Saturday, March 10, 2012

The toxic supporters

If you ever wondered how idiotic some of the supporters of the club you love are, I’ll advise you to pay a visit to the Facebook and Twitter pages of pretty much any Football club to see the nonsense that is being written following any defeat. Going onto these pages must be one of the most infuriating things for a normal modern day Football supporter - because these “supporters” are seen in the same light as every single one of us and are used as an example to generalize the voice of the many clubs' supporters. Their voices are quickly becoming the majority and their foolish comments are in our faces and being spread like a wildfire. We cannot avoid them.

When Arsenal were beaten 4-0 at the San Siro by a far more experienced and superior AC Milan, the immediate reaction by some Arsenal supporters was “Wenger out”…again. 2 weeks and a couple of good results later, the “Wenger knows” brigade were back in full voice. Similarly this week when Manchester United were beaten at Old Trafford by a hungry and determined Atletic Club side - some supporters actually started calling for Sir Alex Ferguson’s head on these pages. That’s Sir Alex Ferguson. The same man who’s given Manchester United everything over the past 25 years! Simply because of a defeat to a team that actually played better on the night (the same thing happens following every defeat by the way). At Chelsea, Andre Villas Boas was recently sacked and lost the support of his players and his supporters due to some poor results in the first 2/3 of his first season (7 months into the job). The supporters sang “you’re getting sacked in the morning” following their 1-0 defeat to WBA last week and they were right. These supporters got their wish but should be wise enough to know that despite the immediate injection of cash into their club, building a successful Football side on the long run takes time. A lot of time. I'm not singling out any particular club, but rather giving out examples because these "supporters" seem to be present everywhere.

For instance, take a club like Barcelona; if you think that their recent success over the past few years has simply been down to the presence of a few glorious players, think again. They’ve been building that side from the bottom upwards for the past 10 years or so. It’s been a process, a very long one. Even Sir Alex Ferguson needed time at Manchester United to succeed. It took him 5 years to win his first trophy at the club and during that time he had been preparing a youth side for years before they finally broke through and won everything in sight. Why don't Football supporters understand this?

Football has changed” might be true in many ways, but it shouldn’t be used as a justification for the mindless reactions by supporters following defeats because the game itself hasn’t changed much. At the end of the day, it’s still 90 minutes and it’s still 22 men on a Football pitch facing one another. On any given day, any team can win or lose. The financial factor is what has really changed and is having a huge influence on the game. Lose on the pitch and risk some financial and commercial troubles off the pitch in an era that has vibes screaming the words “results now or else”.

So this raises a few questions. Why do supporters of clubs, especially the bigger clubs, react this way? Why do they believe that their teams have a divine right to victory? Why can’t supporters accept defeat, especially when it’s in a manner which simply shows that their team were correctly beaten? Why does there always have to be a scapegoat and a call for a managerial change, believing it will make a difference? Why do they turn on their own?

One word comes to mind with such supporters: expectations. The money involved in the game at certain big clubs means that an increased level of hope of success has been created. What supporters these days expect from their teams is a joke. A victory and all of a sudden your club are the best thing since sliced bread; a loss, or a few losses, and it’s the end of the world and the manager has to be sacked! "It's a crisis!",  "Kick him out!", "Demanded by the true supporters!"... Get a bloody grip! There are some Football clubs that are going into “administration” in England and other parts of the world, yet these "supporters" have the balls to say their teams are in a crisis? I even know a few Barcelona supporters who have been saying that they’re not happy with their side’s performances this season. That’s the same Barcelona who smash teams 5-0 and have the best player in the world in their ranks. It is ridiculous. The expectancy level on teams and players to perform fantastically every week is huge.

Some perspective is desperately needed by certain Football supporters. No team has a divine right to victory. There are 3 or 4 competitions to play for every season and there are 20 teams (often more) competing for them. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. That’s what the game is about. We’re allowed to get angry and to feel disappointed when our teams lose because of our emotional attachment to the clubs. Constructive criticism is normal, reactionary criticism isn't. Pointing fingers and calling for the head of the very essence of what has brought so much glory to the team you support is a bit pitiful. I have a name for these sort of supporters: The toxic supporters. They should have no place in Football in my opinion, but sadly they're everywhere. Show your anger, show your joy - but most importantly, show your bloody support, because that's what's going to make the difference at the end.


  1. Nice post....makes me think about how much crazier the problem gets when the owners themselves are 'toxic' Mr. Abramovitch.....

  2. Men go to far greater lengths to avoid what they fear than to obtain what they desire