Cork City chairman Declan Carey has called for the club’s supporters to cease negative messages to players on social media and to unite in support in the battle against relegation.
City travel to Waterford for a Munster derby today (2pm) sitting bottom of the table, having resumed league action last week with a 1-0 loss to Bohemians. In the wake of that result, some players were subjected to personal attacks online and Carey is adamant that such behaviour is of no benefit.
“Everyone acknowledges that this is a difficult time for the club,” he says.
“We’re not used to being bottom of the table, but everyone needs to apply some perspective.
“We are fully rebuilding and, while it might seem longer, we’re still only six games into the season. We had planned for a 36-game season and that was pulled from under us due to situations outside of our control.
“People need to stop for a second and take stock and realise what we have here in front of us. We have a group of younger players, Cork-born for the most part. You could see in the Bohs game that there were players who ran their socks off for 90 minutes but, as Neale Fenn said afterwards, sometimes one-goal margins can be so decisive in this league.
“We just need to stick with them now and back them. Surrounding the club in negativity won’t achieve anything.
“Obviously, there are no fans in the stadiums but all of the games are shown online and Cork City is the number one in terms of viewership at the moment so there are eyeballs on them and being at this club comes with huge responsibility as well.
“We just need to help them as much as we can and give them encouragement. That can be done online or if you pass a player or member of staff on the street and wish them well and let them know that they have the support of the Cork people. That can be a huge factor, the extra five or 10 percent a player needs going out on the pitch, knowing that they have the backing of the community.”
Carey is keen to point out that constructive criticism is a necessary part of running a club, but classes some of the communications towards players as “pure poison”.
“I’d be the first to acknowledge that the board, the players and the staff get positive messages and that’s very much appreciated and hopefully that continues,” he says.
“Then we get some criticism too which is warranted, as a result of bad performances or mistakes the club makes, which is fully understandable and done in a constructive manner.
“Then, there is just pure poison, which is a minority of the total communication but it gets the biggest impact and shares on social media, people trying to be funny at the expense of a player and getting personal. That’s something we absolutely can’t condone among our own supporters or Foras shareholders.
“It’s not what we want to see, we want the fans to be supportive and drive the lads. If you’re not able to shout them on from the stands, shout them on social media and let them see positive messages rather than the negative ones which can show up on their feed when they switch on their phones after a game.
“There are people out there who seem to be waiting for us to lose so that they can have a pop off us. Is that a true sign of a supporter? Constructive criticism is always welcome but if you get enjoyment from the team losing games, I think you have to take a look at yourself.”