In the wake of Gareth Bale just signing his world record pay deal, an eye watering €350,000 a week AFTER tax, I couldn’t help but think of the hard work and dedication of our very own League of Ireland players show week in week out.
Now, it is undoubtedly a dream of us all to be receiving a small lottery per week for doing what we love, as Welsh superstar does, but what about the dreams of the players currently plying their trade in the LOI and what are they looking to get from the domestic game that they give so, so much to?
One player who immediately sprung to mind when thinking about hard work and deserving more from the game, was Keith Buckley.
Anyone who has ever watched “Bucko” play, will tell you he is the epitome of giving it everything, leaving it all out on the field and making the absolute most of his talent.
Speaking briefly with the current Bohemian FC player of the year, it was immediately obvious that he wants to get as much as he can from the game in which he gives his blood sweat and tears to.
The combative midfielder also gave an excellent example of the struggles a LOI player trying to balance a full time job and commit fully to both family life and training. “It was extremely tough, just coming off a 10 hour night shift, finished at 9 o’clock and having to meet at 12 to go and play at Finn Harps that evening, it’s a huge commitment and to throw not seeing the family on top, id be lying if it wasn’t a struggle at times”.
But not one to feel a sense of entitlement from anything or anyone, it just further pushes the Dubliner to work harder, which is exemplified in the fact he played an impressive 29 times at the highest domestic level and helping the Gypsies to their first trophy in six years.
The dream of the ex-Belvedere man would of course to go full time and make a real go of his footballing career, because as he puts it “your football career goes by way too quick, the seasons are flying by.” The 24 year old added: ”It would be a incredible to go full time, challenge myself in leagues in England or the States and see just how much I could improve. Its what most players in the league would love (to go full time) and be able to give their absolute best for the clubs every second of the week, the simple fact is you cant make a living from football here so if any opportunities come up you have to take them seriously.”
It was a fascinating little insight into the life and struggles of what the players give to the game and when you really think of it from both sides of the coin, both player and fan, can anyone really question the motives of players in the league to look after himself as best as possible? Whatever the players decide to do in the off season, and as much as it might hurt or frustrate fans, before any comments are made I hope the fans take a second to put themselves in the players boots and really think about the decisions taken.