Loyalty and passion, are always used to describe Football but since the commercialisation of the game, many have complained about the lack of it in players. But, an incident took place in recent years which made me restore faith in the fact that loyalty still exists in Football. It was the Bundesliga season of 2017-18 and FC Köln were on the verge of getting relegated, even after having players like Timo Horn and Jonas Hector. Everyone was certain about them leaving the club if Köln gets relegated, but the recently crowned World Cup champion and the captain of the side, Jonas Hector came up with a decision that shocked the whole footballing community in Germany. He decided to stay and show his loyalty to the club, even though getting offers from great German teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and even European giants like Juventus. It just meant so much to everyone related to the club, to still have a player of such quality in their ranks. Soon after that, 24-year-old Timo Horn followed and decided to stay at Köln and in that process rejecting offers from teams like Dortmund and other Bundesliga teams, who were highly linked to him.
The day finally arrived, when they were relegated. After enjoying four straight years in the top flight they went down, and everyone was aware of the financial loss of the club. Some players did leave the club, making it more helpless and leaving the whole Köln footballing community in shock. The only ray of hope for them to come back stronger was, knowing that they will still be having services of two quality players in their ranks. Köln started the 2018-19 in the second division, but did face a few problems with shortage of players in the midfield. Everyone was really uncertain about the future of the club and had doubted them with questions like, “will the club survive?” “Will this club ever reach the highs it did in the past few years?” But the biggest of them all was “was Hector and Horn’s decision a big mistake?”
New Talent and Old Saviour
Someone had to do something to resolve these problems and then, their captain Jonas Hector stepped up and took the responsibility of playing in the midfield even though, preferably playing as a left back his whole career. Even in all the chaos, Köln kept their spirits up and were fully determined to make it a successful campaign and boy they did it so well. They found talents like Simon Terodde, who went on to become the top scorer for them in that campaign.
Only Way Is Up
Köln that year put on a great show and managed to earn promotion, by becoming the champions of 2. Bundesliga. They were just so good in all departments of the game and outplayed everyone in their league, even after having a troublesome start to the season. Jonas Hector and Timo Horn showed great character by sticking with their team, even in the hardest of times which might had just become one of the biggest motivation for the rest of the team to succeed.
This season, seeing Köln back in the Bundesliga feels great and very inspiring. They are sitting well in the 10th position after match-day 26 and against all the odds, now look well safe from relegation. Timo Horn and Jonas Hector have earned legendary status in the club, after their decisions and are now enjoying playing yet again in the Bundesliga with Köln. This just shows that the love and passion for their club is still alive in many players and it always will be, because this is what the beautiful game is all about.