In what world is it ever OK to boo your own team?
On the half time whistle when you are losing 3-0 to a local rival? When you haven’t spent money in the summer and get hammered in you opening home fixture?
When a player asks for a transfer? (Yes, this is actually fine).
When Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini began his warm up during the home victory against Spurs, there were a large number of his own fans who voiced their disapproval – and it was a highly embarrassing moment for the club.
Whilst Fellaini might not be the most stylish of footballers; often awkward and clumsy; as seen in his five minute cameo at Everton last week, he is certainly not deserving of a chorus of boos before he has even walked onto the pitch.
Booing has always been rife in the ‘beautiful’ game, and fans are entitled to give an opinion – but there has to be some level of intelligence behind it.
Fans notoriously boo the referee to let him know if he’s made a howler. They also tend to boo any former players on their return to the club, or opposition players who go in hard on one of their own.
This is all part and parcel of football, as players expect a rough ride from opposition supporters. Yet there is something undeniably strange about your own supporters giving you stick.
After the game, United boss, Mourinho, was extremely diplomatic when asked by a reporter who he thought about the United faithful turning on the Belgian midfielder.
Jose, who often has a way with words, opened by complimenting his supporters and praising them for how good they’ve been so far this season. He avoided any temptation to criticise them for expressing their opinion.
A smart move as one wrong word could have made him the target next week.
However he also went on to acknowledge Fellaini’s error at Everton, confirming it as he who cost United two valuable points; but drew a line under the matter by dedicating the Spurs victory to a player he likes, and refers to as “important”.
Drawing on personal experience of being in the Stretford end for a low-key 2-1 Premier League win over Wolves in November 2010, when Ji Sung Park scored a late winner; there was a similar situation that day involving the infamous Bebe.
Coming on as an early substitute, he was booed by some; who then proceeded to get on his back after a couple of poor crosses – only to cheer with joy when he was then replaced.
I felt appalled by the minority that day, and yesterday was no different.
Wearing green and gold to protest against terrible owners I can agree with (who wouldn’t?)
Getting on the case of the opposition or referee is more than acceptable – it’s a given. Give them hell; put them off – do anything to give your own team an advantage.
Yet jumping on the back of one of your own players , based on giving away a late penalty the previous week is a shambles.
Fellaini might not fit the tidy, ball-playing criteria that most fans expect to see in a midfielder, but he is still a United player who has a job to do. What’s the point in making that job harder for him?
As most people say; support the team.