Sunday, 25 November 2007

Boo-Boys Are Back In Town

Football is an emotional game. I have to say, more so than any other sport on the planet. What other game brings grown men to tears, causes women and children to become foul-mouthed louts and incites much-publicised voilence between rivals week in, week out. Not that I'm saying any of these things are good but they all emphasise how strongly people feel about the sport.

You only need to see the fall-out from the failure in mid-week to understand what I mean. Yesterday saw the resumption of Premier League matches following a dismal international week for this country. The disgraced England internationals were back representing their clubs and after the Croatia debacle, fans up and down the country were not quite ready to forgive and forget...

The first game of the day saw Liverpool take on Newcastle at St. James' Park. From the get go England captain on wednesday night Steven Gerrerd was bombarded with a chorus of boos from the home crowd. Later in the day Aston Villa's Garath Barry and keeper Scott Carson were on the recieving end of booing from the 'Boro faithful and in the evening, Chelsea's entire English contingent were not given a minutes rest from the Derby crowd. Even Paul Robinson is getting grief from West Ham fans as I write this.

Frank Lampard and David Bentley have faced abuse recently, David Beckham more so in 98. Fans venting thier frustrations at those deemed as letting their country down is nothing new.

There is a justified collective disappointment felt by the England fans who are entitled to be disappointed. The 'experts' have been quick to condemn the jeering but credit must be given to the players. Gerrard and Terry both said it was understandable and expected. Nice to see them taking responsibility. Shame that it's just a little too late.

The question remains as to whether it is right to jeer the players. Esspecially now that they are representing their clubs. Those who advocate the abuse cite the infamous Club v Country row which is again brought to the fore.

Yesterday, Shawn Wright-Philips scored, with Frank Lampard getting an assist. Garth Barry also got an assist with Scott Carson keeping a clean sheet in the same game - despite a few scares. Steven Gerrard played brilliantly scoring a screamer and being heavily involved in his side's other 2 goals.

Why is it that these players can all do a job for thier clubs but not for their country? The same players I mentioned performed so gutlessly on wednesday it's difficult to believe they were same ones who took to the field yesterday.

So what was the difference? It is a question of motivation? Say what you want about the quality of management, there should be no greater motivation than the fact you are playing for your country. It says a lot about the players as people when they are clearly more committed to playing for their clubs. It can be argued that seeing as the clubs pay their wages they owe more to their employers and hence play better. But is money really more important than national pride? Evidently it is. If you dont believe me, consider John Terry and Rio Ferdinand's 'injuries' that kept them out on Wednesday and how they were fit enough to play 90 minutes for Chelsea and Man Utd some 2 days later.

This is why international football is becomng less and less important. The players dont care about and seemingly neither to they care about the jeers. And very soon, when the fans realise their boos are falling on deaf ears, they'll stop caring too.

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