Football League Bloggers
Shaun Derry, Kevin Davies and Guy Branston on impact of football fans
We ask Shaun Derry, Kevin Davies and Guy Branston whether AVB was right to question the Spurs fans.
Last Updated: 07/11/13 2:12pm
As well as a weekly blog from Crystal Palace striker Kevin Phillips, we will also be speaking to three seasoned campaigners in the Football League.
On-loan Millwall midfielder Shaun Derry, Preston frontman Kevin Davies and Plymouth defender Guy Branston - who all appear on Sky Sports News Radio's Football League Hour - will be chatting to us about all manner of footballing issues.
Recently sports fans have been making as many headlines as the professionals. From the terrible scenes in Moscow last week when Man City's Yaya Toure was racially abused by CSKA fans; to F1 lovers booing World Championship winner Sebastian Vettel, and then Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas publicly criticising the club's fans for the lack of atmosphere at White Hart Lane.
With this in mind, this week we asked our bloggers about the importance of fan support, the toughest fanatics they've come across and the favourite song they've heard sung for them...
I was very surprised with AVB's comments. I was surprised that he vented his frustration at the fans. There's going to times this season where, with the greatest respect to Hull, they'll be playing bigger games and bigger opponents and he's going to need the fans to create that twelfth man. By publicly lambasting them the way he did after the Hull game, in my eyes, I feel that's pretty short-sighted.
It's immensely important to have the fans on your side and I think it's one of the biggest factors. When you're out there on a Saturday afternoon at three o'clock and the fans aren't behind you as a manger and a group of players then the whole task becomes even more difficult than it already was. Being relatively new to the hot seat at White Hart Lane in hindsight he might look back on his remarks and regret them.
I remember playing down at Portsmouth at Fratton Park and everybody who has played for them and managers alike will echo my thoughts on the fans down there because they were the twelfth man. They've seen some remarkable ups and some dramatic downs there and that group of fans are your perfect bunch really, they're always sticking up for the team.
My club at the minute, Millwall, can cause such hostility at games for the away team and it's a massive plus point for us. I've experienced that in the short time that I've been here, they've really got behind the team and it is an uncompromising place to play at.
I'm the not the type of player that gets people out of their seats so I've not had an awful amount of songs about me. But I think the one that stands out is 'Shaun Derry, my Lord' that the QPR fans used to sing. Still to this day I don't really understand what it means but it was nice listening to it!
I think AVB is being very honest, which I like. You often get players and managers saying they found the support great regardless because they want to keep the fans on board. It seems like he may have upset a few, but he's obviously doing it to try and get a reaction. He feels he's doing a very good job at Tottenham and I think he is as well. The fans should be very pleased regardless, they want exciting football and they've lost Gareth Bale, but they're still winning games and grinding 1-0 wins out. I think as soon as they hit their form I think they'll go on and win by scoring a lot of more goals.
A good friend of mine is a Spurs fan and he's really happy with the way it's going. Fans are going to have their opinions because they pay the money, but ultimately all they want is success really and I think that out-measures the style of play.
Everyone plays better when there's a good atmosphere. We played against Coventry recently in Northampton and there were only a couple of thousand people there and you've got to try and get yourself up for the fixture.
I always enjoyed playing at the old Dell with Southampton. The ground was really tight and you felt like you were right by the fans. A lot of teams found it hard and intimidating to go there, but I really enjoyed playing there. The fans were right on top of you and it helped the atmosphere. It's also great when you play under floodlights in the night games and a lot of players prefer the atmosphere under the lights.
There's always a really special atmosphere when you walk out at Anfield and you can always hear the Kop singing. It can be a real tough place to play; I think I've lost 4-0 and 5-0 there before and the crowd were so loud it wasn't a fun game to play in. I also really enjoyed playing at St James' Park because they absolutely love there football over there in Newcastle and they work all week to pay for football matches. That place gets rocking and it's one of my favourite places to play just for the atmosphere.
My kids like to sing the 'Super Kev' song. My four-year-old likes to sing that one, but I need to give him a bit more to sing about at the moment!
AVB is having a good season. I think he's trying to interact with the fans and I think it came across a little harsher than what he actually said. It was a disappointing atmosphere in his eyes because of how well they've been playing; they can't always be in tip-top condition for the entire campaign and that's the issue that fans have to understand - they can't play the sexy football they want to watch all the time and I think he's just trying to put that point across.
Fans pay good money for Premier League tickets and they expect to see a certain standard of football for that. Sometimes when clubs have gone long periods without performing fans should make it known that they're not happy to give them a kick up the backside.
AVB's comments have been noticed and the players will now be sitting there going 'right the fans are on our backs, we've got to turn up and perform at White Hart Lane and play the football that they want'. This will make certain players wake up and smell the coffee.
The Arsenal crowd really got on at Aaron Ramsey last season. He'd come in with a big price tag and kept getting injured; fans want value for money for the product they helped pay for. You talk about players as commodities and if they don't produce it's going to be seen as detrimental for that club. Now Ramsey's producing week-in, week-out and is probably the best player in the Premier League at this time. That's where the mentally strong players come and really show their strengths by not letting the fans and the crowd get on top of them.
I think the hardest fans I've had to play against have been at Millwall. I enjoyed the experience if I'm honest and I enjoyed the thrill of being a wanted man by the fans - being bullied, being verbally abused, physically assaulted with coins bouncing off my head - it was just something that I liked.
There was a real Colosseum-type atmosphere back at the Old Den and they carried it on for a bit at the New Den and I know it's a vibrant place there now but it has lost a bit of that feel it used to have at the Old Den. That is something that I'll never forget.