With the perilous prospect of relegation facing Blues and the Baggies the debate about booing and jeering has once again raised its ugly head.
On one hand the supporters understandably say they pay for their ticket so have a right to boo the team if they are not satisfied with what they are watching. It is difficult to argue with that however there is another perspective to this emotional argument.
In my opinion, and I am sure few would disagree, supporters make a massive difference during any game. But whether that difference is negative or positive is up to them.
Most, if not all managers, in their away pre-match talk will highlight the advantages of
“Turning the crowd”. They want the home fans to get edgy and start booing their team or at least stop cheering and singing. They believe this gives them an advantage in a game of small margins.
I have witnessed Blues and Albion players get a visible lift when the fans are singing their respective anthems and roaring them on en masse. I remember Steve Bruce telling me that Sir Alex Ferguson had mentioned to him that he thought “St Andrews was a very hostile place to come to”.
As I see it if you boo your team during the 90 minutes you are helping the opposition and might as well wear one of their scarves.
After the final whistle is the time to vent your anger as loud and vocal as you want.
I don’t care what the managers say I believe Blues fans at Bolton did as much as anyone to help the players avoid relegation or win the Carling Cup semi-final despite being 3-1 down to West Ham. Without doubt West Brom’s “Great Escape” would never have happened without the support of the Baggies faithful and managers who knew what the club was all about on and off the pitch.
Without doubt Blues and Baggies fans have a right to be angry at what they are seeing at this time. And particularly in the case of Blues where it has been virtually downhill since the Carling Cup final. (Was that only 7 years ago?) Under Chris Hughton players were sold and despite a heroic and enjoyable Europa League campaign and reaching the playoffs Chris left because I am sure he saw the writing on the financial wall.
There was definitely a light at the end of the tunnel under Gary Rowett, however circumstances soon proved that it was a just train heading straight towards them.
I really do not care who the owners are or really who the manager is as long as he gets what the club is about and provides a competitive team. The only consistent over generations at any football club is the supporters who week in and week out part with their hard earned cash and their time to give the club an identity. Make no mistake without them the club has NO identity.
What some clubs do not realise is that it is hard work being a supporter when there are so many other things to do with your money and time in this modern world.
Having said that supporting our club is not a job but is forever in our blood, in our DNA! One thing football needs to remember and that is players, managers, and owners can all move on to other clubs however we the supporters do not have that choice, we are here from the cradle to the grave and so will our descendants
And let’s be honest about it a percentage of the support, no matter how small disappears when a team is relegated or is not in the Premier League. But the majority stick with the team whatever and they are the ones who need to be respected and listened to.
Yes, we fans believe we are better owners, managers or strikers than anyone at our club, it is all a part of the wonderful tapestry that is being a football supporter even though the reality is that we are just playing “fantasy football”.
However we should not be criticised for having an opinion because that’s all a manager has at the end of the day is an opinion but his opinion is the one that counts, the one he is paid for and of course he knows all the in inside club information.
I was ashamed to see that a bottle had been thrown towards the dug-out at St Andrews on Saturday. There is never a time or reason when this is right. However that is not the way the overwhelming majority of Blues fans would ever behave and embarrass their clubs great name.
Neither Steve Cotterill nor Alan Pardew need me to remind them how precarious their positions are. I must admit I wondered after the Barnsley game if Steve Cotterill would say enoughs’ enough and resign.
Are the dressing rooms strong enough? Are there players who will point the finger at team mates after a bad defeat and even constructively question the manager’s decisions?
Can either Cotterill or Pardew win over the fans again? It’s simple win games as only wins will change the toxic atmosphere towards them.
Managers rarely stay long at clubs for whatever reason. But whoever takes over at either club will only be as good as the quality of players he has in his squad.
I fully understand the fans feelings as I left St Andrews very angry, hurt and disappointed at what I had witnessed during the 90 minutes against Barnsley. No one can guarantee a win but what we can demand and expect is a performance full of passion and desire with an over my dead body attitude. I know that is hard when your confidence had been shot to pieces after a mauling at Brentford but that’s when you look to the leader and perhaps therein might lie the problem.
I know that Blues and Baggies fans will try to be the difference in the remaining games. Let’s be honest it’s very easy to sing when our team is 3-0 up but in that situation the players are full of confidence with every player wanting the ball. However they need us singing loudest when we are losing or not playing well but that is the toughest of asks.
Both teams are in very tough football war against the drop and the tougher the battle the tougher the soldiers need to be. Are they tough enough? We’ll find out between now and the end of the season.
There appears to be a lack of confidence among supporters that either team can beat the drop. In a poll, which received around three thousand votes, which I conducted on my Goalzone social media pages 90% of Baggies fans that voted and 80% of Blues fans said they didn’t believe they would avoid relegation.
However it “aint” over yet and both Blues and Baggies have to metaphorically pick themselves up dust themselves down and go again. As the Blues anthem says “though the way be long, let your heart be strong, keep right on to the end”.