It was nothing to do with the poor display, seen millions of them, nor was it the cold, I've been colder. What put me on such a downer was the way our usually magnificent away support treated our two local lads: Tony Hibbert and Young Vic were slaughtered by large sections of the travelling blues. Ok, neither one of them covered themselves in glory, to be honest they both had poor games, but most of you would have seen the game and will know that with the possible exception of Howard, so did everyone else. So why do the two local lads take the abuse? Why have these two recently been singled out to be kicked from pillar to post in articles and many posts submitted to this site recently?
When Victor Anichebe made his debut a couple of years ago, we could all see he was no Wayne Rooney, but he was powerful, brave, and caused real problems for opposing defenders. He progressed a bit last year, had a terrific time in Europe gaining valuable experience while scoring some great goals. Ok we still knew he was no Rooney — they only come along every 25-30 years — but he was popular and "Big Vic" was always greeted warmly by the GP faithful whenever he was given the nod to warm up.
What a difference half a season makes... The knives are out and Vic, he couldnt' have got a frostier reception when he came on against Hull if he was Wayne Rooney. FFS Why? He's missed a fair amount of this season, he played in the Olympics, he also picked up a back injury that he can't seem to shake off.
Of course his detractors will point to his poor goal return to justify the lukewarm receptions he now seems to get, but if my memory serves me right he's only started three Premier League games. He played wide on the right at West Ham, where he had a hand in two goals and he played wide on the right at Stoke when he scored. The rest of his season has been confined to 5-10 minute cameos, even then he's been instrumental in turning games around. The curious thing is, he's only played a few hours Prem football all season, yet every man and his dog has now decided he's not good enough? On what are they forming this opinion, 5 minutes here and there?
The Yak scored but a single goal in the 11 matches before his injury — even that bounced in off his shoulder — and despite the fact that we have played much better football and our results have improved beyond measure since his injury and he's still idolised, he repeatedly made childish errors in dangerous areas that cost us points. When did Vic ever do that? And how come I've never heard anyone make excuses for Vic by saying the service he gets is shite?
Vic will never be in the same class as the Yak, you have to pay about £15 million for that, but he's a kid and there is more to come from him, provided his detractors give him a chance,
Then there's Tony Hibbert. Tony's a quiet lad, but he's tenacious in the tackle, very determined, and seems to take a pride in not letting crosses come in from his side; he's also blue through and through. Ok, his distribution leaves a lot to be desired, but that's something you can level at 99% of English defenders. Our recent run of clean sheets would suggest we are far more difficult to score against when Tony plays, the stats definitely support this. So why on earth do so many blues go out of their way to point out his shortcomings? Jamie Carragher is one of the worst passers of the ball in the Prem, but the kopites love him.
Someone wrote a cracking little article recently about his "dream derby". My dream derby would be for Big Vic to rise above some Red twat and power home Hibbo's last-minute cross, then they both do a little dance in front of the kop.
These two lads will never be superstars, but that's probably all the more reason to get behind them, let's be proud of them.
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