NICK JACKSON: Top clubs can learn from honourable Fives
11:00pm Friday 1st March 2013 in Sport
I RECALL a song I used to hear in my childhood called “Football Crazy”.
Events in the last 24 hours at Chelsea have illustrated that the higher up the football pyramid you go, it gets ever crazier.
I have commented previously on the madness of the situation at Stamford Bridge and what you could euphemistically call the eccentricities of owner Roman Abramovic.
And we now see Rafael Benitez in a virtually untenable position, even as so-called “interim” manager.
According to Benitez, giving him that title was a massive mistake, giving fuel to a section of Chelsea malcontents who targeted the former Liverpool boss as the Blues beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in Wednesday’s fifth round FA Cup tie.
It irks me how collectively stupid the Chelsea fans seem to be. In fact, it always irks me when fans of any football club boo their own team.
Any manager will tell you when opponents hear fans barracking their own players or manager, it automatically lifts them.
That’s not just basic psychology, but common sense any child aged seven upwards should be able to grasp.
Benitez reckons the fans’ actions could cost Chelsea a top-four place, and I hope it does.
He also said in his post-match press conference the only reason supporters are unhappy with him is because of his Liverpool background, which is probably right.
The madness, however, is not universal and something happened locally this week to encourage me to believe that not everyone in football has lost their marbles.
Walkden amateur side Fives Athletic resigned from Manchester League’s First Division after voluntarily suspending a number of their players following a 22-man brawl which forced what proved to be their final match – against AFC Bury – to be abandoned.
Officials of the 45-year-old Harriet Street club took the disciplinary action knowing they would not be able to field a team last weekend and which would leave them no option but to quit the league because they could not fulfil their fixture.
Fives secretary John Cootes described the decision as very, very painful, and I can understand that, bearing in mind the work people like him put in behind the scenes purely for the love of the game.
His committee took the view that upholding Fives’ reputation was paramount, regardless of the consequences – a decision which I applaud.
There are clubs much higher up the football ladder who could learn from their laudable example.