Tony Gillan: Surely the Sunderland players’ confidence isn’t undermined by constant criticism – is it?

Sunderland beat Gillingham 4-2 on Tuesday night.
Sunderland beat Gillingham 4-2 on Tuesday night.
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Football fans can only offer one thing to improve their team: vociferous booing as soon as things go wrong.

There are other philosophies as espoused by crackpots; such as saying nothing when mistakes are made or, God forbid, shouting what they refer to as “encouragement.” But who in their right mind would go along with that sort of New Age claptrap?

No, booing is the only way forward, with the notable exception of outright abuse. It is scientifically proven that screaming “You’re ******* useless!” at a footballer will immediately infuse him with imperishable self-confidence and improve his game immeasurably.

Try it, then watch them fly.

Actually this is true in any walk of life. It becomes truer still when the recipient of abuse is well paid. It is inconceivable that anyone on a large salary could have their confidence undermined by constant criticism.

This is especially true of strikers. When a striker misses a sitter, he has done so deliberately. Fact. Not only that, having squandered an opportunity he will invariably feel extremely pleased about it and will giggle himself to sleep that night.

These people delight in annoying the fans and only booing can rectify this state of affairs. Furthermore, if a footballer performs badly, then his manager has no way of knowing this unless foul-mouthed invective is delivered to the player in question.

If challenged by a fellow supporter, who happens to dispute the undoubted benefits of confidence-building booing and abuse hurling, try not to overreact.

After all, anyone wishing to “support” their side, in the accepted dictionary definition of the word, has clearly declared independence from their chump. You have four defences against these loonies, other than to mutter something about political correctness.

The first is to point out that you paid for your ticket and are entitled to your opinion. The person you are arguing with cannot possibly otherwise know this.

The fact that no one on earth has claimed, suggested or implied that you have NOT paid for your ticket or are NOT entitled to your opinion – is immaterial.

Secondly, ask sarcastically if you’re expected to applaud wildly when players make mistakes.

Third, point out that anyone who claims booing is “unhelpful” is really claiming that “the fans are to blame” and that the players and management bear no responsibility whatsoever. Another fact. If you don’t boo, you don’t care.

You can then introduce watertight analogies, such as: “If I buy a fry-up and it’s no good: I’ll complain.”

Your opponent might then employ underhand debating tactics, such as reason: pointing out that swearing at the aforementioned meal would be unlikely to transform it into something they might whip up at the Savoy Grill.

If your opponent still won’t shut up and waffles about being unbeaten at home, then go for the perennially invincible fourth option: repeating what they have just said in a silly high-pitched voice.

People who neglect to scream insults at players, sadly a large majority at Sunderland, aren’t proper fans. They love it when their team is losing.

So let’s see how toxic we can make the Stadium of Light the next time the opposition strings three successive passes together. It’s the only way forward.