Swindon AdvertiserTHE SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN: Donny heading in right Direction (From Swindon Advertiser)

Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us

THE SAM MORSHEAD COLUMN: Donny heading in right Direction

Swindon Advertiser: The Sam Morshead The Sam Morshead

ON WEDNESDAY night, Doncaster Rovers pulled off the biggest footballing gimmick of all time in recruiting 5,333 ‘fans’ to watch a reserve team game against Rotherham United.

They weren’t there to see Scott Shearer or Miles Addison, surprise, surpise, but to cheer on a floppy-haired member of the world’s biggest boy band as he played 25 minutes as a full-back.

The crowd at the Keepmoat Stadium is usually made up of hardened Yorkshiremen and women who’d certainly put you in your place if you were to suggest something vaguely negative about their club, but they’re like puppies when stood alongside One Direction fans, who swarm like genocidal bees at the slightest notion that Niall Horan styled his hairdo on Jedward’s blonde mops.

Okay, we’re drifting away from the point. The premise of Tomlinson turning out for Rovers was designed to attract a little attention for the Championship club, get a bit of money in the coffers and raise cash for local charity Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, of which he is a patron, in the process.

Yet the inevitable vitriol accompanied the 22-year-old’s debut on social media, with hundreds of posts across Twitter and Facebook claiming, in slightly more ‘family-paper-friendly’ terms, that Tomlinson’s appearance was an insult to footballers who’d dedicated their lives to their profession.

Nonsense. That’s the hyper-sensitivity of the sport in action once again.

Tomlinson was representing a good cause, promoting his hometown club nationwide and giving his own fans a little something extra - something evidently well appreciated seeing as a couple of bonkers Mexicans flew 13 hours to watch his second-half cameo.

His run-out in a reserve team match was as much of an insult to professional footballers as a professional footballer’s regular column in a major national newspaper is to budding writers.

When insightful, ex-pros’ columns in national dailies are as good as anything you are likely to read in the sports sections but they are few and far between. Too often we’re presented with ghost-written, cliche-laden slodge that has no real value but for the name embossed in gold letters above it.

But society reacts to familiar faces - in every walk of life.

It’s the way the world works - the public isn’t necessarily drawn in by acumen or ability but by celebrity and star status; that’s why Katie Price has an entire page to herself every week in The Sun, that’s why Piers ‘I love Kevin Pietersen’ Morgan was drafted in to judge Britain’s Got Talent.

Both Price and Piers have their own talents and strengths, all innuendo aside, but the former is unlikely to ever get near the Pulitzer (no, they’re not hair straighteners, Katie) and the latter’s grounding in journalism certainly won’t have given him the ear to pick out the next great vocalist.

But they draw in the crowds, the readers and the viewers, just as Sanath Jayasuria or Vitali Klitschko encourage votes in Sri Lanka and Ukraine, where the ex-cricketer and former boxer have knocked career politicians down the ranks.

A knowledge of reverse swing won’t help win swing voters and, while majority decisions in the ring and at the ballot box are similar, you won’t win an election by knockout.

So, no, Louis Tomlinson’s appearance on Wednesday night wasn’t an insult. A world class gimmick, yes. Nothing more.

 

STOP MOCKING YOUR OWN

MAYBE I’m out of touch with how to be a football fan in the modern day.

Admittedly, given the nature of my job, I haven’t stood rank and file in the not-so-terraced terraces for a few years and in that time everything seems to have changed.

I recognised how much my understanding was lagging during Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw between Swindon Town and Crawley Town and started taking notes.

Apparently in 2014 we believe in tough love. Sarcastic jeers and the odd boo are now considered appropriate encouragement for a 19-year-old goalkeeper making his home league debut.

Tyrell Belford took plenty of stick from Leyton Orient fans last weekend but their various taunts and teases paled in comparison to what the young stopper received from his own supporters in midweek.

It seemed totally bizarre. ‘Here’s a good idea, our regular number one is out for three weeks and our play-off hopes are hanging by a thread. It’s probably in our best interests to make a teenager, in the most isolated and exposed position on the pitch, feel as unappreciated and nervous as possible within the first half-hour’.

People, please; anyone who believes Belford was actually trying to distribute the ball as badly as he did needs quarantining - he’s an ambitious professional who’s been taught to play a certain way and on Tuesday he had a bad night.

The rest of this season could be a long, hard slog if fans choose to make it so. Town will have to do extraordinary things to make the top six but they won’t finish anywhere near the bottom four.

This term was always meant to be one of consolidation but the way the Robins played in August, September and October raised expectations beyond reasonable levels.

