Dear James Tarkowski. An open letter.
Sadly last night you were not “dear” to the 10,000 fans who having worked to earn the money to watch a football game that you were supposed to be playing in. You clearly felt it right to “go on strike” or refuse to play in the game. Why would that be? It seems that you are not brave nor maybe stupid enough to reply on twitter to the stream of invective and vitriol that I have been reading all evening from Brentford fans. So I have to surmise what the issue might be.
Brentford played Burnley and we assume you and your agent have had contact with Burnley who have made an inadequate offer for you. Brentford who have trained you and improved you over the last two years quite reasonably need payback for that. After all who else will pay the coaching and fitness staff whose services you have used freely to improve. And while on the topic of pay, maybe I should remind you of the games you have missed through red cards and suspensions, and of course those when you were injured. The club supported you through all this. You indeed have been a good player. Not a world beater. You will never for example be an international player like some of your team colleagues. I assume also that you have an issue with Brentford rejecting the bid as it would lead no doubt to higher wages. Brentford have stated, or the media has at least, that a bid of 4-5 million £ would buy your services. Presumably Burnley will pay that if they agree with the valuation. So, back to the game tonight versus Burnley. Why would you say you were not wanting to play? I can again only guess that you did not feel comfortable opposing the team you hope or imagine or know will sign you. Or worse, did not want to be part of a team that would beat Burnley? This is not how football or life works. You are under contract, legally to Brentford and presumably have been paid in accord with that contract? So you might not want to play, but in short you have to. You owed that to the fans and the club. But you declined this kind offer of team selection. So in short your loyalty is with the potential new club Burnley, who may not be blameless in all this by unsettling you and offering ridiculous low transfer bids, but your real loyalty is to yourself and your selfish desire to secure more money, without a thought for the fans, coaches and others who got you as far as this. In short you have let down everyone who has helped and supported you in your career.
A quick look at twitter reveals extensive vitriol towards you not only from fans but from those who know football from your side, players like Marcus Gayle, and journalists. You really have chosen to upset a lot of people. Football supporters who even have no connections with Brentford.
So if You were watching the game on TV tonight you would have seen a Brentford team clearly unsettled by your selfish, arrogant and stupid behaviour lose an important game. You would also have heard 10,000 Bees fans chanting and singing your name, followed by expletives. You will go down in football history as one of the bad guys, who decided that they were more important than the game, the fans, the clubs and the very fabric of football. You will certainly be remembered in years to come but not for your football prowess. Any club who signs you in years to come will take all this into account as will your fellow footballers. How do you feel about letting down not only the club and fans, but also your fellow professionals. I think it is fair to say you have shown all of them a total lack of respect. I do look forward to hearing your side of the story.