Football fans, able to dish it out but unable to take it

Football fans are fickle.  Of course I don’t mean every single one of them, but a large portion of fans who support any club are fickle beyond belief sometimes.  It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and apologies to the literally dozens of fans who enjoy what I write, so to celebrate a return to erm… devastating the obvious I figured what better subject to talk about.  Arsenal and Manchester City fans in particular will know what I mean.

For those who don’t, here’s a video illustrating what I’m on about:

Adebayor scored a lot of goals for Arsenal, yet was rarely a fan favourite

Adebayor scored a lot of goals for Arsenal, yet was rarely a fan favourite

A bit of back story for you now, that was Manchester City player Emanuel Adebayor you saw scoring there who used to play for the football team he scored that goal against, Arsenal.  He was sold recently for £25 million and made no secret of the fact that he felt he was treated badly by the Arsenal fans for several reasons, and when he scored that goal he expressed a sheer moment of madness and in a sprint that would give Usain Bolt a run for his money ran the full length of the football pitch to celebrate in front of the very fans who apparently treated him so poorly.  Those fans in the stadium clearly started a mini-riot – it was later revealed that at least one steward was treated for shock at the scene after being hit by something that was intended for Adebayor.

At the time I thought it was a stupid thing for Adebayor to do and firmly put the blame on him for what happened to the injured steward.  Since then I’ve read various news reports and done a little research on exactly what caused it to happen, and the more I read the more I realise that the Arsenal fans who were at the City of Manchester Stadium that day were simply fickle idiots who simply couldn’t take what they’ve no doubt dished out for years.  Let’s assume for a moment that the stick Adebayor received was true, which I think was the case otherwise he wouldn’t have mentioned it as often as he did.  It seems to happen to a lot of players regardless of who they play for, from simple harmless banter when a player misses an open goal to disgusting monkey noises as a form of racial abuse.  For example last weekend Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor scored a goal against local rivals Birmingham City, and afterwards he was apparently upset by a song the Birmingham supporters sang at him which is the same as one the Villa fans sing but with different words.  While the Villa song is quite affectionate the Birmingham version involves derogatory comments about his mother among other things.  Fortunately the song spurred him on to actually score the winning goal, but it’s one story among thousands to do with fans giving a lot of stick to players.  Most of the time they’re professional enough to ignore it, but they are only human and can only tolerate so much (Eric Cantona, take a bow).  I can’t imagine how legendary player John Barnes felt while making his debut for Liverpool in the 1987-88 season at Arsenal’s home ground and certain racist fans started throwing bananas at him.  The fans in question where the travelling Liverpool supporters.  A lesser man would have simply walked off the pitch and refused to play, but Barnes knew that it was just a minority of supporters who were abusing him and he shouldn’t let down the remaining 99% of visiting Liverpool supporters who were excited to see him play.

Other players have got their own back on fans... in their own special way

Other players have got their own back on fans... in their own special way

But going back to Adebayor and the endless stories of abuse and banter fans give the players it’s fairly safe to say that he probably was given a lot of stick while an Arsenal player.  I think it was because he was considered a bad dressing room influence and the fans simply didn’t like his attitude, but even so they were obviously persistent enough to really get on his tits which takes some doing for any player.  He’d obviously received a lot of comments for jumping clubs which is expected, but by the time he scored his goal for Manchester City he’d simply had enough of almost single-handedly allowing Arsenal to play Champions League football this season for a 20 goal haul and getting nothing in return from the fans of the club he actually loved playing for – so got his own back on them the only way he knew how.  I don’t blame him for his celebration at all as he’d been getting abuse all afternoon on top of everything else, but the fans acting like he’d murdered their mothers wasn’t necessary.  The went completely over the top by acting like wild animals, they really needed to accept that all the stuff they chanted about Adebayor throughout the game had backfired and he’d simply gotten his own back.

Ian Wright recently wrote an article on this subject which in fact was the inspiration for this blog post, and he summed up some football fans perfectly – “They love to scream abuse at players and say things about the players’ wives and kids – but if they get something back, they don’t like it. And they cannot handle it.”

He also mentioned that Adebayor did what many players past and present would have loved to do after being targeted by fans and he simply had the bottle to go ahead and do it.  He was also man enough to apologise for what happened – not for the celebration as such but for the fact the steward got hurt during the ensuing mayhem in the stands.  That wasn’t even his fault, will Arsenal issue an apology on behalf of the rioting fans?  Not bloody likely.


Posted on September 15, 2009, in Sport and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. The folks at Arsenal need to grow up. It felt good to stick it to your old team. This is part of the game. It was obscene or anything like that.

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