Now Swindon are the victims of their own surprise success, burdened by a dozen or so exceptional performances in the first three months of the campaign and some audience members who don’t like ‘tippy, tappy football’ but moan when long balls down the channels don’t hone in on their intended target like a heat-seeking missile.

Swindon Town will never have the perfect team, with the model in place at the County Ground now there will be periods of weeks on end where things just don’t work as most of us would like.

The sooner we all get used to that the better, else the feelings of disillusionment currently swelling amongst the fanbase will quickly mutate into an unpalatable animosity; the kind of animosity that creates a stand-off between supporters and club.

If that happens then the football appetite of a town will rapidly diminish. Everyone - the management, players, press and supporters - needs to make a conscious effort to avoid this at all costs.

 

GETTING GREEDY

YOU know your season is going really badly when you have to resort to blackmail to keep your attendances up.

Manchester United have gone into the sort of tailspin even the very best Hollywood scriptwriters would struggle to reverse since David Moyes took charge at Old Trafford and their most recent defeat - to Olympiakos on Tuesday night - reinforced the fact that all is not well within the Red Devils’ camp.

But it’s not the lack of a combative central midfielder, Robin Van Persie’s criticism of his teammates or United’s crumbling empire post-Sir Alex that is the most alarming story to come out of the club this week.

On Wednesday it emerged that an email sent out to season-ticket holders suggested that if fans did not purchase a ticket for the second leg of the Olympiakos clash they would lose their seat for the upcoming Manchester derby.

Frankly, that kind of brazen disregard for the fans who have shelled out hundreds of pounds pre-season with the expectation of being guaranteed a place at the big games is utterly shameful.

Supporters should never be held hostage by a club manipulating their fans’ emotions like that. It shows the extent to which corporate governance and greed has stolen the sport away from the general population and the moral gutter football now operates in.

Comments (13)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

7:39am Sat 1 Mar 14

Swindon1984 says...

Agree totally on the jerring at Belford, totally out of order and counter productive, although it hasn't stopped some on here defending the stance.

Man Utd having a poor spell just makes me chuckle, for years they've been the most arrogant club going in terms of supporters and management, and need humbling badly though ultimately don't care about them one way or another, not in our league.

The Doncaster thing? Does no-one any harm does it, you'd have to be mental to cross oceans to see a "singer" for 25 minutes not even doing what he's supposedly famous for.
Agree totally on the jerring at Belford, totally out of order and counter productive, although it hasn't stopped some on here defending the stance. Man Utd having a poor spell just makes me chuckle, for years they've been the most arrogant club going in terms of supporters and management, and need humbling badly though ultimately don't care about them one way or another, not in our league. The Doncaster thing? Does no-one any harm does it, you'd have to be mental to cross oceans to see a "singer" for 25 minutes not even doing what he's supposedly famous for. Swindon1984
  • Score: 6

8:11am Sat 1 Mar 14

agifos says...

I dont think you get the mood of the fans with your description of the jeering .l dont believe that it was directed solely at the keeper but at the crab like football we are now subjected to both home and away . Yes play the ball out from the back when opponents have retreated butnot when they have kept a high line . Invariably this ends in panic or a foul in dangerous positions giving the ball away costing numerous goals/points this season . Hence the jeering is more about general play/tactics than based individually . System tactics and personnel have needed a complete rethink for weeks . Also get used to a few jeers or you wont make it in the sport its not tennis after all
I
I dont think you get the mood of the fans with your description of the jeering .l dont believe that it was directed solely at the keeper but at the crab like football we are now subjected to both home and away . Yes play the ball out from the back when opponents have retreated butnot when they have kept a high line . Invariably this ends in panic or a foul in dangerous positions giving the ball away costing numerous goals/points this season . Hence the jeering is more about general play/tactics than based individually . System tactics and personnel have needed a complete rethink for weeks . Also get used to a few jeers or you wont make it in the sport its not tennis after all I agifos
  • Score: -7

8:15am Sat 1 Mar 14

StuCla72 says...

In total agreement on the Tyrell Bedford article. He's a young lad still learning his trade. Get behind him and be supportive.

Big kudos points to Doncaster. It's as much insult to professional football as the pro-am UNICEF matches organised by Robbie Williams and other celebrity friends.

