Wolves: What will booing your team actually achieve?
There are certain sights in football that never cease to rile me. One is the awful ‘we don’t like to see that' cliché, as expressed in a former article, and another is one which we can all agree on – broken legs or serious injuries of any description are always joy killers.
But there was one sight in football which I believe should never, ever happen. That, of course, was the incredible chorus of boos which rang around the Wolves stands on Saturday; one chorus was heard when Swansea nabbed a goal to go ahead and the other was seemingly in repulsion to Mick McCarthy’s substitutions (which, ironically, helped to retrieve a result for his side).
It’s perhaps an obvious question to ask, but an important one. At what point do fans stop becoming fanatic? What is the turning point for when fans take it upon themselves to decide enough is enough and boo a team they should be supporting? And how can it ever be justified?
After the jeering by Wolves fans at the weekend, it got me thinking – why do fans boo? By all means, grumble and moan to your mates in the pub, but the field should be a place of commitment to your team and commitment to your players. Do booing fans see players like a factory tool which should always work no matter what? Is that how disconnected we are from footballers; that their million-bucks lifestyle renders them unable to make mistakes, and if they do, they are committing such a crime which allows ‘fans’ to scream abuse at them?
To elaborate, there seems to be this incredibly absurd attitude when taking into account Premier League footballers' performances. Sometimes, you’ll hear fans say something along the lines of, ‘they are paid millions’, which somehow alleviates the responsibility the supporters have for their actions.
That, obviously, is silly. As any avid follower of English football will tell you, Wolves are a dogged side. They fight for every result – to survive in the league you have to. Footballers will never be able to justify their huge salaries by kicking around a football on a patch of grass, but why, when I scanned the forums for Wolves fans reactions to the booing, were there comments such as ‘it’s ridiculous, they get paid so much and produce terrible results’. What relevance does that have? Is that the answer to any poor performance – they can buy 50 grand watches so any unsatisfactory result MUST be due to their lavish lifestyle. It’s tedious stuff.
Football is such a fickle game – what do those fans think when after a succession of poor results the next week they go on an unbeaten five-game streak? I’m not saying this will happen, but what if? Do they eat their words? Do they rekindle their connection with the players they criticised? Do they realise that in football there is an unequal swing for most clubs, in that mostly football is cruel and unkind? You will be relegated; you will lose cup finals. That is football, that’s the name of the game.
The game is often spoken of in tribal terms. What makes it so unique is the special connection the fans have with the club and with their manager, the staff, the players and the ground. When going through a bad patch, therefore, it is what should keep a troubled club afloat. It’s that riveting sense of being against the world, when the chips are down and the trousers ripped there will be the fans guiding the club through the brightest mornings or the darkest days.
The fans have the club, and the club have the fans, and to jeapordise that should be outlawed. For many of us it is football that keeps us going through a week’s work, through a tense meeting with the in-laws. Knowing that you’ll always be able to go somewhere at the weekend that which will always evoke joyous or bitter feelings, but entertainment nonetheless. Why ruin that by jeering? To the minority who boo - what is there to be gained by criticising your own men? If you are doing a job and your manager started screaming abuse at you because, I don’t know, you’re filing something wrong, it would only serve to make you that little bit more conscious of your failings.
I will probably be told that fans pay large amounts of money to see their team play so they can say what they want. But isn’t that all the more reason to support a team which, heaven forbid, may just benefit from a little commitment and unity? That’s the crux of my argument: you pay to support. Not to lambast.
Sometimes, when considering the horrible tirades of criticism ones exhibited by (thankfully) a minority on Saturday, the darker side of football rears its ugly head. And it’s not bloody nice at all.
Article by Jack Heaney
Calling all football fans. Do you agree with Jack? Should football fans support their teams through thick and thin and keep their boos to themselves? Are you a fan who boos your team? Why? Do you think sometimes players and managers need to know how the fans are feeling? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.