Preaching to a congregation that isn't listening


Before the dramatic finale arrived, on-line and at Villa Park, the usual panic driven soundbites were shared as the Spurs collective prepared for what would have been a demoralising and dangerous defeat.

'We want Levy out' was chanted by some watching on from the stands. Although this was quickly vanquished (by the second half) and once Nacer Chadli got us back into the game. At the time a single goal (and point) enough to deter the doubts and have us bask in the excitement of staging an unlikely comeback. All three points and it's '...oh what fun it is to see Tottenham win away'.

If you go to games or in particular if you've travelled away with the Spurs faithful, you know it's an infinitely better experience than watching it on tv whilst reading the uncensored nigh instantaneous thoughts of supporters that type before processing.

It's far more tribalistic, expressive and you tend to dispel (most of the) negative thoughts thanks to the sense of belonging (and alcohol consumed). Although to counter that, the atmosphere (for the first half) was described as being 'angry and unhinged'. Times are tough if the away support is also fragmented with disillusion.

On ye old Twitter, it's becoming far more common these days to scapegoat certain players or to have players face off with others in an ugly battle of comparisons between supporters aligning themselves to 'a side' because it seems it's not enough to go up against rival fans, we have to also embrace a 'us and them' culture within our own fanbase. Both of these sides obsessed to out do each other with a never ending blame game.

A case, for example, where some will defend Adebayor for scoring whilst others will criticise him for doing little else with others defending Soldado for passing, and slate him for not scoring. I find it all a little distasteful, as we appear to be kings of self-loathing, hating on some of our players with venomous detachment that goes far beyond self-deprecating humour.

It's an art-form in deflection as most desire to be unhappy and upset constantly as part of a persona that will only work if they are able to constantly fuel their agenda. I'd call it an opinion but you should be able to allow for caveats of sensibility. It's an agenda when you allow nothing, no body of evidence, to influence you to an occasional middle ground of acknowledging what you might not have believed in. Like it's somehow confirming you are weak minded or think in the same way the other lot think, the ones you've battled against during your disagreements. We call for our players to have some self-pride when we appear to lack it in abundance. Insecurity and discomfort run amok among us.

Did X play link up well and thread in a ball expertly? Did he work the channels with endless effort? Did he display desire? Yes? Worthy of an applause? No. Why? Because the same player should have scored earlier and therefore he should be berated instead. I'm all for constructive criticism, but there is something unnerving about seeing supporters call young academy players 'c**ts' and mean it. Or just slag someone off with automatic release without any unbiased conclusions being formed as a consequence of the football and nothing more. Did he score this time? He did? Are you applauding? No? Why? Oh, because he's done nothing else.

I write about this often and I know it's easy to just ignore it all and blame the platform in question (Facebook is even worse than Twitter for attracting extreme views void of pragmatism, drowned in emotion, mostly misplaced ideology that is pessimistic when the result is poor and happy clappy when it's good) but social media still remains a strong snapshot of what people think. Be it a more exaggerated snapshot thanks to time-lines and posts.

We simply have access to these views far quicker and more often than any point in history. There are no guidelines on how to support a team or when it's okay to like or dislike a player. Some people have gut instincts, stats, others simply rely on the hairs standing on the back of their neck whilst a large chunk 'just know' because we all have a sixth sense, constantly seeing an awful lot of dead people out on the pitch from one week to the next.

I'm not disputing any of this (the fact you have a right to say what you want). It's the delivery of these opinions that remains deeply flawed. It probably won't change until we move onto a future generation of social media where we plug ourselves into a pub environment chat room using an Oculus Rift virtual reality head-set or holographic projection with life-like inter-action and converse with more traditional methods - face to face - even if it still isn't authentic like an actual beer garden with actual real life people. The fact is, it doesn't matter anyway because social media is just about on par with any given pub or White Hart Lane stand. Just with more verbal bravery.

The conclusion - regardless of the internet or real life platform - is always the same one, repeated over and over again. It's far easier to hate than it is to love and our supporters are stubborn to the point of blinded faith - with players they wish to see succeed and also with differing perspectives on players deemed to be certain failures from the outset. It's not always for the good of the team and the club, it's usually all about the well being and self-preservation of ones ego and the crusade to be proved right. RT if you agree.

The point I wanted to make was that before Chadli equalised, it was all death and doom and the self-defensive mechanisms in the part of our brain that processes the football had us ready for rationalising what would happened in the aftermath. Two goals in six minutes changed it. Proving that if we are given the basics (goals, glory) we can momentarily forget the poison of the negatives. Why does it still remain easier to focus on what might go wrong? Maybe that's just how Spurs fans are built, always expecting to be let down.

It's okay to be wrong. It's okay to admit you were wrong. It's also okay to stand your ground, but if you do so, do so with admittance that there are exceptions. Or at the very least apply some balance otherwise you become consumed with being right simply because you don't want to be wrong. This might allow you to enjoy the whole experience more, even when you're not meant to be enjoying it at all.

What does it matter. I'm not insane enough to think all this can be policed or for there to be uniformed etiquette we all adhere to. However, consider if this or any other blog or website behaved in similar fashion. A frozen snapshot rather than a conversational one, with slightly more than 140 characters at a time. I'd be completely accountable for anything I wrote that was buried in a shallow grave of hypocrisy or illogical sensationalistic conclusions. Seems for the most part, you can't get away with it when it's written and presented like so. Here you need to back up your reasoning. On other platforms, not so much. Which is why there is dilution of content and misunderstanding and eagerness to get to a point without explanation.

Blogs > 140 characters

In the end, it doesn't matter because no one is going to pay attention, everyone will continue to disagree with perception differing from one supporter to the next and the chaos will continue on...and on. Want to know the real point to all of this? Football has always been this way, these opinions that create so much tension have always existed, no matter the era. We've just never had this level of immersion with communication before.

We're plugged in. We ain't plugging out any time soon.


SpookyTwitter, Social Media