January 1, 2000
As a Rovers fan of somewhat more ‘mature’ years, I think I have managed to work out the best way of making the team play better.
Getting behind the players at all times and offering unqualified support, no matter what is happening on the pitch, is no guarantee that the team will play well and win but I do think it beats the alternative.
Footballers are doing a job that all of us who stand on the terraces would love to do, if only we had been blessed with the ability to do so, which is why we end up on the terraces on the first place.
So what gives us the right to have our very vocal say when things aren’t quite going the way we want them to go?
And when we have finished berating the players, we can blame the coach who, despite a lifetime in the game, latterly gaining all manner of qualifications, plainly has no grasp of tactics like us!
Few other professions get it in the neck like footballers.
I have heard of few instances where householders have been standing a few feet away from their electrician abusing him for not doing his job properly. “You don’t know what you’re doing!”
But as we pay their wages we have the right, don’t we, to have our say?
It wasn’t long ago that Paul Trollope had “lost the plot” and was “a defeat away from the sack”. The word was, according to the internet, Ian Holloway was coming back.
Oh hang on a minute. Whilst we were busy looking the other way, Trolls coached his team to an excellent unbeaten run and from bring a step away from relegation we were now on the verge of the play offs.
How fickle we are!
So badly has Trolls failed, he is now ‘Manager of the Month’ – and not before time.
Luckily, Rovers chair Nick Higgs is blessed with a little more patience than those who felt that Paul Trollope’s time was up. To be honest, I’d have only been worried if Nick had given the first team coach a vote of confidence when things were apparently at their worst!
Rickie Lambert seems to be doing all right too. In fact, there is even a group of ‘Facebook’ (an internet social networking website) which I have joined and now calls for Mr Capello to call up our free scoring centre forward into the national side.
Apparently, Rickie was lazy, overweight and disinterested according to some people who appeared to be, at least on the face of it, suffering from at least two of these conditions themselves. But now he is up there with Geoff Bradford and Alfie Biggs in the growing list of Rovers greats.
Only last season, a man who stands near me used to spend much of the match shouting what you could not describe as encouragement at young Andy Williams, a player with undoubted talent but a brittle temperament. What was the point of it? Would telling him he was effing excrement really make him play much better?
There’s no point in me going on too much about this because there will always be someone who wants to moan.
It’s not unique to the Rovers, it happens everywhere.
It doesn’t work because negativity rarely does work.
Paul Trollope and Nick Higgs in their respective ways have given us plenty to not moan about in recent times, the former giving us a team to be proud of and the latter working flat out to deliver us a first class stadium that is fit for purpose.
In the midst of the worldwide credit crunch and an impending recession, Bristol Rovers is still a club moving forward.
Just imagine if we could get everyone cheering together at the same time.