Manager hits out at supporters

Last updated : 15 February 2006 By The Chairman
Athletic boss Ronnie Moore had had a go at the Latics boo boys for getting on the backs of Richard Butcher, Guy Branston and Terrell Forbes. Latics fans have been scathing in their verbal attacks on the three players as Athletic have put in some very unacceptable performances at Boundary Park. The travelling supporters may have had an uplifting effect on the team but the home support has been lacking due to frustration caused by lack of results. The three players have been singled out simply because of their performances and supporters feel that they have a right to voice their opinions if the players are not pulling their weight.

Butcher (pictured) has had his critics, documented many times before, since he came from Lincoln and had to return to them for a spell on loan to 'cool off'. Branston's critics feel that he is good with his head but lacks the subtle skills with his feet and Forbes has had a torrid time with some supporters stating that he is one of the worst footballers ever to grace Boundary Park. Whatever your opinions of the players, there are various club forums to voice your views without publicly slating the players. It never helps the team or individuals and simply lowers morale among the remainer of the players.

Moore has hit out and said, “Last time we were at home one or two players looked like they didn’t want the ball. There are some who come in for more stick than others; they are whipping boys compared to the ones who can do no wrong. It’s human nature to worry about what people will say when you make a mistake, but they have to be bigger than that. The crowd can moan like hell at me and I wouldn’t be bothered, but not everyone is thick-skinned. Richard Butcher was the whipping boy for a long time, then he came back from his loan spell at Lincoln and did reasonably well. Against Port Vale it was back to the old ways, and you could see the criticism affected him. When we took him off, he came to the touchline before his number even went up – that showed the amount of fear he was playing under. It can be difficult to cope with something like that, although if you can’t take it you shouldn’t be in professional football."

Guy Branston and Terrell Forbes got the same kind of stick, just like they do week-in, week-out. You’ve got lads like David Eyres and Luke Beckett who are popular no matter what, and I’m not complaining about that, but then you’ve got others who tend to be singled out. These things always happen, and I had it myself when I played for Rotherham because they would forgive anything as long as I scored goals. On the other side, John Breckin played at left-back and was always the one who got hammer.”

The attitude of some people angers me because we’re doing okay after two years of struggling like hell to stay up. We are eighth in the table, the reserves are top of their league, the youth team are top as well, and apparently we’re in turmoil. We’ve talked about consolidating the club and then moving it forward, so the amount of negative stuff I hear astounds me. We haven’t played particularly well all season, but I can assure you nobody hurts more than I do when we lose, so let’s all stick together and see what we can achieve.”