscorer, Amond, made himself unavailable for selection in Pools’ recent 2-0 defeat to Bromley in the National League. This has come off the back of Football League interest from the likes of Newport County coupled with a refused transfer request submitted by the player himself last month.

Manager Craig Harrison vented his frustrations to Hartlepool Mail on Saturday.

“[He] came to me on Friday morning, before we travelled down for the game, and made it clear he was not in the right frame of mind to be involved. So he made himself unavailable for selection or to travel.

We need to talk about it and look at it. We need to communicate over the next few days and work out exactly where we are.”

Hartlepool United manager Craig Harrison. (Hartlepool United YouTube channel)

This sparks the debate over who has the actual power in this situation. Historically if a team bids for a player it is the clubs decision whether to sell or not. This is because it is against FA rules for an interested club to speak to another player until a transfer fee is accepted.

But with footballers and agents working together in the modern-age of football they can get around this rule and take matters into their own hands by refusing to play until they can speak to a new club.

Hartlepool fan Luke Marsh made a good point in a National League fan group on Facebook about his loyalty.

“This man has severely let myself and many other Pools fans today. [He] wanted a move away so has had to take the cowards way out by just simply outright refusing to play.

No player is bigger than the club. Complete lack of respect shown to the club and hopefully I never have to see him in a Pools shirt again.”

Amond started his career with Shamrock Rovers in the League of Ireland after graduating from the clubs youth academy. Since then he has gone onto play for Paços de Ferreira in Portugal before playing in the English Football League with Accrington Stanley, morecambe, Grimsby Town and now Hartlepool United.The prolific striker has a career league record of 116 goals in 365 appearances which average out to a strike rate of 0.32.

He is a player in demand and the most time he has spent at a club is three years, which promotes the assumption that the player doesn’t consider club loyalty to be a decisive factor when it comes to his footballing career.

What do you think of footballers being able to have such a big effect on transfers in the modern game? Do you blame Amond for wanting to play at a higher level of football?

Published by Dan Simmonite

Aspiring sport media professional currently working with Northumberland FA. Also write for the grassroots section of the Newcastle Chronicle.

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