I have been shocked this season to see how many teams have really fallen away as soon as they have nothing left to play for.
I know that a change in results or effort is a bit common at this time of the season, especially for mid table or “safe” sides but I think the volume of teams falling away has been particularly high this year.
Recently I read a lot on Twitter about a team requiring to score an astronomical amount of goals to win their league on goal difference. I think if I am right they won 18-0 or thereabouts. Call me cynical but unless the winning team had players of the calibre of Suarez, Messi, Ronaldo etc then there is only one reason for this scoreline, the opposition had totally given up on their season. They threw in the towel.
I don’t want to single out this team as I don’t really know enough about them so I will generalise for everyone whom I believe gives up the ghost when the time comes.
Rather than let your effort levels rapidly decrease when it becomes clear that your chance of a medal is gone and that you have avoided relegation then maybe you should consider the bigger picture. The opposition teams you have still to play in your league are maybe still part of a relegation scrap or fighting for the league. Surely you owe it to your own personal pride to give the exact same effort in these games as you would have when the aims and objectives were set by your manager in the first matches of the season. Your own performances can have a huge impact on the integrity of the competition for everyone involved and not just your team. My attitude as a player was always that if we can’t win the league then we will do our best to have a big say in who does. A drop in effort is totally selfish and very prima donna.
The 18-0 scoreline hadn’t been the only shock result because there has been a few in the past couple of weeks and it is very easy to see who is still giving 100% and who isn’t.
The day you stop giving your all in every match you play in should be the day that you give up football! I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror if I knew that I had allowed someone to win a league because me and my teams mates had blatantly went through the motions on the park or had not even bothered turning up to see out the season at all. Or even worse, can you imagine being responsible for a team being relegated because you couldn’t muster the motivation to in a game you would have won in August at a canter.
I can’t even comprehend the bollocking I would have got in days gone by if I had limped over the line at the end of a season only to turn up after the summer full of beans with talk of competing in the next year.
For me, as a footballer you can’t pick and choose when you are going to give effort in a game. It’s all or nothing every time.
Play to the whistle