Are we just the new 'bitters'?

Recent events have left me wondering whether we have produced a generation of 30-something fans so deprived of success over the last three decades, that they have become bitter and twisted about everything and everybody.

I know I am embarking on a theme now that is risking me being on the wrong end of all sorts of abuse, but here goes!

Why do some, maybe a small minority, throw coins at our former players, why do they indulge in racist abuse, why are we accused of anti-sematic chanting, why do we abuse our ex-players, why, why, why?

And why does the mere suggestion that Frank Lampard would be welcomed back at the Boleyn produce such outrage? It ain't going to happen, of course, because we could not begin to match his wages, and he'd be mad to consider it when there's easy money in the US on hand.

But Karren Brady started it all by making the suggestion in her Sun column, and Gary O'Neil then agreed it would be a good move.

Since then Frank has been bombarded with coins after scoring against us, and O'Neil has been slaughtered on fans' websites for daring to suggest such as thing. And during the last home game against Spurs, Scott Parker found himself being booed throughout the game.

I will come to the thorny subject of how we treat our ex-players later, but firstly I want to explore the reasons for the illegal behaviour some, hopefully just a few, of our fans indulge in.

Up in Manchester where I live, United fans have long called City fans 'Bitter Blues' or just Bitters for short. It's all to do with City fans spending so much time moaning and whining about Old Trafford's years of success while City couldn't win a raffle without losing the ticket!

City fans respond by calling United's support 'Munichs', because they believe that Old Trafford has dwelt on the 1958 disaster and turned it into an industry of grief.

City's lot are not so bitter these days now they have trillions of pounds and can match their local rivals and have started to win things.

Sadly we too have acquired a reputation for being bitter. All around us the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs (even Fulham have been to a European final) have had plenty to celebrate. But we have had so little due to incompetent management from the very top and a continued financial shambles.

We are a selling club. Our best young talents have been sold or wanted out to further their careers, just like you and I would want to move on from a small firm to a bigger one with more money if we had the chance. Nothing wrong with that, unless you are a footballer and are branded disloyal.

So we end up with fans who are full of suppressed anger, bitterness at the lack of success and intent on abusing anybody and everybody as they see fit.

I have never been embarrassed of my club, it has been my life, but sometimes I am embarrassed by the antics of some of my fellow fans, and it does the reputation of this club no good at all, giving the media plenty of easy ammunition.

The defeat at Chelsea was depressing enough, beaten comfortably by a much better team of expensive players. Just to get it into perspective, the player who caused us the most trouble, Eden Hazard, cost more than twice as much as the entire West Ham side that started the match.

We are a team of rejects, second division players or aging free transfers. What do people expect? Our manager did not spend a penny in transfer fees in the January window, and is now making noises about wanting big money to rebuild the squad.

Sam knows what he has got, knows what he needs for the future and knows what this group of players cannot achieve. We looked like a team that had played just twice in the previous 33 days, and we were always going to be overrun by a Chelsea side of such expense and talent.

Only the most unrealistic went to Stamford Bridge expecting anything different to what happened. So many of our games over the recent years when we have been in the top flight, have been like that.

So what do our fans do? They hurl coins at John Terry and Lampard, and now we find that some of them been have been arrested and bailed, accused of racial abuse. Our name is tarnished yet again, in the same season that we have been accused of anti-sematic behaviour at Spurs - a police investigation that is still on-going, while a couple of fans have already had their collars felt after that and have been banned by our club.

Is all this driven by jealousy, or just bone-headed stupidity? We really need to be above all this, there is too much hatred and bitterness. It does the image of our club no good.

As does the way we treat our ex-players. Yes, I'd have Lampard back, we could do with 200 goals from midfield. I'd welcome back Rio Ferdinand and Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson too. Even Jermain Defoe and 'arry too. Because they are all better than what we have and life is too short to bear grudges for this long.

Lampard left because his father, one of our greatest-ever players, was sacked along with his uncle. No wonder he was upset. Wouldn't you if your relations were treated the way Terry Brown treated Redknapp and Lamps senior?

Sure the kid made a few daft remarks, but he's had to face continued abuse for 12 years now, for what? Being the unwilling victim of Brown's treatment of his father.

And of course, our fans heap dogs abuse on Redknapp now at every opportunity. Defoe left after a quick-fire transfer requested penned by his agent. Ferdinand, Carrick and Johnson went to balance the books, as did Joe Cole, and he has been welcomed back.

People say things when they are young, stupid things. I defy anyone not to look back into their own past and not find something they wish they had not done or said. Blimey, we are even abusing Paul Ince's son Tom now, and it could have cost us the Play-Off Final.

He is just the sort of promising youngster we should be trying to sign. Fat lot of chance with that one. And now Scott Parker is getting stick. I had become almost immune to the abuse our ex-players get, so often does it happen. But even I was surprised to hear Parker booed.

Yes, he joined our most hated enemy, I suppose he half expected it. But when he was with us he gave everything, including the great goal against Wigan that saved us the season before we were eventually relegated.

I am sure behind the scenes he made it clear he wanted out to protect his England place and to prolong his Premier League career. But can anyone really blame him?

Sadly he has become yet another scapegoat for the lack of success over the last 30 years. Everyone gets booed, everyone gets the blame.

Liverpool fans have a way of welcoming back former players. If they like them, the reception is stunning. If they don't - and Michael Own falls into this category sometimes - they just ignore them, which must hurt even more. Maybe we should try something similar.

But we all love Paolo, even though he went missing for a long spell during the relegation season of 2003. And Carlos too, even though his transfer has cost this club ?30m plus. Is there not some twisted logic here somewhere?

Sadly, I feel the abuse aimed at our ex-players is now so ingrained into the club's culture, that it just won't go away. But am I the only one who finds it all now just a little tedious? It is all so counter-productive.

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