“I don’t care about the PR of the club or the club situation. I don’t care. He is definitely not signing. He’s not signing for 700, 800, or 900 thousand a week. He is not signing,” Aidy Ward, Raheem Sterling’s agent, told the London Evening Standard in May 2015.
The 20-year old winger still had two years left to run on his contract but he had already informed the club that he had no intention of signing an extension. Initially, Liverpool were unmoved though, as he was on relatively low wages and the club stressed they had no intention of selling him to one of their circling rivals.
The impasse came in the wake of a difficult season for Sterling and the club as the previous heights they had scaled just a year earlier with their title challenge had become a distant memory. Luis Suarez was gone and Sterling often found himself in the unusual position of right-wing back.
However, Liverpool legends weren’t impressed with the England international’s push for a move. They regularly attacked Sterling and his agent and accused them of trying to hold the club to ransom.
“Keep your mouth shut and get on with playing football” Jamie Carragher said when Sterling conducted a one-on-one interview with the BBC without the club’s prior knowledge.
Ward then went on an extraordinary attack in defence of his client. “Carragher is a k**b. Everybody knows it,” he said. “Any of the criticism from current pundits or ex-Liverpool players – none of them things matter to me.”
Sterling would eventually get his move to Manchester City after a protracted transfer saga ended with a huge fee being agreed between the clubs and plenty of bad blood left to spare.
When Nick Barmby made the short trip across Stanley Park to join Liverpool from neighbours Everton, it was the first time such a transfer had occurred since Dave Hickson left the Toffees in 1959.
The move came out of nowhere after Everton’s then record signing turned down the offer of a new five-year contract, which would have made him the highest paid player in the club’s history, in favour of moving to their cross town rivals.
“The player has indicated to me that the club he would like to move to would be Liverpool,” Everton’s shocked manager, Walter Smith, said at the time. “We have placed Nick on the transfer list with immediate effect due to the fact that he wishes to join them.”
The news was met with predictable outrage from Blues fans, as Barmby quickly went from hero to public enemy number one.
“The fans will never forgive him for this,” Everton Shareholders’ Association spokesman Tony Tighe said.
“His career was in the doldrums for three years after he came here but we stood by him. Now he has kicked us in the teeth by saying he wants to move across the park. That will hurt the supporters deeply and he’ll never be welcome at Everton again.”
Barmby got his move to his boyhood favourites and was involved in Liverpool’s treble season in 2000/2001. However, that was as good as it got for the English international as he was sold just a year later.
Frank Lampard left West Ham in the summer of 2001, where he linked up with their hated London rivals Chelsea. In doing so, he also became then-manager Claudio Ranieri’s first English signing.
Lampard’s departure came in the face of his father, Frank Senior; a legend of the club, being sacked as assistant manager just months earlier along with his manager; and uncle, Harry Redknapp.
“A lot has happened at West Ham but I’ll always be grateful to them,” the midfielder said upon his unveiling. However, he was slightly less diplomatic in 2006 when he released his autobiography “Totally Frank”.
“I remember when Joe Cole first came to Chelsea he would turn away in disappointment if West Ham lost. I would smile. That’s how deeply I felt. I wanted them to lose,” he wrote.
The feeling was very much mutual as the young International had always had a somewhat frosty relationship with the Hammers fans, even when he was playing for them. Again in his book, he detailed a time when as a teenager his own fans allegedly mocked and jeered him after he broke his leg in a match against Aston Villa.
The animosity between club and player continued throughout his career, reaching another boiling point when he scored his 200th goal for Chelsea and celebrated in front of the travelling West Ham fans. They hurled abuse at him along with various other objects such as coins and even hotdogs.
Lampard finally left Stamford Bridge 13 years after joining them in 2014. In that time he had made 648 appearances for the club, became their highest goal scorer with 211, and won 11 major trophies.
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