The five bad habits City fans could quit for Stoptober

Has Mario Vrancic become a scapegoat? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Has Mario Vrancic become a scapegoat? Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Judging by the full-time reaction to City’s Brewer’s droop at home to Burton, Daniel Farke’s honeymoon period is well and truly over.

It appears many City fans have made their minds up about the German and have found him wanting. I’m not one of those fans.

When implementing a new philosophy it’s important to remember that Rome was not built in a day and this was always going to be a season of transition.

Now, I will admit the start to the campaign has been far from ideal, but one only has to look as far as one of our least happy hunting grounds to see the other edge of the sword – Selhurst Park.

Like City, Crystal Palace appointed a new boss with a footballing brain looking to implement a bold new playing style into the place – Frank de Boer. Four games (and four defeats) later and the Dutchman has been sacked and a tepid safe option – Roy Hodgson – has been brought in.

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I, for one, am glad City haven’t aborted their new approach quite as quickly and still see it being a success in the long run.

Which brings me onto how I believe City fans can help the new regime grow into the juggernaut we all hope it will become.

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As we approach ‘Stoptober’ – the month a health campaign encourages people to give up smoking – here are a few habits City fans could do with going cold turkey on in future.

• Scapegoatism

This is a drum I feel myself and fellow columnists have been beating for some time, but it is – for me – possibly the worst habit a fan can have.

I’m sure we are far from the only set of fans guilty of this, but for years, some fans seem to pick one, maybe two, players and berate their every move.

We’ve seen it with Russell Martin, somebody who always puts his every limb on the line for the club, and from where I was sitting it sounded as though his successor may already been found in Mario Vrancic.

This frustrates me, as football is a team game – we succeed as a group, we fall as a group, so why single out individuals for stick?

• “SHOOT!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a screamer, we all do. But let’s be honest, how often do they fly plum into the top corner?

There is a time and a place to let fly, of course, but cries of “SHOOT” every single time anybody gets in a central position within 40 yards is just counter-productive and helps nobody.

Nine times out of 10, a pass is more useful than a hopeful pot shot, which unless it’s the one time the ball ends up in the net, it just cheaply gives possession away, or, against teams in the Burton mould, a chance to take time away from the clock.

• Berating every safe pass

Another thing I have noticed is some fans seem to expect every pass to slice through the opposition and create a gilt-edged goal scoring opportunity.

I’ve already lost count this season of the number of times I have heard groans because somebody has played a sideways pass, or a pass backwards to one of our players.

Obviously, six or seven consecutive passes between the two centre-backs is frustrating, but when it is clear the forward options have been cut off, or one step back can easily enable three steps forward keepball is fine.

Sure there are occasions when the safe pass is infuriating, but not every time.

After all it is almost impossible to concede if the opponent doesn’t have the ball – unless of course you are Rob Ullathorne and at Portman Road!

• Berating risky passes

And then there is the hilarious other side of the coin.

I’ve also noticed a handful of occasions when somebody has looked to play the killer pass and it has narrowly failed to pay off, and even that has been met with angry groans.

My philosophy is, if the idea was good, but the execution wasn’t quite there, applaud the initiative, because next time it probably will come off.

Groaning or jeering at it means next time the opportunity to play that pass comes, the player may shy away from taking a risk.


This is a general point, in terms both of the terraces and when the dust has settled on matches.

Teams will inevitably come to Carrow Road and try to do exactly what Burton did, and there will always be times when City do need more urgency, but groaning and grunting at a slow build-up will only lead to panicked, sloppy passes and loss of possession.

More generally, though, it’s key to remember the level of change being implemented will take time to develop, so keep positive, have belief in the team and the good times will follow, eventually.

Tom Trybull has really impressed me since coming into the starting lineup.

He was – for me – man of the match against Birmingham and put in a reasonable shift against Burton.

One thing we always do as fans when a new player comes in, is try and pinpoint a past player the newbie reminds us of most – it’s the easiest way to describe somebody after all.

For me, Trybull reminds me of the man once nicknamed Mr Three Lungs – Gary Holt.

He looks dependable, hard-working, comfortable on the ball, but most importantly, looks like a leader.

Particularly against Birmingham, he seemed to be organising and was putting his foot in everywhere it was needed. And he certainly covers ground – or looks like he does anyway.

He also looks to be one of those players who you will notice most when he is not there – I think his inclusion and the fact City have gone 180 minutes without conceding are no coincidence.

I would already be looking at extending his one-year deal.

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