Wednesday, 11 August 2010
To boo or not to boo is a terrible question
So today we are off to London to see the match, and last night's late radio and this morning's early radio has ben busy discussing whether to boo the team or not.
First off, I loathe lynch mobs. Others clearly enjoy them. I never will.
Some say they have paid so they have a right to boo. Well if they paid to see the earlier matches before the world cup then they had no reason to boo. Maybe, if they happened to have paid to be in South Africa they were entitled to boo - then. Even so I would not have joined them, not if I had paid twice the sum.
Some think the booing is a punishment. Fine. The booers punishment will be that ever fewer people will want to play for the national team. Why should they? Several have withdrawn already. On this occasion a few young untried players will be playing for the first time. Their first taste of playing for their country will be to be booed or greeted with silence. They didn't play in South Africa and they will not be encouraged to play now. Best get them off on the right foot.
Those players who remain in the team are the main core of the team for the next few years. Perhaps they should be punished by never being invited to play again. So take out Gerrard, Lampard, Terry, Cole and Rooney. Do without them. Then live with it. Gerrard, of course, has said he too would boo if he were in the crowd. Fine, then boo Gerrard. My already low respect for him diminishes by the day, which does not mean he is not an outstanding footballer or that I would not pick him.
And Fabio, of course. The press have turned on him as they do on everyone in the end. They torture, chew, then spit out the managers one by one in rapid succession. The press are only interested in triumph or disaster. Nothing in between is interesting. Second is nowhere, third is even more nowhere. They don't want a 'successful' or 'respected' team. They want World Champions or European Champions. The rest is nothing. Capello was great before South Africa - he is a pathetic dolt now.
The press has always been contemptible, so I'll let that go. Frankly, I think booing is contemptible too. It is also abysmally stupid. People sometimes perform badly. They will not play better for being booed. They never do. They are destroyed or damaged by it. It is a very rare player or person who survives it, David Beckham being the most obvious example.
If booing is what you like doing then you will have plenty of opportunity to get used to it. It's the bed you have made. Lie there. No need to get up. It's a work of art! It's the full Tracy Emin!
The contemptible thing is that those who boo profess to support but actually prefer to indulge in a display of their inflated sense of being 'wronged'. That sense - the sense of entitlement - is one of the most horribly corrupting elements to gnaw away at any psyche, and God knows, the national psyche is in a pretty sick way.
Tonight's experience might well turn out to be more sociological than sporting. It will, I imagine, be interesting to have been there.