Scapegoats - Do We Really Need Them?
After the Dynamo Kiev game a few weeks back I got to thinking about the proliferation of scapegoats that football media and supporters require, why?
During the match, I had seen Balotelli's 'tackle' and his justified sending off and blamed him entirely for it, because although the ref had a terrible game, Balotelli made it easy for him, I lost all my patience with the Italian at that point. I did the same with Richard Dunne against Hamburg. Two moments of ill-discipline cost City in those two games and in both games; we won but went out of the competition.
But those incidents with Dunne and Balotelli were out of the norm for me. I am first and foremost a supporter of City, and the players if they pull on a City top get my support, so amongst my mates who I go the match with now and in the past I am the one that rated, amongst others, Adie Mike, David Brightwell, Antoine Sibeirski.
I didn't necessarily rate them that highly (to be fair - how could you?). I just don't believe that booing or groaning when a player gets the ball ultimately helps the team or the player himself.
Throughout my many years of watching City, I have noticed that we have a trend to support our home grown players but also castigate them as much - I'm thinking here of Paul Power and Richard Edghill. Not just home grown but also supported City as boys yet they were treated mercilessly by some people in the stands.
There is also the player you don't warm to because they replaced a folk hero. Kevin Bond was also a target because we sold Nicky Reid and he took his place. Same goes for Trevor Morley, he came into the side to replace Paul Moulden and to a lesser extent, Alan Harper and Mark Ward ( Andy Hinchcliffe and Ian Bishop).
The funny thing is although City fans groaned at him, I don't remember Adrian Heath being a target for sustained abuse, despite Peter Reid's persistence in keeping Clive Allen in the reserves. Maybe it's because of his work rate overcame his lack of contribution via goals.
These names will mean nothing to some fans, but those of a certain vintage they will certainly resonate with.
We always seem to have to have one scapegoat, I know one of my mates does. I even joke with him who it will be this season, and I knew who it would in most seasons.
So this year we have...Yaya Toure seems to me to get a lot of criticism due to a combination of the size of him and of his wages. Let's be clear about his wages, they are around £80,000 a week - not bad, they will rise to £220,000 a week only if we win the Premier and Champions League and retain them within the length of his contract. But the media use it against him and now even his own fans do.
Balotelli could go the same way if he's around long enough which I seriously doubt. To my mind he's behaving like Kevin the teenager because he doesn't want to play for City.
I hear people moaning about Gareth Barry. It can't be a coincidence that he is/was a regular under managers such as Fabio Capello, Martin O'Neil, Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini. Although we have all watched football I would doff my cap at those four and say they know more about football than I do.
So what is it?
It must be the need for an excuse why you didn't win? Yeah in one off cup games, the media whipped up the storm against David Beckham but didn't raise half as much hell for Rooney. In both cases, we had English lads loosing their heads against cynical foreigners, but the ref fell for it in France '98 and in Portugal '04.
But that doesn't explain how City fans have to have a boo-boy or rather in these days of muted atmosphere, a groan boy. Football is a game of opinions and we each of our own but we should reserve it for the pub not shout at the team when they are trying to win a game of football.
A whilst it may seem sacrilege to call into question City fans, I have to say the teams standards have risen, I think it is time that the fans did too and offer some show of support, as the old saying goes ' if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.'
Let's support all the players all the time. We are in new uncharted territories at the moment and it's scary and exciting all at the same time. Let us appreciate the fact that for last season and in all likelihood, we will be going into the last week of the season we something to play for other than avoiding relegation!