Please accept the following diatribe is purely my own opinion for better or worse and gladly accept advice or criticism as everyone is entitled to their opinion, thankfully. We are lucky that we are still able to pronounce fairly freely opinions on subjects which don’t cross accepted taboos or boundaries.
Lets get to the case in point, the growing rise of social media: be it Twitter, Facebook or any of the other ones now around for our pleasure or pain. I’m a fan of Facebook and Twitter and I am usually careful not to be too controversial or antagonistic, whilst remaining passionate about subjects and activities close to my heart.
Herein lies my conundrum: lately there has been a creeping movement, and I’m relating to City and football in general here, where so-called fans come out with the most amazing, incredulous and often abusive criticism of players, managers, clubs and fellow fans be it of other clubs or even their own. Reading some of the bile makes the hashtag ‘Football Family’ seem a little hollow and embarrassing to use at times.
I don’t want to sound too righteous because those who know me know I’m far from it, but I can honestly say that in 49 years of following football I’ve never booed a player on the pitch. Yes, I’ve walked away criticising and whinging and even cursing a performance. I’ve even reported a fellow fan for racially abusing a City hero of mine purely due to the colour of his skin. I’m proud to say he was banned for a while and, even though he is now back, he hasn’t repeated his behaviour and we have chatted about it.
We used to leave the ground and head for the pub to dissect the days game and let off steam, but nowadays the plethora of fans forums plus the likes of Twitter provide a lasting platform for fans to vent all sorts of views and opinions on any of a wide range of subjects to do with the club or the game in general.
I love to see others opinions and good sensible sparring and arguments are great and healthy for all concerned, but my problem is with the abuse by certain people. It’s becoming highly personal, totally over the top, sometimes abusive, certainly very distasteful at times. You ask these people to explain themselves and sadly you either get a volley of abuse back or the old favourite of “I spend my money, I can say what I like” answer. Very rarely do they give a constructive answer to why they have been abusive. Is it the perceived anonymity of the keyboard? For example would they call Ben Williams crap to his face?
They question the manager’s every action without seemingly thinking that there must be a reason for each action, however confusing it might seem to us fans. The nature of the business means things must be kept under wraps for obvious reasons. At the end of the day no matter how much we invest in our following of City, the club have a right to keep various things private and away from the public eye. That is no reason to pour abuse on individuals on social media. I’d ask these individuals if they ever have a bad day at work? Would they sit there and accept the rest of the staff bombarding them with filth and abuse.
I think it’s the way society is going, which is a bigger social problem that a lot of people want instant gratification and are not prepared to wait. That just a few matches in people have been calling for Phil Parkinson to F-off just beggars belief. Have they forgotten where we were before Parkinson arrived and where he has taken us?
Like them or not, the Board have maintained a prudent line in spending to the point where the club are now operating debt free after two administrations and possibly the closest call in the club’s history to going out of existence. Are these achievements forgotten so easily? Doesn’t the manager have any ‘credit in the bank’ for what he has achieved so far? Hasn’t the slow stability of the club shown the worth of the board’s prudent actions?
Why has everything to be instant or it’s ‘hell to pay’?
I might be getting old and cynical but I’d like someone to explain why they think firing abuse at any individual on social media will get them any positive result or feedback? Is it just the modern, if extreme, way of letting off steam or is there something more sinister behind the way the keyboard warriors fire a torrent of aggressive abuse every time the club don’t win or a player, god forbid, plays anywhere below their high standards?
Please remember this is my personal take on the social media platforms; please don’t abuse me too much if it makes you angry!