YOU often have to wonder what footballers actually make of us, the fans.
We raise them up to be idols, praise the smallest gesture – and some even worship them.
Yet, for all the highs, it takes very little to suddenly be vilified, cast out as a pariah and damned as a blot on humanity’s pristine landscape.
The reason I say this is because of a certain David Nugent.
A player who did well at Preston, failed to make the grade at the top level yet seemed to find his feet somewhat last year, back with Pompey.
He’s a good, decent player – although the goal he scored for England didn’t exactly cover him in glory.
Ahead of Saints’ trip to Leicester, he ‘tweeted’ – as is the fashion among footballers these days – about the upcoming match.
The post in full was: “I hate southampton! 3 points please! #dueawin#” (sic).
Fair enough, we all dislike certain things for no rational reason, and just because he’s a footballer doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to express that – although better use of capitals wouldn’t go amiss.
Some fairly basic checks suggest the account is real, so what I can’t quite fathom is the drive behind the post.
Does he really hate Saints? Did being in Pompey rub off on him that much, or as a scouser is he upset about the ongoing cruise wars, or was he just on a wind-up for the hell of it?
As is to be expected, Nuge was quickly deluged with some pretty tasty return tweets – I can’t repeat them here, but rest assured that Mary Whitehouse would be spinning in her grave if she saw them.
I often assume that most footballers take a fairly pragmatic view of clubs and fans and ignore the abuse as best they can and dampen down the praise (with the odd exception, of course, Mr Bendtner).
But perhaps they actually see us as something entirely different – entertainment.
Wind us up and watch us go.
For those of you who use Twitter, I recommend reading what Joey Barton posts. I can’t make my mind up if it’s genius, hilariously unaware of itself or if he’s just taking the proverbial.
Whatever it is, it’s compelling.
Nugent’s other posts don’t quite have the same draw as Barton’s (random example: "Going 4 an indian!") but it is still is a window into the mind of the lesser spotted footballer.
Even if that mind does seem somewhat vacant.