Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stubbs Issues Warning to Cats Fans

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Stubbs Issues Warning to Cats Fans

Article excerpt

Byline: By Paul Gilder

Sunderland defender Alan Stubbs has told the supporters who barracked Kelvin Davis during Saturday's calamitous defeat by Portsmouth that their actions could cause irrevocable damage to the club's survival prospects.

As the Black Cats were routed 4-1 by one of their chief relegation rivals, large sections of a frustrated crowd turned on their demoralised keeper, who cut a disconsolate figure as he left the pitch with the boos still ringing in his ears.

Having been made a scapegoat on numerous occasions this season, the out-of-form 29-year-old is suffering a severe crisis of confidence as he struggles to convince his doubters of his capabilities.

But, as the Wearsiders closed ranks around their traumatised team-mate, Stubbs insisted it is not only Davis whose performances stand to suffer as a result of the hecklers. "It (the booing) wasn't good and I'm sure when people sit down and think about it they will realise they were wrong," said the experienced centre-half, who was disturbed to see one supporter run onto the Stadium of Light pitch to remonstrate with Davis. "It just isn't right. People have to realise that the players are all human. We make mistakes.

"We all get frustrated and, if I was a fan, I would be frustrated too. But that frustration leaks out onto the pitch and it can have a detrimental effect on the players.

"The fans have been great and I hope this was a blip which won't be repeated. We need them and they need us, it's not a one-way thing. They are a strength for us but what they do can sometimes lead to weakness.

"I'm experienced and, if someone boos me, so be it. But we have a team of young players and people must realise that they are not used to being in this situation, they don't know how to cope with it.

"It will be preying on the minds of the players now and they will all be wondering what is going to happen if they make a mistake.

"That's the last thing we want to start creeping in. We want the players to go onto the pitch full of confidence and not be afraid of making a mistake.

"We understand that it was disappointing for the fans. …

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