Players Who Said “I’ll Never Leave” Before Leaving!

This article was first published on August 10th 2015

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A couple of weeks ago saw the transfer of Fabian Delph from Aston Villa to Manchester City, merely days after the player released a statement on Villa’s club website announcing he was going nowhere, and a deal to City was out of the question. The statement came amidst much speculation that the England star was about to pack his bags, and was designed to reassure the Villa faithful that their captain was fully intent on leading ‘this great club’ to glory the coming season.

Naturally, fans felt betrayed. Not for leaving to go to a better team, on a higher salary – but for the way he left their club. Fans can understand that footballers have families to look after, which was Delph’s cited reason for his U-turn, but aren’t as understanding when the player pledges their future to the team, only to soon after turn their back on them!

Here are a few other players that caused a storm of controversy after telling fans they wouldn’t leave, before jumping ship!

Wayne Rooney – Everton to Manchester United

Manchester United’s captain grew up in Croxteth, Liverpool, as an Everton fan through and through. He wore the blue jersey before he even signed for the club, and was playing with their under 19s by the time he was just 15.


Sure, Wayne. Sure…

Wayne Rooney makes this list for foolishly revealing a t-shirt reading “Once a Blue Always a Blue” in celebration after scoring a goal for his boyhood club. Before long, he was the subject of one of the biggest transfers for a teenager ever, signing for Manchester United for £25.6 million at the age of 18.

Sol Campbell – Tottenham to Arsenal

Sol Campbell was the rock at the heart of the Spurs defence for many years. He was on course to become a club legend, having already made his way from academy to captaincy. He committed his future and pledged his allegiance to the Tottenham cause on many occasions with the eyes of the world watching him. Here he is telling a reporter on live television that he would be staying at the club:

After a tense standoff between Campbell and Tottenham, the player never signed a new deal at the club, and hopped on his bike to their closest rival – Arsenal!

Campbell is even quoted as going as far as saying: “Results in these fixtures can affect some supporters’ seasons. I think it would upset all the Spurs fans if I went to Arsenal, not that I am going to.”

Mo Johnston – Celtic to Rangers

Johnston didn’t move directly across the Old Firm divide, but played for years for Celtic before heading to Nantes. After a couple of years in France, it was time for Johnston to head back to the Hoops, and a press conference was set up in which he declared his love for the green and whites.

Mo Johnston of Rangers celebrates victory after the Premier league match against Dundee

Mo Johnston celebrates success with Rangers. Photo: Russell Cheyne/Getty Images

Celtic even sold Frank McAvennie, the striker that was supposed to be replaced by Johnston. Instead, days later, Mo was a Rangers player, after they offered him a fatter contract!

Fernando Torres – Liverpool to Chelsea

Fernando Torres’s words in the summer of 2010 were designed to reassure all Liverpool fans that he was going nowhere. A new contract was signed and the Spanish striker said:

“I’m really really happy to be back and stay with my team-mates. Of course my commitment and loyalty to the club and the fans is the same since the first day I signed here. I’m looking forward to the challenge of the next year.” 

Chelsea Press Conference to announce new signing Fernando Torres

Torres unveiled as a Chelsea player. Photo: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Fast forward to January 2011 and the Atletico man hands in a transfer request at Anfield after a £40 million bid by Chelsea is rejected! Before the closing of that window, Torres would become a Chelsea player, for a reported fee of around £50 million.

Manuel Neuer – Schalke to Bayern

The world’s best goalkeeper arrived at Bayern Munich under a heavy cloud of controversy, after giving his word to fans that he loves Schalke and wouldn’t be leaving. Schalke and Bayern share a heated rivalry too, one which led to a very cold welcome to Bayern from the Munich faithful for the goalkeeper. His new fans went as far as making him sign conduct agreements, which said he wasn’t allowed to kiss the crest amongst other things!

Bayern Muenchen v Olympique de Marseille - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final

Neuer hasn’t always had it easy in Munich. Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images

“I love Schalke. I have always given everything for this club. This club is a piece of home for me and will remain so for sure,” – these were the words of the to-be Bayern Munich marquee signing of the summer of 2011. After numerous league titles and even a treble in 2012/13, we think Bayern fans have forgiven him for his Schalke past.

Mario Gotze – Dortmund to Bayern

Another highly rated German star heading from one Bundesliga club to the giants Bayern Munich. Mario Gotze was the jewel in the crown of Jurgen Klopp’s exhilarating Dortmund team that made it to the Champions League Final in 2012/13. The 20-year-old added a new dimension of attacking talent that saw Dortmund take Europe by total surprise.

UEFA Super Cup Previews

Mario Gotze still has a lot to prove in the Bayern shirt. Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Gotze was with Dortmund from age eight to age 21, and at the time Dortmund were building an exciting young team. “Everyone knows how happy I am here and I want to be part of this project,” he said, quoted when signing a new deal only a year before leaving the club!

Franco Di Santo – Werder Bremen to Schalke

Franco Di Santo, who had one of the most forgettable Premier League careers ever between Chelsea, Blackburn, and Wigan, has finally found his feet in professional football in Germany. The Italian enjoyed two relatively successful years at Werder Bremen, and was starting to become something of a fan favourite when he played in a pre-season game with fans a couple of weeks ago, telling them how much he loves it at the club and that he was going nowhere.


Franco Di Santo (R) is making waves in the Bundesliga! Photo: Johannes Simon/Getty Images

Fast forward two days, and he was announced as a Schalke player, much to the annoyance of Bremen fans. “It was agreed that he would let us know early on if he would like to stay or not,” Werder Bremen manager Thomas Eichin said. “Now everything has happened very, very quickly and I am anything but impressed with this behaviour.”


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