Liam Norclife's Chesterfield column: Booing players will do more harm than good

“I don’t mind them booing me. They can boo me but I don’t want them booing the players. I don’t like that. Have a go at me because I know I’ll get it right and I know the players will turn it around.

Monday, 26th August 2019, 1:05 pm
Chesterfield are winless in six matches so far this season.

“I actually agree with most of what they shout but sometimes you can just go over that (line). The players want to win as much as anything. I can take it cause I’ve got thick skin and I accept it more as an experienced manager.”

This was the view of Chesterfield manager John Sheridan after Saturday’s 2-2 at home to Barrow.

As the away side raced into a two-goal lead after 24 minutes, boos rang around the Proact.

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Scott Boden’s penalty right on half-time halved the deficit, but it had been an extremely poor opening 45 for the Spireites and the home faithful expressed their displeasure as the players made their way down the tunnel.

And there were boos at full-time, despite a spirited fightback to level the score at 2-2 and pinch a draw.

Booing at matches is always a tricky subject to approach and it divides opinion.

On one hand a supporter who uses their hard-earned cash to come and watch their team has every right to express their opinion as long as it does not cross the ‘line’ that Sheridan so rightly said.

But a counter-argument would be that when has booing your own players ever worked? In most cases it makes them more nervous and they go into ‘hiding’ on the pitch. They won’t show for the ball in tight spaces in fear of losing it or they won’t shoot in fear of missing resulting in more abuse.

Having said that, I have seen players up their game and improve after getting a few verbals from the crowd.

I suppose it depends on the character of the targeted player. Are they young? Or have they played more than 400 times for the club? Of course, just because a player is young doesn’t mean they can’t handle it. In fact, Sheridan himself has said that it has been some of his more experienced players that have looked nervous at playing at the Proact.

If you look at Saturday’s match against Barrow, there might be some who would argue that the boos gave the Spireites players a kick-up the backside which brought about a much-improved second-half.

But more realistically, in my opinion, it was down to Sheridan’s tinkering with the line-up.

As I have already mentioned, it is such a dividing subject.

But what I will say is booing will do a lot more harm than good. Not everyone is as thick-skinned as Sheridan.

I thought the supporters stuck with the team in the Woking game and the encouragement from the stands almost helped Chesterfield to get a point. Martin Tyler, Woking assistant manager and Sky Sports commentator, said exactly the same post-match.

And on Saturday against Barrow the noise in the second-half helped the players feel more confident and they could have even snatched a win.

I understand the frustration given what has happened at the club in the last few years in dropping out of the Football League.

Everyone is desperate for success. We all want the club to start showing signs of recovery and start moving up the table and the fans will play a massive part in that.

I’m not going to tell someone that they can’t boo, but it’s just something to consider.

*Sheridan says he will get it right and the players will turn it around and I agree.

For the second home game running he said he was ‘gutted’ at how things are going at the moment.

He is an experienced, straight-talking manager who will not stand for any nonsense.

He said before the Barrow game that he has had to be ‘honest’ with one or two players, perhaps hinting that there could be a couple of outgoings at the Proact in the next few weeks.

I think we have all been a little surprised by the slow start given the strong end to the season last campaign after Sheridan came in but it is still early days.

I can see the Spireites getting a couple of back-to-back wins and going on an unbeaten run which will remove the dark cloud over the cloud Proact.

*Racism in football has reared its ugly head again unfortunately.

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford and Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham have all been targeted on social media in the last week.

Former Chesterfield schoolboy Harry Maguire called it spot on when he said social media users should be held more accountable with those signing up having to use their passport as proof of identity.

It really angers me that people hide behind fake accounts so they can spout vile abuse.

It is time for a change and the likes of Twitter need to do more to stop it and clampdown on these cowards.