Charlton’s relegation from the Championship has left many of their fans pointing the finger of blame directly at the club’s former star striker, Lyle Taylor.
Prior to the coronavirus interrupting the season, Taylor had scored 11 goals in 22 games.
However, he refused to rejoin the team after the break over fears he might get injured, which could affect his chances of a dream move to a bigger club and a significant payday once his contract expired at the end of the season.
The Addicks were relegated after a 4-0 defeat away at champions Leeds. But in the six games prior to that match, Charlton drew 0-0 with Cardiff, lost 1-0 to Millwall, lost 2-1 to Brentford, lost 1-0 to Reading, drew 1-1 with Birmingham and drew 2-2 with Wigan.
So just one extra goal for Charlton in any of those six games would have seen them escape relegation, given that they had a far superior goal difference over Barnsley, who finished one spot and one point above them.
While we will never know if Taylor would have scored in any of those matches, the stats suggest that he may well have, and with hindsight the Montserrat striker’s decision to protect his own earnings now appears more selfish than ever.
Charlton’s relegation will likely see his former team-mates, coaches and other staff at the club have reductions to their salaries, and in some cases they may even be laid off.
Some defended Taylor’s decision, saying a footballer’s career is a short one and he needed to secure his family’s future. But as a fellow sportsperson I just could not relate to this.
Professional hockey players have a similar shelf life to footballers, but when I was in the Great Britain squad I was only earning £14,000 a year.
Despite our international success and Olympic gold medals, all of our squad knew that come retirement we would need to find a new job to sustain a living.
None of us ever felt any embarrassment to get what we termed a ‘proper job’.
I think that was because our adulation was down to what we were achieving and not what we were earning.
Sadly, football feels different. I feel a lot of the glamour in being a footballer is in what people perceive you are earning.
This in turn has caused an expectation that footballers should have earned enough money to live the rest of their lives without a ‘proper job’.
This is ridiculous, especially for lower league footballers who aren’t paid anything close to the sums in the Premier League.
Becoming a professional footballer is the dream of many boys and girls.
To make it into even the lower leagues and make a living from it is something to be extremely proud of.
I don’t know Taylor’s motives for making the decision he did.
I just hope it wasn’t fuelled by an underlying pressure that retiring from football should mean never having to go on to another job.