Wilson’s Wisdom: Why should former players always get boos?

Ricky Holmes. Picture: Sharon Lucey
Ricky Holmes. Picture: Sharon Lucey
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Modern trends in football have a habit of annoying me more than they once did.

I’m guessing much of that is down to me becoming an old curmudgeon.

The dearth of traditional black boots is one such relatively insignificant development in recent years that irritates me.

I also think it’s downright stupid when some players refuse to celebrate a goal against their former club ‘out of respect’.

Anyway, there was no such problem when Ricky Holmes scored the winner against Pompey at Sixfields. He gave it the big ’un – and quite right, too.

Whether he would have celebrated with quite so much gusto if he hadn’t been booed by the travelling Pompey fans, is open to question.

And that behaviour is right up there with my biggest bugbears.

Holmes didn’t want to leave Pompey but was told he was no longer wanted.

Then he had a bit of a sarcastic dart at Pompey boss, Andy Awford, on Twitter recently over being told he wasn’t good enough when he has been Northampton’s best player since he arrived.

In fairness, Holmes divided opinion among Pompey fans on his long-term worth.

Impressive on his day – and he played exceptionally well at Sixfields in that first half – but there wasn’t enough consistency to suggest he could carve out a long stay at Frattton Park.

Some rated him. Some didn’t.

My own view is he did a decent job but there are better players at the club already to take the club forward.

But what was never in doubt was his commitment to the club.

He always gave everything to the cause and was voted player of the season at the end of last term for his wholehearted performances.

I had the honour of presenting it to him at the end of last season and he was genuinely delighted.

He also modestly suggested he wasn’t worthy of a place alongside the Pompey greats whose names were also inscribed on it.

So just as those fans who gave him stick will argue they have the right to express their opinion, in my view, he is not the type of player that deserves to be booed.

He might not warrant the returning hero stuff that was afforded to Hermann Hreidarsson but he deserved a bit of respect.

In fairness, it wasn’t the type of abuse that would be hurled if it was Tal Ben Haim, Izale McLeod or Jermain Defoe lining up for the opposition. Holmes himself accepted it as part of modern football and meant as ‘banter’.

However, it must have served as extra motivation for him.

Former players aren’t always the villains. Many of them served the club with great distinction and never wanted to leave.

But it seems it is the modern way to boo those who we once cheered and applauded because they now play for another team.

It often seems to wind them up even more and they perform even better against Pompey – surely that is counter-productive?

Those Pompey fans who booed are not alone either. After all of his remarkable service to Chelsea, even Frank Lampard got stick from some Chelsea fans on his return to Stamford Bridge.

That simply has to be wrong.