As a diehard supporter of West Ham United I am supposed to say that captain Declan Rice is wonderful, to look at his tackle and pass stats and say that he is the new Bobby Moore and worship the ground he walks on. Sorry. I cannot say that. I, increasingly, despise him more than I despise most Premiership prima donnas and that is saying something. As ever in football it is greed at the heart of it all.
Rice professes to adore West Ham and most of the claret and blue sheeple lap it all up and say that the adoration is mutual. Yet “those close to Rice” which is journalistic speak for his agent say that he is furious with West Ham for saying he would not be sold for less than £100 million so thwarting a summer move.
Those close to Rice” say that he will not sign a new contract so after three years he will be gone anyway to a club offering guaranteed Champion’s league football. You see it is not enough to play for your country, or in the case of Rice for two countries both of which he professed to adore with a devotion and loyalty unmatched by any other player, or for a club you adore and would do anything for. Rice needs to paly against PSG, Barcelona and the other “big clubs” every season. Guaranteed.
Of course that is all about money too. More money for Declan and for his agent and other hangers on who brief the press. What they are saying is that Declan wants West Ham to accept less cash for him, so damaging West Ham, so that he can earn more. This is how he thinks he is demonstrating how much he “adores” West Ham? Whatever.
I am sure West Ham will be a weaker team without Rice although £100 million or near as damn it can buy in a lot of replacement talent. In that sense I shall be sorry to see Rice depart. It is a pleasing novelty not to be starting a season, as has historically been the case, working out which are the three teams so dire that relegation is not something we need panic about at this staged. But, if I could bring myself to attend a match could I bring myself to cheer his name?
No. Rice is rapidly becoming a symbol of everything I despise so much about the modern game: the faux loyalty and, above all, the naked greed.