8 Footballers Who Have Been Unfairly Treated by Their Own Fans

Declan Houten
Real Betis Sevilla v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander
Real Betis Sevilla v Real Madrid - La Liga Santander / Soccrates Images/Getty Images
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You know that guy at the club you support?

The one who arrived with a big transfer fee and heaps of talent, started a little slowly, picked up an injury or two and has had the fans on his back ever since?

Well this is an article dedicated to that guy, and the thousands of guys like him in professional football, the fellas who are trying their damnedest only to get absolutely slaughtered on 5 Live and the comments section of their Instagram as soon as the match is over.


Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Aston Villa v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Final
Aston Villa v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Final / Visionhaus/Getty Images

The day that football fans stop struggling with the concept of a 'slightly below average season' will be a truly transformative day in the history of humankind.

Sterling's output during the Pep era has been nothing short of freakish, but in a downright weird season where City's forwards have seemingly suffered from a mental block in front of goal, all has been forgotten in the frustration of losing to Liverpool, with the former QPR man once again the scapegoat for his perceived drop off in form.

He'll be back next season, and there'll be servings of humble pie generous enough to feed the whole of Manchester.


Patrick Bamford (Leeds)

Leeds United v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship
Leeds United v Huddersfield Town - Sky Bet Championship / George Wood/Getty Images

The case against Bamford is fairly well-established, and it operates based on the following premise: Leeds create a squillion chances every single game and if you stuck an inanimate carbon rod up top they'd probably get on the end of at least two of them.

However, the history of football has taught us that Lots of Chances + Any Old Bloke does not necessary = Goals Galore, and Bamford, with a perfectly respectable 13 league goals this campaign, is enjoying a fairly prolific season by his standards.

More importantly, Marcelo Bielsa (the guy writing the tactics that create all the chances) likes him up top, and you can't really argue with him, can you?


Tammy Abraham (Chelsea)

Chelsea FC v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg
Chelsea FC v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: First Leg / Visionhaus/Getty Images

Abraham is a bit different from some of the other players on this list in that you'd be rude not to be satisfied with his breakout season.

Yet at a superclub like Chelsea your career is constantly overshadowed by the Galacticos that could theoretically replace you, and in a side with gaps all over the place many Chelsea fans have decided that Abraham is the man holding them back - lads, no-one knows who your first-choice keeper is meant to be!


Romelu Lukaku (at Manchester United)

Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League
Manchester United v Manchester City - Premier League / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

In the epoch of Fake News, the greatest lie that the internet was ever allowed to propagate was that one of the Premier League's most prolific ever strikers had a bad first touch.

Yeah, the thing holding back those iconic Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solksjaer sides from certain glory was a guy bagging a minimum 10-15 league goals each year and not a midfield that's needed fixing since Heelys were last in fashion.


Serge Aurier (Tottenham)

Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers - Premier League / Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Enough has been written about Spurs' mishandling of the clearly brilliant Tanguy Ndombele to fill the Library of Alexandria so it's time to crank the takes machine up to 11 and sing the praises of a complicated but effective footballer.

Kieran Trippier was a) worse at dribbling, b) worse at defending and c) not even that much better at crossing than the Ivorian, but a few tidy diagonals against Watford one time kept him away from the firing line, and Aurier deserves much more credit for providing a rare fruitful attacking outlet in the dour Mourinho era.


Gareth Bale (Real Madrid)

Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid CF  - La Liga
Real Betis Balompie v Real Madrid CF - La Liga / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

If there was ever a dead cert to make this list, it's El Golfeador, the only man to annoy his manager by scoring an overhead kick in a Champions League final.

Ok, Madrid want to dominate La Liga as well as cup competitions, but Bale's injury record, offensive cohesion and commitment(?) have created problems over the years.

But hounding a man for seemingly not speaking much Spanish and enjoying a few rounds of golf when he has won four Champions League titles (scoring in two finals) and netted over 100 goals for your club seems a bit... daft.

Also, that flag after the Hungary game was pretty funny.


Mesut Ozil and Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)

Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League
Arsenal FC v Brighton & Hove Albion - Premier League / Visionhaus/Getty Images

Ahhh, Arsenal, the club where you so much as breathe wrong and an 'CLAUDE: [Player] Was Not 'Playing for the Team Today' video will appear on Arsenal Fan TV's YouTube channel.

There are so many different agendas circulating at the Emirates that it's impossible to single out just one player, but these two guys have got it in the neck more than anyone else.

Ozil hasn't been perfect, but the fact that for many years he'd look up with the ball at his feet and see Olivier Giroud gently swanning around in the final third calls for some nuance when accusations of laziness are levelled at him.

At least Ozil has a pretty committed legion of defenders - in Granit Xhaka's case he's in the unfortunate position that managers love him for his metronomic passing, while supporters famously do not love him on account of his metronimic habit of getting sent off.

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