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Ashley Cole’s Mistake Highlights England’s Real Problem

I have to say I was pretty disgusted after the England game yesterday.

But before anyone assumes my reaction came as a result of a below par first-half – it didn’t. Of course, I was no happier than anyone else after the first 45 minutes, Kazakhstan were defending in numbers and without the width we needed, England didn’t manage a shot on target in the first half. Naturally, supporters aren’t happy about that, but is booing them off at half-time really the way to go about motivating them?

Pretty pathetic if you ask me, although not quite as pathetic as your average England ‘supporter’ at Wembley having an almost obsessional need for a scapegoat. Cue Ashley Cole.

Ok, he’s hardly won any popularity contests since he moved to Chelsea, and his backpass-come-goal assist was a bit of a howler, but these people need to seriously get a grip. Turning him into the latest whipping boy within seconds, whining and booing every time he touched the ball was just beyond embarrassing. Talk about spoilt brats! They honestly don’t feel as if they’ve been to an international unless they’ve vented their spleen at someone.

Not that this is anything new of course, we hear it at some point in every England home game that’s played, but it’s just starting to wear a little too thin these days. If these ‘supporters’ are so unhappy with watching their national team, why do they bother? Do they honestly think they’re doing England a favour? Because they’re clearly not.

When do any of the players ever look as tense walking out onto the pitch for their clubs? They don’t. When do any of them look nervous throughout a game for their clubs even when they’re a couple of goals up? They don’t. When do any of them make unforced errors for their clubs despite having been in some of their best form ever prior to the game? They don’t. And finally, when do any of them feel they have to apologise for a 5-1 victory with their clubs just because they struggled against a very defensive side for 45 minutes? Guess what? They don’t. So why do they do all these things when they play for England at Wembley? Because it’s not full of supporters who really give a toss.

Wembley isn’t the place where the home crowd all want the same thing. It’s full of football tourists who expect Premier League football. They want Manchester United players to put on the same show they do when Cristiano Ronaldo’s, Carlos Tevez et al are in the side. They want Chelsea’s players to link up as if it’s Ballack and Essien in midfield rather than Gerrard and Barry. Sod the fact that it’s just not realistic – this gives them the perfect excuse to whinge like bitches. The fact is though, this total negativity at home is largely responsible for the performances it berates.

However, at long last the contempt shown for players appears to have provoked the response it deserves, with the England manager and players speaking out.

Capello: “I don’t understand why the crowd boo one player. He is an England player, it was just a mistake. You have to help the players more when they make a mistake.”

Ferdinand: “It is disappointing. When any player makes a mistake all you want to do is get behind them and gee them up. It doesn’t help when the fans are booing one of your own players. Hopefully, the people who did that feel a bit ashamed of themselves. I thought Ashley played well today, other than that. Everyone makes mistakes and you have to get on with it.”

Rooney: “I think the players are really disappointed to be honest. We know that players make mistakes. It is part of the game. I think the fans should really get behind a player when they make a mistake and not boo them the way they did.”

Defoe: “It’s very surprising. Ashley for me is one of best fullbacks in the world and he’s very consistent. It was harsh because he has always played well for England.”

Meanwhile, Ex-Chelsea man Grahame Le Saux suggests “Their behaviour was nothing short of a disgrace. Treating one of your own like that doesn’t benefit anyone.”

I couldn’t agree more although unfortunately, with the new breed of England’s home ‘supporters’ (aka 12 year old Chavs interviewed by SkySports outside Wembley) suggesting the booing is valid because “these players need to learn their lesson”, it wouldn’t appear as if things will be changing anytime soon.



Blue is the colour is an honest insight to the World of Chelsea FC. Not always pretty, sometimes rather cynical, but always realistic.


October 2008
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