Boo boys a disgrace to England

October 13, 2008
By Jon Carter

How on earth does booing one of your own players help your side? It's a question that has cropped up since Ashley Cole suffered some harsh treatment from some England fans at Wembley on Saturday, but is almost impossible to answer.

GettyImagesThe boss has a tough crowd to deal with.

To do so, you would have to put yourself in the mindset of someone happy to scream abuse at a player they had most likely clapped off the pitch just a few weeks earlier in Zagreb. Such hypocrisy has no logical reason, although it continues to happen.

Indeed, it seems that certain members of the England fanbase will now go to games with the intention to boo a player before they've even stepped on the pitch. Frank Lampard has suffered this fate in the past and Wayne Rooney was on the verge of being singled out until his brace quietened any doubters before they had found a voice.

Whatever their reasons, whether it be a club-related issue, personal jealousy or something related to their performances in an England shirt, this minority of England's supporters must realise that they are there to support their side. Otherwise, what is the point of them being there?

If memory serves, England ran out comfortable 5-1 winners against Kazakhstan. Goals were craved and they were delivered. Granted the manner of the victory wasn't the most spectacular, but a quick look at the scoreline suggests Capello's men did everything required of them.

In fact, under Capello, the side boast an impressive record and, if they win in Belarus, will have made their best start ever to a World Cup qualifying campaign. But try telling that to the so-called 'fans'.

These statistics are apparently forgotten in the heat of battle and the players are the ones to suffer. A mis-placed pass, an open goal spurned and all of a sudden they are public enemy #1.

Now, I'm not saying that sometimes they don't deserve it. A 0-0 first-half draw against the likes of Andorra (as we saw under Steve McClaren) is patently not good enough and England's top earners have a duty to ensure that they perform to a high standard or risk the consequences. Yet, when the side is winning, there is no reason to boo.

Cole may not be the most likeable of players, given his marriage to a (really, really hot) celebrity musician, refusal of £55,000-a-week contract at Arsenal and his decision to publish all the events of his life to the general public in a poorly written autobiography. But even he didn't deserve to have his every touch booed.

It is easy to see the fans' point of view. They've paid their money to be entertained and, taking full advantage of freedom of speech, they are fully allowed to voice their opinions - within reason of course. But is a modicum of maturity too much to ask for?

It's no wonder that coach Fabio Capello has said he doesn't like playing at home, if this is the kind of immature, pointless behaviour that he has to contend with. England are lucky that their next game is away in Belarus, although failure to placate their ever-expectant support with a convincing win and the boos could be ringing in the ears of England's players once more.