Football is an extremely passionate game, filled with emotions, just ask Paul Gascoigne how much he wanted to play in a World Cup Final for England.
When it’s good, it’s great to be a supporter. Everything just clicks on the pitch and it’s clear to see the chemistry on display.
However, with player power taking full effect in modern football, it seems loyalty and devotion are two traits you would be hard-pressed to find at clubs these days.
For instance, West Ham United fans felt like they were in an East End soap opera when Dimitri Payet controversially swapped Stratford for the south of France and returned to Marseille in 2017.
And who could forget last summer when football was DEFINITELY coming home, until Mario Mandzukic broke English hearts everywhere with his extra time winner in the World Cup semi-final.
So if you’re feeling alone and bitter on Valentine’s Day, cheer yourself by having a look at some of the most brutal and public break ups in the history of football.
SIR ALEX GIVES BECKS THE BOOT (2003)
In Goldenballs’ final season at Old Trafford, flirtations with a move to sunny Spain had persisted throughout the year. Demanding Fergie was disappointed his formerly prodigious talent had transformed into a prima donna, with his application levels dropping.
The United boss took particular offence after one poor performance and kicked a boot in the dressing room towards the midfielder, striking him above the eye.
Rather than play down rumours of a rift, the England captain wore an Alice band in front of members of the paparazzi and the news was everywhere.
At this point, the father-son type relationship between the two was tarnished and Becks was shipped off to Real Madrid withCristiano Ronaldo inheriting his position and his shirt number.
BARMBY THE BLUENOSE (2000)
Watching your ex leave you for your best mate is possibly the bitterest pill to swallow. Crossing Stanley Park to swap Blue for Red is actually a bit like that.
In 2000, Nick Barmby left critics up and down the country questioning if the England international was either brave or stupid. The former Tottenham star became the first player since 1959 to leave Everton for Liverpool when he joined the Reds for £6million.
To make matters worse for the Toffees, the midfielder notched his first goal for the club against his former employees.
The picture above shows just how happy Barmby was with himself.
THE NOT-SO SPECIAL ONE (2015)
No matter how lonely you feel this month, just remember to never go back to a toxic relationship – just ask Mourinho.
The Special One promised he was more mature, more level-headed when he arrived back at the Bridge.
However, despite securing a Premier League title, the Portuguese left Chelsea on very bad terms.
In the picture above, you can see his disbelief as Hazard limps off and refuses to play against Leicester in what was the final straw for Roman Abramovich. Mourinho was sacked shortly after, and you can almost see the exact moment his heart breaks.
FICKLE FIGO (2000)
It must have been the in-thing at the turn of the Millennium to really irritate your current club by signing for their rivals.
We’ve saved this one for later purely for the sheer vitriol which was aimed at the Portugal international. Figo was one of the best in the world at this point, but shocked the world by signing for Barca’s bitter rivals Real in a world-record £37million move.
Upon his return to the Camp Nou, Figo experienced banners, burning effigies, and was even hit with a stray pig head while attempting to take a corner.
WELCOME TO MANCHESTER (2009)
What is it with footballers leaving for rival clubs, have they no heart?
Carlos Tevez arrived in England somewhat controversially in 2006 with West Ham.
His undoubted talent earned him a move to Premier League champions Manchester United at the end of the season, yet controversy remained. Issues about ownership persisted and Tevez only signed on a loan deal for the Red Devils.
City, in an attempt to establish themselves and annoy United in equal measure, signed Tevez permanently in 2009 and put THAT advertising board up in Manchester city centre.
LEICESTER CITY BREAK RECORDS, THEN HEARTS (2016)
Former Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri rocked up at the King Power Stadium and failed to allay any fears the Foxes could beat the drop, having only just survived the previous season.
To win the Premier League title was not even a vague possibility, but against all odds Ranieri did it. The 5,000-1 dream was achieved and Ranieri was a hero.
Fast-forward six months and the Italian had been sacked after rumours the players did not want to play for him and the dream was over. A sorry end to one of football’s greatest fairytales.
We’re not crying, you are.
RIO THE RED (2002)
Rio Ferdinand was the golden boy of English football after breaking onto the scene as a youngster with West Ham. He made a big money move to Leeds United in 2000 to become the most expensive Englishman ever.
However, when he broke the record again the move was met with much more controversy. Moving from Yorkshire to Lancashire was always likely to incite hatred, especially given the success of Eric Cantona wearing red as opposed to white.
When Ferdinand returned to Elland Road, the supporters who so passionately adored their former boy wonder turned on the England international with furious anger. He never let it bother him however, and did fairly well at Old Trafford in the end.
MOUR MONEY, MOUR PROBLEMS (2018)
When Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United to play under Jose Mourinho in 2016, the entire footballing world sat up and took notice. After speaking to team-mates about Mourinho, the France international was sold saying: “He gave me energy, he gave me positivity. They all told me he’s the coach for me – he will make me improve a lot and make me work harder.”
But a series of public and private spats saw the relationship deteriorate and, as Mourinho’s fateful spell as United boss came to an end, the Portuguese delivered his final withering verdict on the man he spent £89million on.
“You don’t play,” Mourinho is alleged to have told Pogba. “You don’t respect players and supporters. And you kill the mentality of the good honest people around you. You are like a person with a flu, with a virus in a closed room – you pass that virus to the others.”
DIE-GO COSTA LEAVES CHELSEA (2018)
Costa arrived at Chelsea and was an instant success. His snarling, bullying style of play may have earned him few admirers; but he endeared himself to Blues fans straight away.
After winning the Premier League in his first season, Costa dipped off in his second season. However, a return to form in 2017 saw the title head back to west London.
But all was not well as Costa angrily demanded an Atletico Madrid homecoming.
Costa has had a mixed time under former boss Diego Simeone once again, while Chelsea fans are still searching for Alvaro Morata’s receipt.
SOL SELLS HIS SOUL (2001)
A home-grown hero for Tottenham, the dominating centre-half was adored at White Hart Lane, a shining light in hard times.
His imperious defensive displays saw many of Europe’s finest fluttering their eyelids towards him but he insisted he would remain and sign on the dotted line. But he didn’t.
And while AC Milan and Manchester United (among many others) courted him, it was Spurs’ fierce rivals Arsenal where he moved to on a free transfer. It was a betrayal of the worst kind and will never be forgotten in north London.