Melons! Coupons!

02 March 2013

Charlton 0 Burnley 1

A super goal from Charlie Austin gave Burnley all the points on an intermittently sunny after ...

No. No match report tonight. I want to speak directly to the man sitting next to me, and probably to the man sitting next to you.

You, my neighbour, do nothing to support the players. You don't clap the team onto the pitch. You never cheer or applaud good play, or wince and sympathise when a good idea doesn't work, or when a bold attempt at a brilliant pass misses by inches, giving the ball away. When a particular player makes a couple of mistakes you start grumbling "What a waste of space - get him off, Powell!" As the game goes on, you fold your arms tighter across your chest, determined to be unimpressed by all you see. (If the wind changed, you'd be stuck with that angry frown forever, you know.)

You may be a spectator but you're not a supporter. Suppporting a football club is more than turning up every fortnight and expecting to be entertained. It's about giving something to the players, in the bad times even more than in the good times. You, my neighbour, don't have the right to criticise players for not giving everything, when you've given nothing. You don't have the right to say they're too slow to find a teammate when you're too quick to find fault.

Charlton's home form is a problem. It's complex, and no-one seems to know what to do about it. But what's obvious is that getting on the players' backs isn't the solution. It's a very old principle, but true: if you've nothing helpful to say, shut up. Or go and watch Chelsea.

Editor's note: just imagine how many expletives I deleted in preparing this post for publication.