Fans Destructive Hatred of Players

Danny Fox

There is a strong culture amongst some Forest fans to deliberately dislike players. A friend of mine we also jokes always has a player he really dislikes, someone in the squad will get his ire, but it’s always with a touch of humour. There are those on social media with active dislike of certain players, and it hardly fosters great relations when these “fans“ are openly attacking these players directly to them on Twitter and suchlike.

Yesterday before the game had barely got going I noticed the dislike pouring out of some fans for Danny Fox. Now I have been often fairly critical myself, but fairly and when something bad happens. I will also admit that may times Fox last season made me eat my words. Now I wasn’t there last night, so I can’t comment first-hand about Fix performance, but he was booked earlier on and got pulled during the game. Indicative enough of a Central Defender or any defender not playing well. I had a fan sat behind me once moaning all game about Fix being on a salary that wouldn’t be even close to whatever Fox is paid, for what difference it would make. All game “He’s on £40k!, £40k!”. I mean he wasn’t but the very fact people are so ready to believe the worst about some players speaks volumes.

Late last season I found myself defending Ben Osborn on Twitter against a number of people who proclaimed he’s the worst player in the side. To be fair I wasn’t alone. Also to be fair those people berating him seemed to be incredibly stupid.
I have found over the years that there is a strong culture of hate on players. Many seem incredibly quick to judge players within 2 minutes. Whether it is some kind of one-upmanship of trying to call their talent first, or just people really do think that 20 minutes as a sub is an indicator of ability.

Eric Lichaj was voted player of the season last season. And yet as we signed Darikwa a few fans felt moved to direct abuse and mocking towards Lichajs wife on Twitter, mainly because Eric himself was with the USA squad at the Gold Cup. But this is a guy who can never ever be doubted gives his all for the side, with fans attacking his wife. It hardly makes these players stay.

But are these just trolls online, desperate to get attention by attacking players.  Not always, many of the players I’ve seen blindly hated were never on social media, or in the days before Twitter. Paul McKenna was a huge example of this, and we will discuss McKenna below. He hasn’t been alone though. Some players just seem to rub some fans the wrong way and yes when there are bad performances I get it. The lies of Arron Davies or David McGoldrick who just didn’t settle, or ever seem to try. Paul Smith came in for an unfair amount of abuse I felt in his time in goal, and I have spoken before about the 2-3 year spectrum of emotions for Forest keepers, Darlow trod this path too. But it seems there is a seed, something tiny that some latch on to and then the damage is done.

Paul McKenna

Paul McKenna used to get some crazy abuse and poor treatment. Fans berating his ability yet it was obvious without him in the side we just didn’t tick. He was the fulcrum for the midfield and the screen for the defence. Excuse me for potentially sounding rude, as I base this on those who sat near me, but the people who hated McKenna were by and large knuckle dragging idiots. They didn’t get or understand a player whose role was subtle. In those days we had the forum, and several members always moaned about him, whilst then also wanted the central midfield to be McGugan and Majewski, so I think it underlines their lack of understanding, and complete blinkered view that all midfielders have to be creative flair players.

Lansbury was a similar player who divides opinion. For every person claiming he’s useless though, are those who understand that there is subtleness. His inconsistency is down to different roles he’s being asked to play. Occasionally to drop deeper and play as a Quarter back role, or to play further forward. It leads to a player than fans can’t understand why his game changes. It’s down to his instructions.

So we get to Osborn, and the abuse he got, because it was easy. A midfielder who hadn’t scored. He must be rubbish. But he had offered more, with assists, with energy. Osborn may not be best on the wing, but when there he tracks back, other flashier wingers may not. At the same time last season these people were raving about Perreira. Now don’t get me wrong he is a talented exciting player, but that doesn’t encompass his whole game. Whether that be his plethora of cards, or the fact that defending in his world seems to be optional, and not his actual job. Yet whilst berating Osborn, they raved about Perriera. 
Ben Osborn

To be berating Osborn is madness. The guy created more scoring chances than the rest of the squad and was amongst the very top in the division. Osborn just again seems to be a player some don’t get, but I think it’s the lack of flair. The kind of fan disliking Osborn are all about the individual. The kind of fan bought up in the era where the team isn’t celebrated but the very best players, and the players who gain attention are the skilful players. I will be doing a more in depth piece about Osborn shortly, as this article hopefully leads into a wider view about players and fans perceptions. 

I’m not saying we have to be nicey nicey to all players. But the fact that some people are on players backs before a ball is kicked in a game is ridiculous. Get behind them in games. And don’t go out the way on Social media to give them abuse. They are still our players. We still need to rely on them. Unless they are Dumitru. He was pointless.