On the Manchester United email, fairly sure they did something similar a few years ago. They were drawn at home to, then non-league Exeter in the FA cup and had an upcoming game against AC Milan and would only sell tickets as a bundle for both matches.
Doing this is an insult to football fans.
In total agreement on the Tyrell Bedford article. He's a young lad still learning his trade. Get behind him and be supportive. Big kudos points to Doncaster. It's as much insult to professional football as the pro-am UNICEF matches organised by Robbie Williams and other celebrity friends. On the Manchester United email, fairly sure they did something similar a few years ago. They were drawn at home to, then non-league Exeter in the FA cup and had an upcoming game against AC Milan and would only sell tickets as a bundle for both matches. Doing this is an insult to football fans. StuCla72
  • Score: 6

8:35am Sat 1 Mar 14

smirg kcab says...

If you are are a pro and taught how to play, and you can't play the way you are taught then you have two choices you either stick with it and get booed or jeered. Or you go against the grain and play your own game which you are comfortable with.
Lets be fair we should have been one down in the first minute after that pathetic kick he done. If he can't kick then the defenders shouldn't pass back unless its the last resort. Mind you at least he had two shots in the first half, two more than smith who was atrocious.
Still no jeers today as no one will go.
Stuff what digby and cooper says to you, play your own game, after all your be dropped next week
If you are are a pro and taught how to play, and you can't play the way you are taught then you have two choices you either stick with it and get booed or jeered. Or you go against the grain and play your own game which you are comfortable with. Lets be fair we should have been one down in the first minute after that pathetic kick he done. If he can't kick then the defenders shouldn't pass back unless its the last resort. Mind you at least he had two shots in the first half, two more than smith who was atrocious. Still no jeers today as no one will go. Stuff what digby and cooper says to you, play your own game, after all your be dropped next week smirg kcab
  • Score: -11

10:22am Sat 1 Mar 14

STFCTID says...

I genuinely think Sam has misunderstood the point of the boos and jeers.
It was directed at the awful football that was putting ourselves under pressure not directly at Belford.
Yes it happened when he mis-kicked but he was in the position to do so because of our "tactics"
Mark Cooper can no longer hide behind the "they are young" excuse - this team has had 3/4 of a season to learn not to pass back to an under pressure keeper.
Im losing faith in this team and manager ....that is an aceivement as I am normally optimistic to a fault.
I am off to Crewe now - I hope to see many of you there :)
I genuinely think Sam has misunderstood the point of the boos and jeers. It was directed at the awful football that was putting ourselves under pressure not directly at Belford. Yes it happened when he mis-kicked but he was in the position to do so because of our "tactics" Mark Cooper can no longer hide behind the "they are young" excuse - this team has had 3/4 of a season to learn not to pass back to an under pressure keeper. Im losing faith in this team and manager ....that is an aceivement as I am normally optimistic to a fault. I am off to Crewe now - I hope to see many of you there :) STFCTID
  • Score: -1

10:23am Sat 1 Mar 14

Since 1950 says...

The Donny thing was a charity event so why it should attract negative comment I don't know. We'll done all involved.
Jeering your own, especially a youngster, is not a good thing. I think it was more a frustrated comment on our style of play which apparently some believe will get us nowhere. Steve McMohan was never liked and got stick from Town fans - and he won us a title. Can't please all the people all the time.
As for the Utd blackmail of their fans, well the have to pay Rooneys £300k per week somehow! I hope they go bust!
The Donny thing was a charity event so why it should attract negative comment I don't know. We'll done all involved. Jeering your own, especially a youngster, is not a good thing. I think it was more a frustrated comment on our style of play which apparently some believe will get us nowhere. Steve McMohan was never liked and got stick from Town fans - and he won us a title. Can't please all the people all the time. As for the Utd blackmail of their fans, well the have to pay Rooneys £300k per week somehow! I hope they go bust! Since 1950
  • Score: 4

10:36am Sat 1 Mar 14

Redgollum says...

Good luck to Doncaster. I didn't realise that reserve teams were still in existence. In that sort of game, to put a local lad, albeit a celeb, on for half an hour cannot do anything but benefit all concerned. He will have been proud to wear the shirt, no amount of money could get you that.
And, he must have some skill, probably not fit enough for a whole game, but I applaud him for risking making a fool of himself.
As for Belford, well we don't have anyone else. If we think of Fodders as an asset to be sold, then we need a replacement with some experience next season.
MU - I remember when little Lou took over. He arranged them to play a friendly at the CG. But, such a big club only put out a reserve side. Even so, they were allowed to wear their red & white in their honour. It was the only time in fifty years that I didn't see us play in red at home.
Good luck to Doncaster. I didn't realise that reserve teams were still in existence. In that sort of game, to put a local lad, albeit a celeb, on for half an hour cannot do anything but benefit all concerned. He will have been proud to wear the shirt, no amount of money could get you that. And, he must have some skill, probably not fit enough for a whole game, but I applaud him for risking making a fool of himself. As for Belford, well we don't have anyone else. If we think of Fodders as an asset to be sold, then we need a replacement with some experience next season. MU - I remember when little Lou took over. He arranged them to play a friendly at the CG. But, such a big club only put out a reserve side. Even so, they were allowed to wear their red & white in their honour. It was the only time in fifty years that I didn't see us play in red at home. Redgollum
  • Score: 0

11:05am Sat 1 Mar 14

smirg kcab says...

