When I was a lad I went down to Maine Road a couple of times with a few lads to watch the football. If one of my blue mates had a ticket going spare and I had nothing better to do, then I’d go along. I only saw a handful of games but it was interesting enough going to someone else’s ground.
I don’t know how it works for other people, but I was always far more interested in Manchester United than I was in football in general. Whilst lots of kids used to collect those football stickers and talk about which players were the best in the league, I only really cared about United. I didn’t really know much about other clubs and hadn’t really considered that other clubs or other fans were different to ours.
When going to Maine Road, the thing that struck me as the biggest difference (yes, even more than the quality of football being played!) was how angry the City fans got. They were shouting and swearing at their own players from start to finish, berating their players for every mistake and banging on about it being “typical” whenever a player messed up. Even when winning, there wasn’t a very pleasant atmosphere. They were angry and waiting for failure.
I’m not trying to argue that the atmosphere at United, home or away, is always perfect, but there is more often than not the belief that we can do something and the faith in our own players.
But today sections of our fans were booing Dimitar Berbatov and I feel like an idiot for thinking I belonged to a better group of supporters than that. They may have been the minority but there was still enough of them for it to be obviously heard.
We needed to beat Blackburn today and because we haven’t it’s probably a case of when, not if, we see Chelsea lift the trophy.
With 20 minutes to go and us in desperate need of a goal, our fans started booing and verbally abusing our only striker. You have to wonder what motivates people like this. You may think Berbatov is the worst and laziest and most frustrating player to ever wear our shirt, that is an opinion anyone is entitled to, but when he is on the pitch playing for us in a game we need to win, it doesn’t take a genius to work out it would be in our best interest to cheer him on.
He collided with a player off the ball and went down holding his face. I haven’t seen any replays of what happened but he had to go off the pitch for treatment and I’d like to think that was because he’d actually been hurt, not because he felt like had nothing better to do. As he was holding his face, the boos and insults came pouring out. “Get up you lazy twat!” followed by “Fuck off back to Spurs, Berbatov you cunt!” and “What a fucking waste of money, you fucking cunt, Fergie get that twat off the pitch!” and the like. Moments after coming back on the pitch, a ball through from Berbatov to Nani was cut out by a Blackburn defender and met with more boos from our fans and more insults.
I’m stood there thinking how did it come to this? How did it happen that a player who wears our shirt, who shunned City’s money to play for us (unlike that prick Tevez whose chant our fans sung relentlessly over Sir Alex Ferguson’s end of season speech after we had just been named Champions, meaning he had to cut it short because he could no longer be heard), who is in the top ten scorers in the league, has come to receive such abuse from our own fans. The bandwagon has got out of control and people are getting hysterical with it. I’m all for a difference of opinion, blogs like this thrive because of them, but I am sickened and embarrassed by the attitude of too many of our fans now.
So, what does it come down to? Let’s narrow it down. Carlos Tevez was benched for the big games last season and complained relentlessly to the press about it. Dimitar Berbatov has been benched for the big games this season and we haven’t heard a single negative word from him in the press about it. (‘What is the best thing about being a Manchester United player?’ he was asked. With a smile, ‘being a Manchester United player’ he replied.) But Tevez was still adored and Berbatov is booed. Can anyone explain that?
Maybe the issue is to do with goalscoring. Berbatov has played 1851 minutes of football in the league this season and has scored 12 goals, the equivalent of 1 goal per 154 minutes (2 hours 34 minutes) on the park. Last season, Tevez played 1856 minutes of football in the league, scored 5 goals, the equivalent of 1 goal per 371 minutes (6 hours 11 minutes) on the park. But Tevez was still adored whilst Berbatov is booed. Can anyone explain that?
Maybe the issue is to do with assists. Berbatov has 6 assists this season (21 players in the league have assisted more goals than him) whilst Tevez had 3 assists last season (73 players in the league assisted more goals than him). Looking at goals and assists, Berbatov has scored/created 1 goal per 103 minutes on the park (1 hour 43 minutes) whilst Tevez scored/created 1 goal per 232 minutes on the park (3 hours 52 minutes). But Tevez was still adored whilst Berbatov is booed. Can anyone explain that?
So, which boxes did Tevez tick that Berbatov doesn’t? He ran around a lot. I mean, fuck me, he ran around a lot. He lost the ball and he wouldn’t stop running around until we got possession back. I loved that too, I think it’s a great quality to have, but I think there are qualities that come higher. Scoring more goals is more important, something Berbatov has done. Creating more goals is more important, something Berbatov has done. Wanting to play for Manchester United more than the money of Manchester City is more important, something Berbatov has done. But because Berbatov doesn’t run around like a headless chicken, our fans call him lazy, and now boo him, whilst Tevez, who was nowhere near as effective last season as Berbatov has been this, was worshipped by our fans. Is this for fucking real?
Our fans reached an embarrassing low today and got the result they asked for. You’re not going to motivate your players to do well, any of them, if you’re singling one of them out for abuse. The fact that he was our only striker on the park adds to the insanity. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!
Fine, for whatever reason, our fans adored Tevez last season, regardless of the fact he was shit in front of goal and complained tirelessly in the last few months, and for whatever reason, they don’t like Berbatov. I can’t understand it but I can understand that not everyone is going to have the same opinion. But the abuse Berbatov received today was shameful and embarrassing. On that performance on the pitch, our team doesn’t deserve to win the league, and on that performance in the stands, neither do our fans.
To quote a very wise man: “On you go. He’s a fucking great player. You are all fucking idiots.”