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Forgiving fans only interested in glory

Rich Kitto believes the love being shown to Wayne Rooney and Luis Suarez proves fans will forgive almost anything in return for success.

Last Updated: 30/10/13 at 16:49 Post Comment

Luis Suarez: Regarded as a hero, despite behaviour in summer

Luis Suarez: Regarded as a hero, despite behaviour in summer

Football fans are fickle folk, aren't they?

Back biting, refusal to play, resistance to spend, or sullying the clubs brand name - all is forgiven by the devout supporters as long as those in question produce a positive performance at the end of 90 minutes or a season.

As the cliché goes, football is a 'results business', and as such those people that pay good money want one thing seemingly above anything else - success. Though I suppose this at-all-costs mentality is difficult to argue with, or confront, when considering both the financial and emotional outlay on following your team.

Of course not everybody will toe the line that ability earns the right to supersede all. Sir Alex Ferguson recently created his own storm to rival that of St Jude by ripping through the reputations of past Manchester United icons in his new autobiography, notably with his claims that David Beckham had 'no doubt' that he was bigger than the club and that it was this mind-set that ultimately lead to his departure.

Then there were the other high-profile incidents with Roy Keane, Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy, which under similar circumstance again amounted in them leaving the club.

For Sir Alex, player power was too risky and negative an influence to cultivate in his squad: 'You are dealing with very rich young men. I always said to the directors that the minute a player becomes more powerful than the manager of Manchester United, it's not Manchester United. You have lost control of the whole club. So I always made sure that I was in control.'

Whilst the pattern for the aforementioned names is pretty clear in the respect that they were seen to have stepped over the line and were then snappishly shipped out, Wayne Rooney appears to be an exception.

From the outside in it seems that Rooney's flirtation with the prospect of him running down his contract in order to join bitter rivals Manchester City was nothing more than a rouse to hold the club to ransom over an improved salary - something that ultimately, and surprisingly - when considering Ferguson's stance - was met.

United fans were naturally outraged at the time. How dare he put the club in that position, question the integrity of the manager, and even contemplate leaving a club that nurtured him for their noisy neighbours. It was scandalous and unforgivable, right?

It's just as well for Rooney that time is a great healer, and those that loathed him now love him again, as his performances this season continue to paper over the cracks of a fairly ordinary United team.

Of course it's not just United fans that should be ostracised for such a disposition, as supporters of Liverpool currently dust off their Luis Suarez tops and tape up his posters in the wake of some outstanding performances for their club.

The Uruguayan's performance over the summer was nothing short of diabolical though, and has been covered in so much depth that it won't be here. Suarez is the perfect example of the amount of power that a player can hold over their respective clubs and supporters if they are good enough. Liverpool were simply not in a position to sell him if they retained any chance of sealing a top four finish in the current season, and everybody was aware of that, not least Suarez.

Though much credit should go to Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool owner John Henry for sticking to their statement that the player would not be sold, and now they are reaping the benefits as the Anfield faithful are back cheering his name and celebrating his wonderful goals - for the reason that he is keeping all their dreams alive that the club could make a serious challenge this year.

Though it isn't always players that are responsible for perceived wrong doing and vitriol from those fans that follow them, as the drowns of 'Wenger out' and have died down this season after heightened malice from supporters over the past few years.

Yes the board have finally spent big in order to mix it with the big boys and as it stands they're looking real contenders, but what if - after a difficult few upcoming fixtures - the wheels fall off slightly, will it be 'don't worry we're behind you 100%' or 'same old Arsenal'?

Nicola Cortese, the Southampton chairman, and the rest of the club's board received strong criticism upon sacking Nigel Adkins after promotion to the top flight, and replacing him with the somewhat unknown Mauricio Pochettino. Fast forward nine months and the club is sitting fifth in the league with the second best defensive record in Europe. Isn't hindsight a wonderful thing.

Ultimately, for better or worse, success is all that counts - it doesn't matter if it comes by way of a billionaire oligarch, a handball, from a penalty that never was, or a player that had previously turned his back on the club - as long as it enables you to continue to live out that unfulfilled dream or burning desire.

After all, in the business of results, it pays to be a winner

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