Funny no one comments why, but I'm wrong with the minuses lol.
Fickle people.
Funny no one comments why, but I'm wrong with the minuses lol. Fickle people. smirg kcab
  • Score: -4

11:05am Sat 1 Mar 14

swindonBill says...

Surely the season ticket holders have already paid for the ticket they cannot stop them going to see the derby without banning them for the season,for a punishable act,not simply because the didn't go to a match, this can be dealt with through the courts.
Surely the season ticket holders have already paid for the ticket they cannot stop them going to see the derby without banning them for the season,for a punishable act,not simply because the didn't go to a match, this can be dealt with through the courts. swindonBill
  • Score: 2

11:14am Sat 1 Mar 14

Scouse Red says...

Agree with most of the comments on the crab (yes crab) like sideways and backwards first football we've had in the last few weeks, saying that it did sound/look like we were getting at young Belford, who don't forget was a penalty shoot out hero earlier this season. He's got to play for a few weeks and looks a **** site better than Bedwell although admittedly not seen too much of him. We are were we are folks, crucial time of the season, some big games to come at home. I actually spoke to Cooper on Tuesday ahead of the match briefly and he said it's been a challenge with a few key players struggling at a key time, fingers crossed they can raise their game up to where it was earlier this season. The time to take stock is at the end of the season, we're not going down, probably not going up although be a bit of a brucie bonus, but consolidated season. I think most fans would have taken top 8/top 10 at the start of the season and as Sam points out, expectations were raised by the home performances especially.

As a red, I don't care what United do, Agent. Moyes doing a fine job there but rather cynical on their fans which I can't agree with.

As for Donny - fair play to them, didn't know reserve football was still going. Used to get into Anfield as a kid back in the central league days, competitive matches keep players fit and gives kids a chance to go to agame usually a lot cheaper.

Speaking of which, season ticket prices gone up for me this yeR a lot as my lad is 10 now, expensive season ahead!
Agree with most of the comments on the crab (yes crab) like sideways and backwards first football we've had in the last few weeks, saying that it did sound/look like we were getting at young Belford, who don't forget was a penalty shoot out hero earlier this season. He's got to play for a few weeks and looks a **** site better than Bedwell although admittedly not seen too much of him. We are were we are folks, crucial time of the season, some big games to come at home. I actually spoke to Cooper on Tuesday ahead of the match briefly and he said it's been a challenge with a few key players struggling at a key time, fingers crossed they can raise their game up to where it was earlier this season. The time to take stock is at the end of the season, we're not going down, probably not going up although be a bit of a brucie bonus, but consolidated season. I think most fans would have taken top 8/top 10 at the start of the season and as Sam points out, expectations were raised by the home performances especially. As a red, I don't care what United do, Agent. Moyes doing a fine job there but rather cynical on their fans which I can't agree with. As for Donny - fair play to them, didn't know reserve football was still going. Used to get into Anfield as a kid back in the central league days, competitive matches keep players fit and gives kids a chance to go to agame usually a lot cheaper. Speaking of which, season ticket prices gone up for me this yeR a lot as my lad is 10 now, expensive season ahead! Scouse Red
  • Score: -1

11:16am Sat 1 Mar 14

Scouse Red says...

Scouse Red wrote:
Agree with most of the comments on the crab (yes crab) like sideways and backwards first football we've had in the last few weeks, saying that it did sound/look like we were getting at young Belford, who don't forget was a penalty shoot out hero earlier this season. He's got to play for a few weeks and looks a **** site better than Bedwell although admittedly not seen too much of him. We are were we are folks, crucial time of the season, some big games to come at home. I actually spoke to Cooper on Tuesday ahead of the match briefly and he said it's been a challenge with a few key players struggling at a key time, fingers crossed they can raise their game up to where it was earlier this season. The time to take stock is at the end of the season, we're not going down, probably not going up although be a bit of a brucie bonus, but consolidated season. I think most fans would have taken top 8/top 10 at the start of the season and as Sam points out, expectations were raised by the home performances especially.

