The most toxic fans in the EFL?
Friday, 28th Dec 2018 09:29 by Thomas Powell
We are toxic! You, me, the people in your row, your section, your stand – every single one of us. One mistake and we rip into the players like lions on a gazelle. I’ve grown accustomed to the man behind me swearing at our defence and shouting ‘piece of shit…couldn’t hit a barn door…couldn’t score in a brothel’ – and that bothers me.
It wasn’t always like this, I remember going to the Vetch and actually having a nice day out. Yes, I was younger and my ‘football hooligan’ testosterone levels were yet to build but it was fun - I didn’t expect much, I just wanted to see my heroes play football.
The 2017/18 season was horrible, we all know that, but what was worse was the fact I dreaded going to the games in the first place. I knew we would lose and I knew that same man would shout the same things at the players, minute after minute.
The Liberty has turned into a pit of hate and anger and that affected me, the people around me and the entire stadium – it has changed us as fans, from people who support the team to idiots who look for any excuse to vent our frustrations on Oli McBurnie because he comes too deep to actually be involved in play.
Case in point, Brighton at home last season. I can honestly say that was the worst match I have ever been to, so bad I left before the end. My mother and I actually left a game (we don’t do that unless there is an emergency or we are that shit). The first five minutes were fine, we passed the ball around our defence as usual so no one expected anything more than the usual Swans game. The next 15 minutes were a complete mess, Tom Carroll gave the ball away over 10 times, Mawson and Fernandez nearly give away a penalty each, Jordan Ayew played like Jordan Ayew.
Then, Brighton score. Glenn Murray taps in the easiest goal of his life and the fans turn. In a split second, we went from ‘just calm down and we can get a foothold in this game’ to ‘fuck this team’. The players can feel this, their heads drop and we climb all over them for not passing where we would, not running where we would, not shooting when we would. I’m guilty of this too. I gave Tom Carroll a myriad of abuse for the hour he was on the pitch. It was a ‘mob mentality’ – one person castigates a player, then two, then ten, before long 18,000 people in that stadium make an audible sign of frustration which grows in volume throughout the game. We had no imagination, we had no fight – maybe partly because the players didn’t want to be there after the goal went in – just another step towards relegation and we, the fans, never helped. We lost 1-0.
This wasn’t a one-off, I hated every single second of that season, and some of this season, partly because of the fans. All this toxicity and hatred can also be found in a neat little package on fan Facebook pages. I hate these pages, I hate about 90% of the posts in these pages. All I see is ‘Potter Out’, ‘What the fuck was that game?’, ‘…complete pile of shit’ – you writing that is the problem. I have genuinely seen pettiness that I would expect from a 6 year-old child, calling for the manager to be sacked because we’re not 30 points clear at Christmas, polls to see if Potter should be sacked, 20 year-old players being talked about like disappointing children.
That is the mentality that has become the norm in this fan base – I have never seen a set of fans that would rather see their team fail like this one. Fans are meant to support their team through thick and thin, good and bad – we abandon this team at the first sign of trouble and only come back when we beat Notts County 8-1. I complained about ‘plastic fans’ last year when the man who sits next to my mum and I said he had bought a Cardiff City season ticket for this season because he’s ‘only a fan of Premier League teams’. We are just as bad as him, we want Premier League football but we don’t want to work to get there, we would rather berate our team in the Premier League than support them in the Championship. There are times when I am ashamed to call myself a Swansea City AFC fan and now is one of them.
Swansea City AFC has the most toxic fan base in the EFL, no question, but we can change. We need to realise that we are not a team that will win every game. We have very young players who are just getting a taste of first-team football and so-called ‘experienced’ players that should’ve left years ago. We have paid the price of past mistakes with relegation and now we must rebuild to return to where went want to be, i.e. playing good, possession-passing-based football with confidence and winning games in the Premier League.
But, we are not there YET. Our first-choice striker is 22, one of our centre-backs is 21, our first-choice right-back is 23, our left-winger is 21 – they are learning. We as fans must learn also, we must learn patience and understanding.
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