Saturday, November 19, 2011

Blogathon: To Boo Or Not To Boo

The Homeless World Cup helps over 50,000 people in seventy countries across the world. And Scotland are reigning world champions. That's one of the reasons I'm doing this.

Our first debate post of the day with the argument provided by Kenny Millar. Follow Kenny on Twitter and to borrow from a book that changed my life:

"Sunday morning? Eggs an' toast,
Kenny Millar and The Sunday Post"

Kenny set me the task of arguing that booing your own players in unacceptable in football.

FOOTBALL is full of empty marketing speak.

But the Adidas tagline for the new Scotland shirt struck a chord – ‘the thread that binds us’.

I worry that that thread is becoming increasingly frayed.

To be blunt, supporters have forgotten how to support.

Read the rest of Kenny's post at

Here's my response:

Booing your own players. Acceptable?

Of course it is.

I should say I don't do it myself. But that's because I come across as a particularly camp opera goer who's discovered the mezzo-soprano is off key when I attempt to make the "boooo" sound.

Here's the deal:

I go to work during the week to earn money that I then spend on watching football on my day off.

During the week footballer's - paid on the proceeds of my hard work - spend time training. They practice, most days, how not to make a complete erse of themselves on the football pitch.

What do we end up with? Under-performing eejits who not only make an erse of themselves but also of me for going along and spending my cash to watch them do it.

So excuse me while I put down my pie and Bovril and give them a right good tongue lashing.

"Supporters have forgotten how to support" says Kenny.

Well, I'd counter that footballers have forgotten the supporters.

In their cocooned, wealthy bubbles they expect everything to be done for them, their whims met, their egos soothed.

And that includes accepting no hint of "disrespect" from their own supporters.

The modern footballer doesn't hear a boo from the crowd and think "I'll show that pillock."

He hears a boo and thinks "well, that's me in the huff."

Football, once the game of the working man both on the pitch and on the terraces, has had any hint of that solidarity ripped from it.

Not by the supporters who boo but by the players whose greed and arrogance have driven an ever greater wedge between the player and the fan.

The modern footballer doesn't see a player like Messi or Ronaldo and say to himself "one day, with application and dedication, I could get close to that."

Does he buggery. He thinks "me footballer, him footballer, me want treated the same way."

If Danny Galbraith wants to wear white boots or Leigh Griffiths wants to wear fluorescent yellow boots then fair enough. But if they want to make that statement without people deciding there is some prickery involved, and showing frustration when they under perform, then they are misguided.

And if that makes them perform worse. Well, that's more to do with the jelly spined decline of society into victim status than a sign that we shouldn't vent an opinion we've paid money to express.

It would be nice to think that we're all pulling in the same direction. Maybe in some cases that is true. But I don't know if they play football in Narnia.

The reality is that even our modern one club men are only one club men because that one club is prepared to pay them bucket loads of cash.

Thus the supporter, with his tribal loves and tribal rivalries, is denied a connection to whatever club he supports.

We are now thought of as consumers, theatre-goers, a crowd at a gig, an audience watching a comedian.

That's all the loyalty we're shown. So we have to show our own loyalty to the "thread that binds us."

And that means solidarity on the terracing, holding true to our ideals as the players, the officials and the clubs forget them.

The boo is not a sign of us betraying our clubs.

Instead it is a musical rendering of our continued passion - the passion that will keep these clubs going when the latest manager, player or chairman has walked off into the sunset.

The humble boo says: "We don't accept you, you're not good enough for our club and WE - not YOU - want the best for our club. So we'll boo to remind you that we have the passion you lack, we'll boo to remind you we expect better. And we'll boo to remind you we're still here and we're going nowhere."

The boo and all it represents will save Scottish football from the wage cheats, the dismal managers, the nefarious agents and the fly-by-night chairmen.

The boo is the war-cry of solidarity not the disintegration of solidarity. It's the song of the disenfranchised fan. And it's the tune that must prevail to rescue Scottish football.

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