The latest Derby County BlogCast is now live.
This month, Chris and I spoke to David, who created the DCFCFans forum. David told us a little bit about how much he has learned in the last decade of running the forum and reading the thoughts, jokes and rants of thousands of Rams fans (including a lesson in the legal implications of being a publisher, courtesy of Mel Morris….) When you think about it, the internet is a very different place now to what it was back then. If Derby had a season like 2007/8 now, the toxicity of Twitter and the message boards doesn’t really bear thinking about.
Another thing I’m glad we talked about this month is the ‘scapegoating’ culture which has developed online – again, this seems to affect all walks of life and football is no different. Chris was justifiably forthright about how pathetic he finds it when supporters decide en masse to get on the back of one individual and blame them for all the team’s failings. So many players have had their turn in the past couple of years and at the moment, it seems to be David Nugent who is attracting the Twitter trolls.
Constructive criticism is absolutely fine, in any walk of life – football is no different to that. And we all get wound up after a defeat, but the point Chris and David both made was how counter-productive it is. I’m sure Nuge doesn’t give a flying one about them, but other players may not be as grizzled and thick-skinned as him. They’re all individual human beings. It’s obvious that Tom Lawrence, for example, felt it – that cupped-ear celebration to his own ‘fans’ against Preston said everything about how the abuse had affected him.
This stuff matters and it has an effect on individual people, but also on public discourse in general. As a (trifling) example, I recently wrote a piece on ‘Spygate‘, the scandal which broke after a Leeds United spy was identified at Moor Farm and apprehended by Derbyshire Police. However, I chose not to tweet it – the first and only time I haven’t tweeted one of my stories. This was because I tweeted an opinion on their conduct after our defeat at Elland Road and spent the next three days being abused by Leeds fans. After a while, the only thing to do was to either mute or block them, depending on the severity of the abuse. I can deal with this crap, but other people have experienced far worse levels of trolling and hatred. It’s not acceptable (Jon Ronson’s “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” is a great book on this subject, for anybody who wants to look into it.)
Back to the football and we discuss the disappointing performance at Ipswich, the disappointing performance at Brighton…. And the bigger picture, which is one of a decent season overall, which has set us up for a big run-in – with plenty of home games against the strugglers to come, starting with a big opportunity against Millwall – but also some trickier games, not least the next East Midlands Derby at the City Ground.