BACK the players, don’t break them: That is the call from Bromsgrove Sporting boss Paul Smith who was left dismayed after several of his players reported they had been verbally abused during and after their FA Cup defeat to Coleshill Town.
In a seven-goal thriller at the Victoria Ground on Saturday, the Rouslers missed out on a place in the first qualifying round after being edged out 4-3 by their fellow Midland League Premier Division rivals.
But to add insult to injury, Smith was left disappointed that two of his players had reported serious verbal abuse during the game from a minority of fans while six others were subject to harsh criticism on social media.
The Sporting boss, who kept the identities of those players involved anonymous, revealed star man Jason Cowley was subject to similar abuse in a league encounter at Bolehall Swifts last season, something which almost led to the striker moving elsewhere.
With that in mind, Smith has urged fans to support the club and express their concerns directly through him ahead of tomorrow’s (Tuesday) league clash against Stourport Swifts.
“We’ve only lost one game and all of a sudden a minority of fans think it’s okay to start hurling abuse at players,” he said.
“The season has only just started but the abuse some of my players have received is not helping matters.
“What happens if those involved make a clanger on Tuesday night? Their heads are only going to drop into the sand even further.
“As a fan, if you berate a player it’s only going to make him feel worse, which in turn will have a negative impact on his performance.
“There are better ways of voicing an opinion and as manager, if anybody has a problem then I would rather they come and speak to me directly about it rather than say things on social media.”
Smith added he understood it was only a minority of fans involved but stressed the importance to back a squad when it is under-performing.
“I really feel for the players who have told me they have been subjected to this kind of abuse because it is not on,” he said.
“Fans have got to back the players and not break them.
“Supporters have to realise players are not going to play well every minute of every game.
“They all have dips in form. It is then that they need the support from the fans the most.”