One of the postscripts from yesterday’s England match has been the reaction of the FA and others to the booing of Ashley Cole. It made me think again about the whole issue of supporter reaction during matches.
I do accept that people have every right to say or do what they like (within legal limits) if they are not satisfied during a match. I also happen to think that Ashley Cole is an example of most of what is wrong in the game these days, be it his ‘autobiography‘ (why do players with several years left in their careers feel the need to write their life stories – maybe they don’t have enough money?), the way he went about leaving Arsenal to get a move to Chelsea or that fantastic display of petulance when he turned his back on referee Mike Riley after his shocking tackle against Spurs last season.
Be that as it may. He is a decent left back and probably consistently the best English player in that position since Stuart Pearce.
So he makes an error – a shocking error – but does that mean supporters should boo him? I can’t see that during the game it can do him or the team any good at all. How would any of us like it at work if we made a mistake, a big mistake, and all our clients or customers booed us? Why is football any different?
Now in our case – and I’ve got to be careful about what I say because even when I don’t say it some want to accuse me of blaming our fans – I can only believe that getting behind the team and cheering/encouraging them particularly when they are not playing well is the most crucial role that a supporter can play during a game and we all used to be so good at it. Staying quiet, criticising your own players or booing surely only benefits the opposing team.
By all means people can (and should) vent their feelings after the final whistle or subsequently on message boards and in the bar but please not during the game. After all we all want the same end result, don’t we?