Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum

I'm leaving soon to go to the Reading-Palace match.

I'm not looking forward to it. I can't really afford to go but it will be good to catch up with my Reading supporting friend, Mike. I'm not sure there's any other reason for me to go. I don't think we'll win. I'm not enjoying watching football and haven't for a couple of seasons. The football hasn't been great and the social side of it has become less and less enjoyable.

I've also found myself looking at the occasional internet forum. I haven't looked at one for ages but with Palace's financial crisis, I thought I'd try to judge the mood. I've come to the conclusion that those who frequent these internet forums are the dwindling band. The average attendance has been dropping for some time now and yet these people become more and more vociferous and assume that their opinion is more and more valid.

I know I've written about this before but I was reminded of the subject for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because I wrote an article for When Saturday Comes about not wanting to renew my season ticket despite the crisis and wanted to have a look to see if there was a reaction. Well, I didn't look very deeply. I'm not completely immune to criticism.

However I did see someone state that he was falling out of love with the club and with the game. Whilst he didn't get abused, he view was dismissed out of hand. It was a "you don't count anymore" attitude that made me sad.

The second reason was something Fulham manager Roy Hodgson said when. One of his players, Bobby Zamora, has been getting criticism from fans on a Fulham website.

Zamora scored at the weekend and in his celebration, he let it be known that he did not appreciate all the negative comments. Hodgson, a man widely respected in the game for his achievements and his approach calmly told interviewers, "these people who write into the club's blogs, they're the real experts."

And he's right. They are the real experts in their own opinion. I'm not worried about what anyone says about mine because I thought about it for some weeks, wrote it up, rewrote it, forgot about it, re-rewrote and finally heavily edited it. It was then submitted for publication before receiving another edit by me and, presumably, the editorial team.

The forums are frighteningly immediate and do not reward moderate views. Like radio phone in shows, the ones who shout the loudest are the ones who get lauded.

It's a little bit like being at a football match.

And so the circle goes on.

I'll be sitting on my own at the game and I'll be quiet. Not because I never want to be heard but because when I am, I want it to be for something worth listening to.