As a red, I don't care what United do, Agent. Moyes doing a fine job there but rather cynical on their fans which I can't agree with.

As for Donny - fair play to them, didn't know reserve football was still going. Used to get into Anfield as a kid back in the central league days, competitive matches keep players fit and gives kids a chance to go to agame usually a lot cheaper.

Speaking of which, season ticket prices gone up for me this yeR a lot as my lad is 10 now, expensive season ahead!
Silly i-phone! A lot better than Bedwell that should say. Soz and all that
[quote][p][bold]Scouse Red[/bold] wrote: Agree with most of the comments on the crab (yes crab) like sideways and backwards first football we've had in the last few weeks, saying that it did sound/look like we were getting at young Belford, who don't forget was a penalty shoot out hero earlier this season. He's got to play for a few weeks and looks a **** site better than Bedwell although admittedly not seen too much of him. We are were we are folks, crucial time of the season, some big games to come at home. I actually spoke to Cooper on Tuesday ahead of the match briefly and he said it's been a challenge with a few key players struggling at a key time, fingers crossed they can raise their game up to where it was earlier this season. The time to take stock is at the end of the season, we're not going down, probably not going up although be a bit of a brucie bonus, but consolidated season. I think most fans would have taken top 8/top 10 at the start of the season and as Sam points out, expectations were raised by the home performances especially. As a red, I don't care what United do, Agent. Moyes doing a fine job there but rather cynical on their fans which I can't agree with. As for Donny - fair play to them, didn't know reserve football was still going. Used to get into Anfield as a kid back in the central league days, competitive matches keep players fit and gives kids a chance to go to agame usually a lot cheaper. Speaking of which, season ticket prices gone up for me this yeR a lot as my lad is 10 now, expensive season ahead![/p][/quote]Silly i-phone! A lot better than Bedwell that should say. Soz and all that Scouse Red
  • Score: 0

11:35am Sat 1 Mar 14

smirg kcab says...

Funny how a reporter can hear what I couldn't ?and how things get miss construed. It was a whole team jeering if anything.
9 players were shat no getting away from it.
Funny how a reporter can hear what I couldn't ?and how things get miss construed. It was a whole team jeering if anything. 9 players were shat no getting away from it. smirg kcab
  • Score: -1

7:15am Sun 2 Mar 14

Swindon1984 says...

smirg kcab wrote:
Funny no one comments why, but I'm wrong with the minuses lol.
Fickle people.
Haven't put a score on your previous post as can't be bothered with all that, but if you want a comment, I'd just say it's genuinely depressing reading a lot of stuff you write. A bit of sarcasm or whatever can be a laugh, constant negativity is a real downer though. And even if there's nothing positive to say, there're still more articulate ways to get your point across. One liners like "home banker, Cooper out" don't exactly add much to a conversation. Suppose it's quicker and easier than forming a cogent argument.

On top of that you'd have to admit you love getting a response from your negative comments and having a bit of a row on here. We've seen it many times. Sometimes amusing, more often not. Honestly got no personal problem with you but being that much of a wind up merchant, and on the internet, with people you may never meet - well, there've got to be more enjoyable hobbies that's all I'm saying.

"No comments why but I'm wrong with minuses lol. Fickle people." I read that as no-one took the bait, no-one to argue with now. And don't believe that's too far off the mark.
[quote][p][bold]smirg kcab[/bold] wrote: Funny no one comments why, but I'm wrong with the minuses lol. Fickle people.[/p][/quote]Haven't put a score on your previous post as can't be bothered with all that, but if you want a comment, I'd just say it's genuinely depressing reading a lot of stuff you write. A bit of sarcasm or whatever can be a laugh, constant negativity is a real downer though. And even if there's nothing positive to say, there're still more articulate ways to get your point across. One liners like "home banker, Cooper out" don't exactly add much to a conversation. Suppose it's quicker and easier than forming a cogent argument. On top of that you'd have to admit you love getting a response from your negative comments and having a bit of a row on here. We've seen it many times. Sometimes amusing, more often not. Honestly got no personal problem with you but being that much of a wind up merchant, and on the internet, with people you may never meet - well, there've got to be more enjoyable hobbies that's all I'm saying. "No comments why but I'm wrong with minuses lol. Fickle people." I read that as no-one took the bait, no-one to argue with now. And don't believe that's too far off the mark. Swindon1984
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

Get Adobe Flash player
About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree