Perhaps the most annoying thing about going to a football match is that supporter who sits nearby you, who seemingly goes to games solely to constantly hurl abuse and profanities at players.
Most regular match-going football supporters will know what I’m talking about. Well, at least the ones that visit Villa Park.
The odd outcry is fair enough and sometimes deserved, considering how various Aston Villa managers and players have let supporters down in recent seasons. But to do it repeatedly throughout a game, not only creates an uncomfortable environment for other supporters (to be polite), but it’s hardly the kind of ‘encouragement’ that will suddenly improve a player’s performance.
Without getting deeply into the psychology of it all, it’s essentially how frustration manifests itself in some football fans, when things aren’t going so well. Although, to be honest, some fans just have a senseless pet hate for particular players.
It’s all part of the experience of going to games and some of these people are at least known characters that raise a few laughs, when they’re not being annoying.
There is a worrying trend though in modern football, that potentially feeds such fans to make them even worse.
Such supporter mindsets aren’t helped nowadays by a trend in match reporting by certain clickbait football media, that collates the worst of Twitter comments on a player to construct hateful headlines for clicks.
The ‘player hate’ article and its negativity has fast become a formulaic approach to get clicks. Pretty much every Villa player has multiple such stories written about them during a season.
We are undoubtedly in the dumbest period of football coverage in the history of the game, where there are little standards or ethical codes in the internet age.
If you do your research on the type of sites that use such base level content, you’ll find they are basically fronts for advertising networks.
The likes of Snack Media and HITIC, based on their content have little interest in what they write beyond what triggers the most advertising revenue. The truth will never get in the way of a good headline. I say headline, because there is very rarely an actual story there.
The content itself in the greater scheme of things is completely pointless.
Local media have fast followed suit and ultimately it’s the football supporter searching for actual news and truth that suffers and wastes time.
While people will laugh off transfer rumour stories as part of the fun of transfer windows, the player hate articles though are something else. They hold a magnify glass to hate mongers on Twitter, who are sometimes nameless and comment without responsibility.
Constructive criticism is one thing and perfectly valid, but some of the examples below are irresponsibility and don’t let facts get in the way of breeding toxicity, that spills out into the stands.
Of course, it is a matter of demand and supply, and they rely on people being dumb enough to click.
Lets look at the state of some of these ‘player hate’ articles…
‘Aspiring sports journalist’ Ella Murrell for This is Futbal – one of the several clickbait websites of advertising network Snack Media
Smith Must Throw 6’2 Aston Villa player in the bin after abysmal showing on Sat
Aston Villa may have recorded a morale boosting 2-1 win over Ipswich Town on Saturday, but that does not stem away from the fact that one of their players was particularly awful.
That player was winger Anwar El Ghazi, who failed to keep up with any of his Villa teammates at the weekend, which is actually rather astonishing.
Yes, admittedly the 23-year-old had a few positive moments throughout the match – but they were vastly outweighed by the fact that he never really got going and failed to beat his man on several occasions.
This is not the first time that the flyer has submitted an atrocious performance, and by the looks of it, it will most likely be his last.
Manager Dean Smith must not hesitate to beckon the Dutchman to the chopping block, as he was simply awful – and considering Villa are in with a shout of a Championship play-off place, Smith cannot afford for anyone to hamper those efforts at this stage in the season…
…and one way they can do that is by putting the struggling El Ghazi in the bin permanently by selling him this month.
[Plus several other paragraphs slagging the player off]
1.First things first, the old headline swap clickbait trick is used, where the name of the player isn’t used in the headline to add mystery to get you to click.
If you’ve been dumb enough to click the childish article headline about throwing a ‘player in the bin’, you’re then presented with a new headline: EL GHAZI NEEDS TO BE BINNED IMMINENTLY.
2. It’s always amusing when this This is Futbal outfit withhold a player’s name in the headline, then elect to refer to him by his height. They’d rather google a player’s height then just write his name.
