Football fans are fickle which, for a writer on the topic, can be a little cumbersome as one tries to navigate the twists and turns of the season and feel the pulse of the fans at any given moment.
That’s my problem, not yours, obviously, but I do sometimes find it baffling, at times amusing, and at other times disconcerting that people can change their minds so equivocally and with such frequency – the things football fans believe without a shadow of doubt one minute are suddenly utterly absurd the next.
Case in point is Spurs fans reactions to my assertions about Aaron Lennon – back in June, at the end of the last season, I pondered what the future might hold for the Tottenham winger. I merely suggested Spurs could perhaps upgrade from Lennon who, statistically, had had a poor season.
In 34 appearances in the Premier League last term, Lennon managed four goals and eight assists which isn’t bad but it’s not great. I was met with the most aggressive, violent and offensive comment I have ever received whilst doing my job – the squeamish may want to look away...
tottenham aaron lennon98 wrote: “'f u ever talk about aaron lennon as not good enough again i will find u rip ur throat out and stick it u ur f****n ass.'
Charming as this person was, (and I suspect given the ‘98’, this person may well be 15 years old) I did wonder whether I had been perhaps a little unfair on the England international who has been a loyal servant to Spurs over the last eight years. (Those who care to look for the comment will see it has been removed).
The point was, I wasn’t having a go at Tottenham or Lennon, I was merely suggesting both he and they could do better, given that they are one of the best teams in the country who are ambitious enough to be competing for European titles.
Flash-forward to this week, and I ventured out of my comfort zone to broach the subject of Aaron Lennon again. Having learned that the questioning of him results in my angering teenage Spurs fans, I elected to take a softer approach this time.
I was comparing him to Andros Townsend – as well as new signings on the flanks Erik Lamela and Nacer Chadli who the club brought in this summer. I questioned, tentatively, whether Lennon should be worried about his place in the team now, for both club and country.
'Aaron Lennon should be worried if Brad Friedel decided to play on the wing,' wrote the aptly titled ‘Aaron Lennon’ in the comments box.
'Lennon is pants, his assists and goals record every season are so poor its amazing to think he's a winger. A headless chicken who slaloms around the pitch and can't cross to save his life. And his goals are so rare most defenders outscore him. A truly awful player who just focus on his eyebrows and go play in the lower leagues.'
'Townsend makes him look like the Chump he is! F*** off Lennon, we dont want you!'
Well, I was just shocked. I was more shocked at that response than I was to the one in June, frankly. I know football fans are fickle but I had not expected that just months after I had suggested Lennon’s stats were sub-standard, Tottenham brought in the upgrades I suspected they would, and all of a sudden Aaron Lennon is a ‘chump’ apparently. Well I never.
image: © TottenhamFan