Written by Ben Jaycock
The term ‘he’s shit’ is one of the most common used phrases amongst football fans today, when expressing their opinion of a football player.
Due to our 24/7 access to sports news through social media sites, online/newspaper articles, youtube videos etc, people are watching or reading the same sort of opinions and highlights all day with unlimited access. In my personal opinion, this results in a misguided judgement and generalisation of football players ability. Opinions are now based on one bad game, not allowing for any mistakes, resulting in players being treated like robots and being allowed to make no mistakes (that a human would likely make) whatsoever.
The actual psychology of a football fan is both confusing and fascinating, and makes a huge impact on what occurs on the pitch. Fans thought process about a player is influenced severely by the media. The media have a habit of getting into football supporters heads and making them believe all that they are viewing or reading, thus discrediting and writing off players or believing them to be world beaters (resulting in obscene expectations) after just a handful of games, which eventually gets into that players mind and they then internalise that label. The constant and some say ‘unbearable’ sports news coverage, results in peaks and lows in opinions of players faster than ever before.
credit Jon Candy
For example, in this season Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has been called ‘shit’ by millions of people across the country. Somehow today it is somehow acceptable for people who may of not actually watched any United games and therefore Pogba at all this season, believe the generalised nationwide opinion of just dubbing a French international, European championship and Champions league finalist as just ‘shit’. I thought it might have been a possibility that being just 23 years of age, having a whopping world record transfer fee of £89 million would allow people to realise that it’s only a human reaction to feel pressure and feel overwhelmed by a nations complete obsession with you (resulting in the odd mistake or below par performance). Sadly, this is not the case and people enjoy jumping on the bandwagon of calling him abruptly ‘shit’ by reading between the lines of opinions made by pundits or fans just saying that word to describe him. Or it is just the direct opposite; ‘the best midfielder in the premier league’ to some United fans or the media after a decent performance. I strongly believe he’s not ‘shit’, however his performances this season (which have overall been good), does make me reluctant to call him the best, and instead maybe one of the best in the premier league, however my opinion of Paul Pogba is for a different debate.
Personally I think that it is extremely narrow minded to dub a premier league footballer as ‘shit’, especially when everyone knows the ability footballers possess nowadays, therefore it is a real head scratcher as to why the media seem to over analyse every tiny detail or mistake and replay and talk about that player in the same context over and over again. Whether it be praising or criticising, it results in misguided judgements. Obsessing about one off performances, after every game feeds supporters with the exaggerated assumptions that they believe to be true, creating a deluded opinion of a players ability.
Another example, is John Stones. At the beginning of last season it emerged that we had yet another, yes another ‘young English talent’. It may seem a long time ago but the media and the football community dubbed Stones as a player full of potential and looking like England’s ‘next big thing’. The media do what they have done in the past, identified their target (a young vulnerable English promising player), set ridiculous expectations for him and give him repeated (like they have done the opposite with Pogba this season at times) unnecessary praise and then doing the inevitable, wait the shortest amount of time possible to just criticise him after a bad game and then discredit and dismiss his previous ability. Where has that ability gone then? Who knows but according to common perception he is now ‘shit’. Ross Barkley, Jack Rodwell (back in 2010 after scoring against Manchester United in a 3-1 win for Everton was dubbed as ‘the new Rooney’), Daniel Sturridge and many other on a long list of promising ‘young English talents’.
credit Kevin Walsh
Now this article isn’t about Paul Pogba or John Stones, these are merely just examples of the media creating generalisations and harsh judgement calls that the players internalise and also us as fans of the game. It shows the worrying result of this 24/7 media over-analysing of players, is that football fans in the future not watching games and just basing their opinions off generalisations by the media and opinions they read in articles or opinions seen on Twitter or other social media sites, which we then gobble up and believe after just one bad performance by a player.
What makes being a football fan so great, is to be able to discuss and debate with fans on what you think and what your opinion is on the game or a player or any another topic of choice, because chances are your opinion shouldn’t be the same as everyone else’s and you can each express YOUR opinion, which should be your own. This is what we could be in danger of losing, due to the media’s over-analysis getting into our heads, and us gobbling up everything the media tells us.
What are your thoughts on this? Are we as football fans far too influenced or do these players deserve criticism when it’s due? Let us know in the comments below!