When Unai Emery was bringing on Shkodran Mustafi alongside Gabriel Martinelli and Dani Ceballos, I made a crack on Twitter that it was ‘top bants’.
I could do that. I was on Twitter. I wasn’t shouting it into his face as he was about to play for the team I support.
Although I expected to hear some sort of murmurings when his name was read out by the stadium announcer as Arsenal faced Lyon in the Emirates Cup, the boos still shocked me. It wasn’t everyone, far from it, but it was enough to be heard loudly and clearly on the TV by the millions watching at home.
I’m not entirely sure what the people booing thought would be achieved by this course of action. I get booing the team as a whole, the officials and the management. Do it at halftime or full-time if you must, but booing an individual player from your own team?
It’s like going to a school play and hollering at one of the kids because they forgot their lines. It’s not really going to make it better is it? In fact, it will probably make it worse.
Mustafi isn’t great. We all know this. We’d like Arsenal to replace him but they probably won’t because the player has no desire to leave and nobody else is daft enough to pay him the money he gets with us.
None of that is really Mustafi’s fault.
And none of this means you can’t criticise him, especially online. What does that matter if it isn’t abuse and it isn’t sent to him? It’s all just the venting of frustrations as long as you keep a hold of your intentions.
But booing him as he comes on as a sub?
Does that make you feel better? Does it make him perform better? Or does it just make all Arsenal fans look childish and unbearable?
It won’t make him leave, like some fans seem to think.
It hasn’t worked with any other players booed by fans in recent memory, it isn’t going to work here.