The Premier League season officially kicked off on Sunday with Manchester United grabbing the first available piece of silverware on offer by beating Chelsea 3-1 at Wembley in front of large audience.
The match opened with a frenetic pace as both sides saw early chances come and go with no end result. Paul Scholes enjoyed a man of the match performance as he continually picked out passes with accuracy and precision. United used width through Antonio Valencia in attack while Chelsea’s Michael Essien and Florent Malouda were largely responsible for their positive forward moves.
The match ebbed and flowed with exciting and dull moments. A myriad of substitutions were used throughout the day and United fans got to see Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez make his competitive debut and score a quite incredible goal that actually went off his face and in.
One thing I noticed however very early on in the match were large portions of fans from both sides booing the England players when they touched the ball. First it was Ashley Cole, then John Terry, Wayne Rooney and even Fabio Capello as the crowd let the underachieving England players know exactly how they felt concerning England’s poor World Cup display.
The idea of Chelsea and Manchester United fans specifically targeting only England players with booing again brings the club v country debate to the forefront of football. As upset and unforgiving as the England fans were after the World Cup, why boo the England players during a club match? Why not wait until England’s next friendly v Hungary this Wednesday at the very same venue to let your frustrations out?
I myself have never been one for booing. Although I support a fan’s right to do it, it’s never really interested me or been a part of my personality. I get the fact that when you’re upset about something, you want to let your voice be heard, especially when you’ve paid your hard earned money to support your country. But I believe the fans who booed the English players on Sunday during a club match were ill-timed and inappropriate.
The lackluster effort from the fans in their displays of disapproval were ultimately washed out by a sort of ‘call and response’ cheering from the opposition fans. When United would boo, Chelsea would cheer. The gesture, although passionate and honest, was a waste of time and had little lasting effect on the game itself as it progressed.
I’m just one supporter with one voice. If you’re an England fan, how did you feel when only the English players were booed during the Community Shield? If you were at Wembley, how many Chelsea and United fans actually booed the English players? Does booing even have a place in football, or is it a silly ritual that has no lasting effect on the players who receive the treatment?
Even as Capello has named a new look England, if Sunday’s Community Shield sets precedence and is the appetizer, then Wednesday’s friendly v Hungary will be the main course for England fans who haven’t yet forgiven their heroes for such a dismal display at the World Cup. If the boo-birds come out on Wednesday, which they’re sure to do, at least the protest will be a more appropriate and focused display of disapproval than the Community Shield was on Sunday.