Monday, October 13, 2008

Who you boo to?

My poor attempt at rhyming in the title has been noted.

This blog post comes on the tail of more displays of a strange phenomena I've been noticing over the past few years: home crowds booing the home team. The point of just-too-muchery occurred when England thrashed Kazakhstan 5-1. The one, of course, was created by an Ashley Cole epic fuckup - leading England supporters to boo him at every touch of the ball for the rest of the game.

Every Spurs game this season has led to the home team being chorused by a series of boos, due to their poor performance. The Red Sox were being booed in the fifth inning at Fenway today due to their giving up 4 runs early to Tampa.

There's a point of ridiculousness to booing the home team. Every fan has limits to their patience, especially in the world of professional sport. After paying ridiculous sums to get tickets to a game (£33 minimum adult ticket at WHL, $30 minimum for standing room at Scotiabank Place, $59 minimum for tickets to any game next season at the new Texas Stadium), fans don't want to see their team get shellacked.

It brings to mind a very important question: are fans paying ridiculous sums to go the game for the atmosphere and to support the home team, or are they paying for a few hours of solid entertainment?

I personally don't ever see myself booing my own team at the church which is the home stadium (whether it be Wembley, White Hart Lane or Scotiabank Place), but I also don't have the funds go so often enough to remove the novelty of being at the game.

There are situations where booing the home team is justified. If it's getting to the tail end of the season and the team has stopped trying (as we saw with Spurs last year, or with teams who get out of playoff contention and give up), it's justified to boo the home team. You've paid an unreasonable sum to go see your team - if they don't give a shit why should you?

That said, if your team is trying, as we're seeing from Spurs this year, it's beyond unreasonable to boo them. They're not playing well, but booing them is not a justifiable response - and when December comes around, I'll be cheering full volume for the Lilywhites as they take on Fulham on Boxing Day (assuming I get tickets), no matter their performance.

Same with the England scenario: Ashley Cole is one of my least favourite footballers in the world. It takes a lot for an Arsenal and a Spurs fan to agree on hated players, but he's on that list. That said, everyone's made a bugger-up in a match... for him to be booed for the rest of the match is unreasonable, foolish and, indeed, "crazy".

What are some of these fans trying to accomplish? Booing your home team while they're playing well does nothing but demoralize them, and reduce their level of play. That said, while your home team is trying hard to overcome demoralization to play better, and the home supporters are booing them - it's nothing but counterproductive.

So come on you home supporters of all teams and leagues - show support for your side and wear your colours proudly!!!


Phil said...

As for Spurs, the people who shelled out about a grand or so for season tickets in mid-August were probably amazed to see their team's entire strikeforce sold just two weeks later. The way Spurs is managed is a complete pisstake, and does a disservice to the fans of what is still one of England's great clubs. The team have deserved all the boos they've received - the whole problem is one of motivation rather than of quality...

Ashley Cole is returning to his Arsenal best under Scolari, but as a person he has a very bad character and even worse PR ability. He has also been the victim of England's left side problem, having to play the entire flank on his own rather unconvincingly. For this he deserves all the praise he can get for the hard work he puts in.

I have nothing against booing, some fans paid 90 quid to see a rather dull England the other night. English fans tend to think that the best player they know is automatically the best in the world. Cole's one of the top five or ten best left backs around, but let's remember the class of Patrice Evra, Gael Clichy, Philipp Lahm and even Wayne Bridge before we think an England left back is immune from criticism.

Amrit Ahluwalia said...

1) The management of Spurs is absolutely at fault for the problems we're seeing. Last year, the problem was keeping the ball -out- of the net. This year, it's putting it in. Everything else is working - the management is at fault for the lack of goalscoring. That said, booing the team is not the answer. Maybe a Newcastle-ish response would be more appropriate.

2) Absolutely (unfortunately).

3) Again - are they paying to support the team, or are they paying for an evening of entertainment? If they're paying to support the side, part football's Barmy, then they should support the fucking team. If they're paying for entertainment, then sure they can boo, but a 5-1 scoreline is pretty tough to argue with.

Mike Woods said...

I may not agree with the boobirds, but I'll defend to the death their right to boo.
That's right, I'm the Voltaire of sports fandom.

If I shell out a ridiculous amount of money to be within earshot of athletes, I'll boo them if I damn well want to. It's part of the ticket price.

Booing, to me, conveys disappointment only in that the boobird is aware of what the athlete is capable of - usually so much more (see Spezza, Jason). Although a shout of encouragement might help him a little bit more, this is the big leagues, not peewee. Booing has its place.

sa said...