Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday January 17 2010
The BBC reported after the game today v West Ham that there had been an argument between Martin O'Neill and some fans.
Another report said that there was half a dozen stewards around the dug-out at the end of the game.
OK, storm in a tea cup time.
I sit right by the bench on the front row, at the end of games there are always at least 4 or 5 stewards, the regular two who walk the refs off the pitch, a couple of more senior stewards then a few who line down from where I sit and onward to the tunnel.
No change at all happened today on that score.
There wasn't that major an incident, MON reacted to a comment by a fan or fans. Some were calling for a striker on, others to just make a substitution etc. I didn't hear any bad language but that isn't to say there wasn't any, I - and no one around me - heard any though.
MON did react and I think he was wrong unless something vile was said his way. His retort was 'that is why I stand here and you sit there you tw*t'.
Not really what I expect to hear and most especially not as there are ladies and young kids who also sit around by us. Then again, none of us are perfect at football all the time, should the managers be?
The worst filth I've heard was aimed at Graham Taylor the second time. He took dogs abuse, vile stuff and yet he stood stoically and ignored it. Tends to diffuse the situation in my opinion but it isn't always easy. John Gregory used to be good because he would join in with banter. David O'Leary was the worst. For the fact he was an awful bloke, he didn't take much in the way of vile abuse, more 'we aren't fickle, we just don't like you' stuff but he would always react and often go back for more. This isn't the first time MON has reacted. I called over today when he started to get really annoyed by whatever the comment was to just ignore it, he doesn't need to show people who heckle that they can get a rise out of him in my opinion (for what that is worth, which lets face it, isn't much!) but it was all over in less than a minute.
What worries me now is this might make the press - like MON's comments on the booing Gabby (when people weren't booing Gabby!) - and make us ALL look bad. I've not known such devout support for a manager before. I know a few times when I've uttered something about a match I've often had a good slap down because you are deemed to be criticising the manager, so I REALLY don't think there is a problem with the fans or the crowds at Villa Park. There are always going to be a minority who don't agree with any manager, should that matter to the man at the top - and that is what a manager is lets face it - we all have opinions on football, who we would buy, play, formations etc but only ONE person has THE opinion that counts.
Surely you have to be secure in that knowledge when you are the man in charge?
Football is a pressure game though and recently MON was saying most managers are only two games away from a crisis. The flipside surely is they are very well compensated for being managers? I'm not sure I would like the job but I'd certainly like a million or more a year in cold hard cash! So a storm in a tea cup and no more. MON did say after the game it wasn't a big issue and joked it was his brother he was having a go at. All I hope is this isn't now blown up by the press, it was a silly incident over quicker than a blink of an eye (if you blink your eyes very slowly!) and out of a crowd of more than 35 000, if 5 or 6 people are heckling, I'm not sure it is a major problem - unless they are heckling me, then grab the lifeboats and get me out of there..!
Hopefully this will be ignored by the nationals, if not it will again reflect badly on us and those who spend their money and go down to games don't deserve that in my very humble opinion. Could have been worse I guess, he could have called me a tw*t!
Join Vital Villa
Date:Sunday January 17 2010
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