Football. It’s a game of opinions.
Every single supporter who has been at a game - and plenty who haven’t because they are stuck behind their keyboard - has fiercely-held views. And most are more than willing to air them passionately with their heart and club badge on their sleeve.
From predictions of inevitable glory to those who can spot a wheel-nut loosening at 100 yards, they are all part of what makes being a football supporter. And to be honest, the heat and humour when the sparks fly has got us through some cold dark times as supporters.
We all love a good moan. And some of the discussions - arguments - have been far more entertaining than the football following Bognor Regis Town since early summer. It makes for a lively lyrical landscape around the Rocks at the moment.
There’s “Jack in” and there’s “Jack out” smouldering away around Nyewood Lane at the moment. Jack won’t be bothered by people’s opinions. He’s seen it all before and will get on with the job in hand. People’s opinions vary massively. I read this week a couple of comments regarding the departure of Rocks striker Jimmy Wild.
One said “not good enough for this level” while another said “could have played at this level and the league above”. It’s why some of us are not football scouts. Unless you have been in the game a long time and seen players day in and day out at all levels, your judgement will be all over the place.
I’ve covered games in football from Championship to National League to the point you get used to seeing certain players a fair bit. You start to know what they can and can’t do. Working in the game you note their stats throughout but as a supporter you watch the game a little differently.
An old colleague of mine was former Portsmouth, Brighton and Villa striker Warren Aspinall. He later became a scout for Brighton and a few of former manager Micky Adams’ teams. I’ve sat next to Warren and a few other scouts in my time and the in-depth report that goes into watching a game or a player is incredible. Some players get a bad mark for the way they warm up.
I was at Barnet v Coventry working recently and one supporter was moaning about a player not being able to cross the ball. Yet the stats for that player week in week out were an incredible eight assists - from full-back - during the first two months of the season.
It makes fan judgement eyebrow-raising at times when you hear certain comments. But it’s what makes football the game it is. So whether you rated Wild or not, it was his decision to leave. And that creates a little bit of room in the budget.
A quantity of players are needed as the cold, wet nights set in – but it’s quality which will keep the Rocks at this level. Not fringe players. You can moan. You can raise your eyes. You can sound off on the messageboards at full steam. But remember, house rules apply so no swearing, abuse or offering people out. No racism or sexism. And it’s not worth a libel suit.
Welcome to being a football fan of the club you love.
* Dean Adams is a reporter for Sky Sports. Follow him @deanoadams