The Forest Boo Boys Exist, But They Do At Every Passionate Club

Forum Member Forest7 in his first article for the site, of hopefully many. He leaves his twitter details at the bottom should you like what you read and wish to follow.

The defeat to Hull City was not a pleasurable experience. Against a well organised side Forest toiled and eventually succumbed 2-1 to the visitors. The dissenters made themselves heard in greater numbers than at any point since Sean O’Driscoll took over the reins at the City Ground.

There are a small number of very unpleasant people who attend Forest matches who have directed abuse in the past at rather odd targets. These have ranged from our excellent former skipper Paul McKenna to our late chairman and owner Nigel Doughty who ploughed in millions of pounds in a sustained attempt to bring success to the City Ground. Last season Steve Cotterill took a lot of stick despite keeping us up and eventually got the team playing as well, if not better, than O’Driscoll has managed so far. But even a 7-3 at Leeds wasn’t enough to deter often vicious criticism amidst a difficult set of circumstances.

These elements of the fanbase do not help the club move forward. But I think some articles and tweets this week have lumped this sort of kneejerk criticism into the general dismay at the mediocre display against Hull. You can be a reasonable fan and still speak out against the negative tactics and lack of ambition that resulted in the defeat. O’Driscoll may point out that the game has changed regarding two strikers, but Forest actually have a very poor record with this formation at home, both this season and last. We all knew at 2pm what would happen with Billy Sharp isolated up front, yet the manager did not and compounded the situation by stubbornly refusing to bring on a quality striker in Dexter Blackstock. To me that was the root of the discontent in the ground – a wasted afternoon for all concerned. O’Driscoll then unwisely lauded the performance and suggested the fans had forced players to play the ball long, which won’t wash with many people who don’t understand why we were so scared of an average side like Hull.

The situation with Twitter, with fake the tweets, closed accounts and fansites might be sparked partly by Saturday, but to me social media is a separate sphere to what happens at a ground. There are all sorts of ongoing problems with Twitter that are unrelated to football and less so Forest. Everyone from Darron Gibson to Sally Bercow have had issues with the site so we can too easily link booing to social media misuse. Footballers are public figures and will get targeted on Twitter win, lose or draw.

Going back to what’s happening in the ground, I don’t think Forest fans are much worse than anyone else. Luke Chambers attempted to suggest the contary after a win against Coventry, but how would any other club’s fans react to watching game after game at home without a goal, never mind a win? I know Blackburn would not have accepted that after the way they treated Steve Kean. Other examples of critical fans are easy bring up – Arsenal questioning Arsene Wenger, Aston Villa slaughtering Alex McLeish and most recently the “welcome” given to new Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez. So are we that bad after all?

In my own experience of going to other grounds, I don’t find Forest that peculiar. I went to watch Luton Town recently who were in a play off spot at the time and discontent poured from the stands until they scored a late goal. To be fair to them, failure to beat Nuneaton Town at home was not acceptable - especially at £18 a ticket.

Booing of dire displays is a fact of life at all clubs with any expectations. The alternative is grim. Anyone who has visited the Ricoh Arena will know what happens when the passion is sucked out of football. The game only has itself to blame with daft wages and clubs charging fans extortionate ticket prices. Paying fans will feel they have a right to air their views, however daft they might seem to others.

I do think there is a line that can be crossed, like with Nigel Doughty, however, I don’t think many fans will start jumping up and down and cheering for no reason. The City Ground can be an intimidating place when good football is being played. But unlike on Saturday, a spark also has to come from the players – just like at every other ground in the country.

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