If you see a player’s height mentioned in a headline on Newsnow or social media, it’s the first clue you’re entering the realm of shyster media muppetry.
3. 11 paragraphs of putting the boot in with sweeping generalisations and zero constructive criticism or facts. Whats El Ghazi ever done to Ella?
4. It was only a month ago that the very same This is Futbal writer wrote after Villa’s 2-2 draw with WBA, that El Ghazi ‘deserves to take all the glory’ and that the ‘attacker dazzled the West Brom defence with his wonderful skill’.
In fact, Murrell even ventured that if El Ghazi maintained such form ‘Villa would then be a force to be reckoned with’.
Why so fickle?
5. The writer offers up the solution to Villa dropping points – ‘one way they can do that is by putting the struggling El Ghazi in the bin permanently by selling him this month.’
For Villa to actually sell El Ghazi permanently, it might actually help if they owned him in the first place…
He’s a loan, aspiring sports journalist, Villa can’t sell him.
Media Muppet Rating 10/10 – A shambles from start to finish. Somebody called it ‘lazy journalism’ in the comments to the article. It’s not journalism, full stop.
If you want evidence, here’s another article from the same ‘aspiring sports journalist’
Smith Must Axe 6ft 1in Mainstay ASAP
HUTTON NEEDS TO BE AXED IMMINENTLY
Alan Hutton has been a mainstay in the Aston Villa defence this season but it is safe to say that this performance was rather abysmal. The 6ft 1in player was the one at fault for West Brom’s equaliser after Villa had intially gone in front, and there is no doubt that he struggled against Harvey Barnes, who has been impressing for West Brom this season.
Supporters would have been relieved to see Hutton shift to the left out of the way of Barnes, but all in all, Dean Smith needs to be ruthless and axe the 34-year-old as soon as possible in time for their next fixture with Stoke City.
If Villa want to be promotion contenders, they need to be able to cope with the attacking threat from a player like Barnes – as they are only going to be faced with tougher opposition if they get to the Premier League.
1.Well, we’ve found out Alan Hutton’s height and he’s an inch taller than El Ghazi. Apart from that though, what a load of nonsense.
2. Now, it’s not hard to make a constructive case for Hutton not to be picked for Villa, but just offering up the evidence of one mistake and pegging an article on it? It’s low frequency stuff.
3. Do some research, have some standards, and write something proper, if you want to be considered a journalist.
Toxic Headline Examples:
Every week, they’ll be some articles compiling together half a dozen fan tweets to stick the boot in…
Does he want a lift? Get rid. Aston Villa Fans React to ‘ludricious’ transfer report – This is Futbal headline on Scot Hogan
‘Get out my club’, ‘First out’, ‘Has to go’- Many fans demand Villa player is sold after display – This Is Futbol headline on Orjan Nyland
Totally invisible’, ‘Lightweight’ – Aston Villa fans annihilate midfielder after Bolton defeat’ – This is Futbal headline on Conor Hourihane
‘Villa fans pile into Adomah for display‘ – This Is Futbol headline on Albert Adomah
‘A section of Aston Villa fans took to Twitter to destroy Albert Adomah for his performance in their team’s 1-0 win against Swansea City on Saturday’
Whether Villa win or lose, it doesn’t matter to their clickbait agenda.
The same goes for the HITC network, which is essentially a commercial blog network (aka ad network).
‘Dreadful’, Worst Than Shocking. Some Aston Villa fans tear into 29-year-old – HITC headline on ex-Villa loanee Yannick Bolasie, also after Villa’s 1-0 win against Swansea
‘Next Level Useless’ Some Aston Villa Fans Are Fed Up With 31-year-old – HITC headline on Ahmed Elmohamady
It’s been happening for seasons now and Media Muppets could go on and on to serve up more examples, but you’ll only have to wait until the weekend for some new ones.
Just do yourself a favour and don’t click them.