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Fickle fans – will they ever learn?

19 March 2009 by

One thing is guaranteed at present in every Premier League season. There will be 20 teams competing who have to fill the positions 1-20. A very simple concept. 38 league matches for every team every season. Inevitably, a fan of a team finishing in 5th position is going to be happier than a fan of a team who ends the season in 15th position. Therefore, every season, no matter what, you are going to get fans discontented with their team’s performance and position throughout which is what leads to the rather ridiculous quick fire sackings which occur every season.

Nevertheless, you can usually guarantee on fans being happy with their club if they are in the top half of the league and challenging for European positions. Unbelievably, this season has seen a new dawn where fans of any club, no matter how well they are doing or have done, will publicly vent their frustration if anything in the slightest goes wrong.

Now, being realistic, every single team in the Premiership, no matter how big or small will go on a bad run or have a slight dip in form at some stage of a season. It is very rare for a club to go an entire season without 2-3 successive defeats or 2-3 games without a win. The only example where this differs that comes to mind is when Arsenal managed to go a whole Premiership season unbeaten.

However, let’s take a look at some of the shining examples of where football supporters overreact.

A very good example of the “fickle fan” is currently at Aston Villa FC. Just 2-3 seasons ago, Villa was on a downward spiral under the leadership of David o Leary and looking like they could lose their Premiership status. With the arrival of O’ Neill, Villa’s fortunes have upturned largely thanks to the manager putting his faith in young English players and finding a system which allows them to play to their strengths and to express themselves. As a result, Villa have had a season beyond all expectations and have held the cherished 4th spot probably longer than Arsenal have over the course of the season. Realistically though, Aston Villa don’t yet have the strength in depth to compete with a squad of Arsenal’s resources. A dip in form has occurred with several players looking slightly jaded. Remarkably, Aston Villa fans, who haven’t had a season this exciting in years, feel the need to get on the back of a young striker who gives his all every week in Gabriel Agbonlahor, jeering him off the pitch as he was substituted against Tottenham at the weekend. O’ Neill has also come in for criticism lately for his team selection. It beggars belief!

O' Neill - wrongly criticised?

O' Neill - wrongly criticised?

Another example is Hull City, a team who nearly all the bookmakers had as overriding favourite to be relegated this season. A team that before this season had never even looked like getting into the Premier League before. A team who just several years ago were languishing in the lower regions of English football and had more chance of being relegated to the non league than facing the top teams in the country every week. Yet somehow, after living the dream in the months that had gone by, Hull City fans felt the need to tell manager Phil Brown that “he didn’t know what he was doing” as he subbed Geovanni a couple of weeks ago. Of course, Hull were on a bad run but considering their resources and their squad strength, it’s remarkable that it took until December/January for them to embark on a bad run. Even now, they hold a solid position of 13th in the league. A position that every Hull fan would have bitten your hand off for at the start of the campaign. Yet these supporters don’t seem to be able to grab the concept that they were due a bad run!

Brown - what more can he do!?

Brown - what more can he do!?

You want me to go on I hear you cry!

How can Bolton fans boo Gary Megson after he has consolidated them firmly in the middle regions of the Premiership following Sammy Lee’s disastrous reign last season?

How can Liverpool fans boo their own team after drawing a match earlier in the season that actually took them to the top of the Premiership?

Even more surprisingly is how in god’s name can Everton fans condone their booing of David Moyes after a slightly dodgy start at the beginning of this season after all he has achieved at that club? It’s amazing how quickly things can be forgotten of football. All of a sudden, Moyes is a genius for managing to keep them in the Champions League qualification race without a striker fit for several months. However, when the next dip in form happens, will Everton fans once again bemoan Moyes’s tactical decisions?

Moyes - better not lose or else!

Moyes - better not lose or else!

And I won’t even go into the disgraceful abuse that Arsenal fans threw at Emmanuel Eboue a little while back.

All in all, is this behaviour a result of raised expectations or is it just pure delusion and a lack of patience from some “fickle” supporters?

I don’t know the answer but I find “fickle fans” a disgrace to the beautiful game and the only scenario at the moment that I could see pleasing everyone is if all 20 clubs were allowed to win every week! Even then I’m sure someone would still find something to moan about!


One Comment »

  • luckyliam10

    I am a committed football fan and do feel i suffer from a little bit of fickle fan symdrome. I feel that it comes from what the media is saying they put the ideas in our heads then we just go talk about it with others.

    The papers write a big leadline or something and say a team is crumbling, when you stop to look at the figures you realise this is not true.

    I come from Australia and their is not a great coverage of EPL in the papers of on free to air tv so big headlines sadly mold my ideas about the team since time zones and such stop me from watching 75% of Arsenal games.

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