Ruff Justice for Neilson
The great thing about British society is the vast variance in views from one person to the next. Whether you’re in Bolton or Brechin, you’re bound to come across an eclectic mix of opinions from a wide range of characters.
Sure, some of those views will be toxic. A good portion, in fact. Some will fly in the face of your world view and you won’t be able to comprehend the sheer idiocy of others. You might choose to tut and walk on by, or perhaps confront the source and put your own view across.
But no matter what you do, you’ll find you cannot reason with them. Their views will be so ingrained, so utterly entrenched, that even entering in to a world of reasoned argument with them would be futile.
Take Hibernian fans, for example. Their own semi-libellous “poppy stealing” dross is trotted out so often by a segment of their support that they’re consumed by it. They hold themselves to tabloid levels of accuracy as they trot out their faux outrage. It’s life as they know it, and don’t you dare try and talk them ‘round.
But this article isn’t about the mutants of Lochend. The subject is closer to home. The group I want to discuss are – sadly – a section of Heart of Midlothian supporters. A vocal minority.
You see, a segment of our support have been disgruntled for several months now. You’ll see them venting on Twitter and elsewhere. The subject of their ire is a man they refer to as ‘Phoodle’.
That’s Robbie Neilson, by the way. The canine reference infers that he was Steven Pressley’s lap dog, and the added ‘h’ represents the silent letter within Celtic’s nickname; ‘the bhoys’.
Yes, actual grown men are trotting out that shite, and it’s all the worse for the Microsoft paint level doggie picture they share with it.
Let me state here and now that I hold no fondness for Pressley. The way he behaved after leaving the club left a bitter taste for me. I understand why he’s viewed as a pariah by some. What I cannot understand is Neilson being viewed in the same light for daring to play alongside him with a similar hair cut. It’s utterly bizarre.
The knives were out for Neilson from the moment we shat the bed at home to Hibernian in the Scottish Cup. I openly questioned the same result myself. The team choked. But the absolute obsession since then from a small group has been startling. They were dying to criticise, to the point where hiring a plane to fly a banner seemed like a sensible idea. That shite should be left to supporters of soulless EPL franchises.
As we try and comprehend their views, don’t fall into the trap of branding these people as non-Hearts. They are Hearts supporters – many season ticket holders – who adore the club, but do so through a bizarre mix of views. Pretending they’re not is deluded.
Whilst the majority are probably of sound character, some of the more vocal ‘Phoodle’ brigade members have served or are currently serving bans from Tynecastle for a mix of offences. Many are staunchly vocal in their criticism of Ann Budge, despite being Foundation members themselves. An odd paradox.
Differing views will always be at play, and I accept that. In fact, I absolutely detest blind loyalty to a cause. When fellow supporters answer a valid critique with ‘In Levein/Budge/Neilson we trust’ I want to gouge my eyes out and send them off to Pyongyang. It’s not healthy. Equally, egging on our head coach to fail in order to satisfy your own bizarre prejudice just seems mental.
It seems they will never forgive Robbie, and when the team falters they’ll be sticking the knife in. It’s the nature of the modern game. You’ll see it this season. Some were ready to charter another plane after we won last week! It’s June.
Take my advice – don’t try and reason with idiocy. Respect their right to hold a view and express it. When the plane circles the ground, voice your own opinion just as vociferously. That’s football.
Take heart in the fact that the majority look on at their behaviour with bewilderment. The moment that changes, we’re all doomed.