As we know all to well, football can be a frustrating game- especially for the loyal supporters out there that stick with their side through not just the highs, but the lows too. Whether your team has just been relegated, knocked out of the cup or they’ve conceded in the 90th minute to local rivals, the frustration can sometimes boil over and make you question the players and manager that spearhead the club you love, so why is this largely frowned upon by other supporters that have perhaps a more positive outlook and consider themselves the “better” fans?
Lets take the troubled Hull City as an example. After the highs of last seasons promotion, they subsequently went on to lose not only their manager prior to the opening game of their Premier League campaign, but one of their finest assets on the pitch in the form of, Mo Diame. Life isn’t going too well for the Tigers currently and the Yorkshire based club find themselves languishing in 18th spot, not where they or their fans will want be come May. So do the paying fans have a right to be angry or upset? Of course they do, afterall they are the “paying” supporters and have every reason to voice their grievances if they aren’t satisfied with what they are being treated to.
Interestingly, the current Ipswich Town manager, Mick McCarthy, received praise last season for being extremely open and honest when it came to the handling of his clubs “boo boys”. After the Blues drew a blank at home to Huddersfield and then dreadfully fell behind late in the game, the home fans began cheering ironically at any attempt at goal Ipswich conjured up, along with wild boos and a chorus of the old classic, “what a load of rubbish” at full time. These were McCarthy’s words afterwards;
“I’m not surprised. It happens. We’ve not played as well as we could, or as we’d like. I think the crowd are getting frustrated and they’re venting their frustrations. I fully understand that.
There’s not a great deal we can do about it really because I’m doing my job, obviously to the best of my ability at the moment, but if it’s not as good as the crowd think it should be, and if it’s unacceptable to them, I’ve no complaint about that because they’ve all paid their money and they’re not seeing what they want to see.”
Refreshing words from McCarthy and not what you’d expect to hear from a manager under mounting pressure, but interestingly not all professionals take the criticism so lightly. David Meyler insisted on disgruntled fans remaining faithful after Hull City’s recent loss at Watford and stated that he trusted the players and his manager. With that being said however, it’s understandably difficult for a fan to remain positive when they’re not the ones being paid handsomely week in, week out, like most Premier League players today. Ultimately, it’s easy for a player like Meyler, who is employed by Hull City, to sit back after a defeat and avoid being negative, unlike the fans, who are loyal supporters that put their own time and effort into following their team, rather than employees of the football club.
Tweets and comments like David Meyler’s aren’t rare either. Most players that are active on social media will post after games regardless of winning, losing or drawing- the strange thing is, they all seem to follow a certain lifeless pattern, encouraging fans to remain behind the team rather than question their performances, regardless of how bad they are. An example comes in the form of Victor Anichebe who recently signed for Premier League strugglers, Sunderland. With that being said, it seems Anichebe was getting assistance from the Sunderland media team in regards to his Tweets, as the Nigerian was caught out just a few weeks ago for posting something he shouldn’t have.
It’s fairly evident that clubs nowadays want to keep their fans sweet by controlling their own players when it comes to interacting on Twitter and other social media platforms. In reality however, fans shouldn’t be as fickle to believe what they read online as gospel. In truth, anybody that follows a Premier League footballer on Twitter will probably wonder why they even bother to at all. There’s rarely anything other than the promotion of sponsored products or similar things to the much publicised Victor Anichebe Tweet to keep fans on the same page.
All in all, it’s difficult as a passionate fan to remain level headed when your club is in dire need of change or a wake up call. Afterall, we as fans aren’t the ones that are guaranteed an x amount of money on a weekly basis for supporting the club we love, unlike the players that regardless of whether they perform or not, are.