In Channel Five‘s footy programme on Saturday the presenters made mention of the numbers leaving the SOL with half-an hour to go. People have always left early but when we stood in the Fulwell End all those years ago, with crowds of 50,000 plus, it was never so often, so many and so early. Which begs a couple of questions:
Do you stay to the end or leave early?
Do you applaud the team off the pitch irrespective of the score, or do you boo a loss (irrespective of how well they played)?
Wrinkly Pete has some food for thought for those that do the latter:
To plagiarise John Lennon’s 1969 Give peace a chance song shows how low I will go to stop the mindless booing that has become a feature of our so-called “support”. I understand people’s frustration but booing is simply counter- productive.
Take the last home game against Ipswich as an example. We conceded a soft goal due to woeful defending from Billy Jones. Just as it looked as though we might make half time only one goal adrift, Matthews scored an own goal. This prompted booing from our disgruntled support which continued as the teams left, almost immediately, for half time. This meant, by interpretation, that the whole team was deserving of booing when in fact we had been let down by two individual errors.
The impact this had on Camp, Ejaria and Fletcher, making their debuts, can only be imagined but it surely will not have been positive. The fact that we, and particularly Ejaria and Fletcher, had started the game so well was completely overlooked by those that booed. In our second half showing, partly due to the man marking of Ejaria, we failed to raise our game, except for a flurry towards the end which was too late. Of course (?) at the final whistle the booing returned, much louder. It could be claimed that booing then would not have a negative effect as the departing players were not having to quickly return to the fray.
I would argue differently, of course(?).
- I would argue that all of the players gave of their best and put maximum effort into their game and thus deserved to be applauded from the pitch, both at half and full time.
- I would argue that the extremely poor reception given to the debutees flies in the face of the character of Sunderland folk. These people, my ancestors, are the warmest and most welcoming and the footballing ones amongst them are the most passionate of all.
- I would argue, with the wisdom of an old man, that you would be far more likely to see the best of someone’s ability by encouragement rather than criticism.
- I would further argue, against those that say I have paid my money and am entitled to boo, that they do not have the right to spoil another person’s enjoyment of the game, which they will do by negatively influencing our players’ performances and probably the result.
Now, the way forward:
We are in trouble, both on and off the pitch. The owner (and it is his club at present, we are “only” the long term custodians) has indicated he is no longer prepared to put money in whilst trying to get us self-sufficient – a must in order to avoid the club going into administration, with all that entails. Consequently, the January transfer window brought in limited reinforcements. However, those five (Camp, Clarke-Salter, Ejaria, Fletcher and LuaLua) that came to us filled precisely the positions that Chris Coleman had identified as being in need of strengthening. Indeed, if you look at the arrivals, they compose the much vaunted “spine” of a team, whatever format you play. Furthermore, they want to be here. They knew our position and chose to play for us, proud to wear the shirt, for the remainder of the season.
The question now is:
Give these a chance?
The original source for the music graphics was http://www.musicgraphicsgalore.net. The Ejairia picture is by kind permission of SAFC. Wrinkly Pete and home page graphics by Jake
and this was found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkZC7sqImaM: