MICHAEL PEARLMAN SAYS: Now is the time for support, not boos
11:20am Tuesday 20th November 2012 in Columnists
LET’S set the scene, shall we, before I go into full-on rant mode… It was Saturday, November 17 and the contest was between the side top of the league and one struggling nearer the bottom.
The team top of the league hadn’t really looked their best for a few weeks and the one near the bottom had just recorded their best win of the season against one of the league leaders’ rivals.
But with all that said, it was still surely a routine win for the league leaders?
They’ve got a team packed with goalscorers and despite being uncharacteristically shaky at the back recently, there was nothing to suggest an unexpected scoreline.
Yet there it was by Saturday night, written in the football annuls for the rest of time in black and white. Norwich City 1 Manchester United 0.
Sorry, were you expecting me to be talking about something else?
Now that we’ve illustrated fairly simply that nothing in football is routine or to be taken for granted, let’s turn our attention to Rodney Parade and the result you thought I was referring to, namely County’s 3-1 reverse to Hyde on Saturday.
The defeat knocked the Exiles off top spot in the Conference and was without question one of the most disappointing moments of the campaign to date.
But the reaction to that defeat has been positively bonkers, starting with a minority of fans (enough to be noticeable and audible in their lunacy) who booed County at the full time whistle. That’s not a joke.
The Exiles, who last season finished 17th in the Blue Square Premier and the season before were midtable, were BOOED off the field for losing a game that sends them plummeting the murky depths of second in the Conference, only behind on goal difference with a game in hand.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, especially as County didn’t even play that badly, looking the most likely side to win at 1-1 until an individual error let them down.
Yet as I walked down the touchline for the post-match interviews I heard more of the same, this one and that one ranting and raving about how it was a load of rubbish.
One thing I’ll never do is to try and pass off comments on messageboards as being a true reflection on fan feeling, but never has County’s fans’ forum or our website comments been more ridiculous than this weekend.
"That’s among the biggest load of rubbish I’ve seen in 50 years," says one. Erm, no it isn’t mate. Not even close.
I’m a man with a Newport County frame of reference stretching back only to Peter Nicholas, John Cornforth, Peter Beadle, Dean Holdsworth and Anthony Hudson.
And I can categorically assure you, each of those managers presided over defeats far worse than Saturday’s.
Blimey, half of Cornforth and Hudson’s reigns were worse than Saturday.
While we are at it, Justin Edinburgh’s County have played worse than that, not least in recent games against Yate and Woking.
So where is this misplaced angst coming from?
I think most of us would agree that a sense of entitlement is one of the worst attributes of the modern football fan, the instant gratification of going onto a forum to write that everyone is useless and the chance to be negative and loud of the terrace is very much part of the fabric of being a fan.
Everyone is entitled to their view and when things are horrendous, sometimes booing is understandable. It’s not helpful, but human, a sign of frustration from loyal customers.
But seriously, what right do we as Newport County fans have to such angst and anger now?
The Exiles are enjoying a dream season and frankly on Saturday, it was clear every player was giving their all against a side who recently beat Grimsby. Does that make Grimsby rubbish as well?
The expectation that County can just expect to beat the likes of Hyde is wildly arrogant and if this little blip in form is to be overcome, the Exiles need the fans supporting them with everything they have.
Not booing them because of a disappointing result. That’s not what being a supporter is all about.
County fans are better than this, or certainly have been in the past and hopefully normality is soon restored.