Football fans have a strange relationship with booing players. You would think it would be reserved for players who cheat or have proven to be racists in the past, but it rarely works out like that.
The most mindless example was always the Stoke City fans who booed Aaron Ramsey because he got his leg broken by one of their players; it didn’t make any sense and just reflected horribly on the fan base.
It now looks like some of the England support have managed to go one better/worse. The news has been dominated over the past few days after Raheem Sterling was sent home from England training after an incident with Joe Gomez that was reported by the Daily Mail and others.
The pair had squared up during Liverpool’s victory over Man City, and it seemed to carry over into England training. It’s widely assumed that Sterling was at fault because he was the one ejected from the camp.
That didn’t stop some fans actually booing Joe Gomez as he came on for England tonight. Some of Gareth Southgate’s comments have been reported in the press and he seems as baffled as everyone else:
Southgate on Gomez booing: ‘Joe had done nothing wrong. No England player should be booed when they wear the shirt. I don’t get it. All of the players are disappointed with that’
— Sam Wallace (@SamWallaceTel) November 14, 2019
Gareth Southgate says he doesn’t understand why anyone would boo Joe Gomez. Says Gomez has done nothing wrong. Will sit down and talk to Gomez to make sure he’s OK. Gomez first in and first out of the England dressing room after the final whistle
— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) November 14, 2019
In fairness, it wasn’t the entirety of Wembley that could be heard booing the Liverpool defender, but there were enough for it to be audible on the TV coverage.
Just when it looked like we might be able to move past this story and focus on football, it’s been dragged back into the spotlight yet again.
Southgate seems right to call this unpleasant behaviour out and defend a player who really doesn’t appear to have done anything wrong.