One disapproving postscript to the satisfying result against Birmingham City, and it’s aimed at the hard of thinking fans who decided the best response to Daryl Murphy coming on as a late substitute was to boo him.
What is it about a small number of supporters, and Emmanuel Eboué and Emmanuel Adebayor would confirm the habit is not restricted to Sunderland, that makes them want to jeer a member of their own team? What do they honestly believe is likely to be the effect on his performance and therefore, possibly, the result?
Last night, the game was pretty much beyond doubt when Murphy was sent on for the final 10 minutes. Even so, it seems indefensible to me that a man wearing our red and white stripes should be a target for boo boys (and maybe boo girls) also wearing red and white.
Murphy, pictured below by Peadar O’Sullivan, has done very little for the club of late and does not convince many fans that he is good enough for the Premier League.
Yet only a couple of years ago – in the Premier – he scored one goal (Wigan at home) that was was arguably our best of the season and another, against Boro, that ensured our survival. He is not a footballer without ability, however disappointing his subsequent form has been, and would probably have done a good job for Roy Keane had the Ipswich deal gone through.
Similar considerations apply to Paul McShane, who was booed by a few oafs even before he’d kicked the ball on returnign from a loan spell at Hull. And I remember one Sunderland fan, in the away end at Charlton some years ago, saying how pleased he was to have arrived after a goal by Kevin Kilbane because he couldn’t have faced having to cheer him.
We pay good money for our season tickets, club merchandise and matchday travel and are entitled to hold and express strong views about how the club is run and how the team performs.
Most fans, not necessarily the loudest fans, can see that barracking one of their own players is a little like scoring a deliberate own goal. This is what Claire, a subscriber to the Blackcats list, said about last night: ”
I did give Murphy a lot of encouragement as he came on for the last ten minutes, just to fight back at those who were booing him. Aaaaargh! I know he’s not exactly brilliant, or even good or anything, but there’s no point booing a player as he comes on the pitch!!!!!!!!! Anyway, I thought he did ok.
If Claire’s counter-offensive made even one idiot reconsider his reaction to Murphy’s appearance, Sunderland fans generally should be grateful to her.