Michael Owen has compared playing for Manchester United over Liverpool to working at Sainsbury’s instead of Tesco.
The release of his recent autobiography has opened up a few of those old wounds with the former England striker copping more criticism.
But Owen says supporters need to appreciate footballers moving clubs is simply akin to those in the stands switching from job to job.
He told Goal: “Football is a job. A very special job and a privileged job, but it is still a job for the players and the managers involved in it.
“Obviously, fans who have a real passion for their club don’t see it in that light and that’s where the problems can start, especially in an age when social media gives people access to reach you.
“Fans never change their colours and we all understand that. It is their life, it is their passion, but they will change jobs from time to time in their careers and they don’t see that as betraying their former employer.
“These people who criticise you probably make similar moves in their careers. They might move from Barclays Bank to Lloyds Bank or from Sainsbury’s to Tesco’s and they are not accused of being disloyal.
“If a footballer moves from their club, these same people have a very different view. They accuse the player of lacking loyalty, of being a mercenary…. and yet the reality is, this is someone moving from one job to another, often with the aim of bettering themselves professionally and to look after their family.
“If you get a promotion in most jobs, you will get a pat on the back and people will congratulate you, but you are often all those unpleasant words I just mentioned if you leave one football club and join another. It’s madness, but it will always be the case.”