Port Vale 1 Yellows 2

I feel a bit bad. A few months ago Harry Worley had a Twitter account that I followed, and he followed me. Then after the Torquay game I described our defence as positively retarded. Within days not only had he un-friended me, he deleted his account.

He did reappear some times later as @hjworley88 and I re-followed him. He didn’t follow me back. Then last week, upon being asked by another user why he didn’t follow fans back, he said he didn’t like to hear the criticism directed at the players. I couldn’t help thinking that I’m one of those people. This made me feel a bit guilty, and that was before he lashed in the winner on Saturday.

I’m not so arrogant to think that my blog with it’s tens of readers forced Harry Worley to shut down his Twitter account. But it did make me think about how we comment on players and their abilities.

There are those who believe their season ticket (or, quite frankly, the fact they pay the cost of a call to Radio Oxford) is a licence to wantonly criticise anyone or anything to do with the club. I don’t buy that; for one thing its counter productive but also I don’t fundamentally believe, in the main, that people deliberately fail or under perform.

My comments are offered in the abstract. “Retarded defending” is a comment on the players (all of them), management, infrastructure and everything else that contributes to the overall impact of a defensive breach. Anyone who reads this blog regularly will know that the complacency of the fans is a constant theme – so I don’t think those in the stands are beyond reproach. So it’s the overall impact of our collective efforts not a detailed factual account of any one player or group of players I’m commenting on.

The only reason I can see for creating us and them between players and fans is that it gives fans the opportunity to let off steam about their own sorry lives to people who can’t get them back. What’s the point of that?

Worley – through the filter of Twitter – seems like a decent bloke, quite the opposite of the boorishness stereotype of a professional footballer. He’s had a pretty decent season, but nobody could argue that defensively we’ve still got work to do. But then the same can be said for any department. However, the table would suggest that the net effect this seasons efforts is a good one.

I said a few weeks ago that if we could get through the period from Southend at the beginning of February to Port Vale on Saturday vaguely in touch with the play-offs then we were in with a chance. 7 away games and 2 at home saw us accumulate 11 points. We now go into the final ten games – with just four away – 5 points off the pace. Now is clearly not the time to start squabbling.

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Oxblogger is a blog about Oxford United.

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