Breaking news: Man changes job therefore he must be ‘scum’

Andy Marshall

Andy Marshall - Credit: Archant

I always knew football fans take the sport seriously - but this week we found out just how much.

For those who missed it, a wave of indignation, anger and some hatred was prompted when it was announced a former Norwich City player was to return to Carrow Road.

The reason? Andy Marshall, the player in question has previously committed the crime of all crimes - left the Canaries to join arch rivals Ipswich Town. I'm a City season ticket holder and therefore, like many, have an in-built dislike of the team we share access to the A140 with.

But I do at least have enough sense in my noggin to realise it is only a sport. And while the famous quote stating 'football isn't a matter of life and death, it's more important than that' makes a cracking sound bite, it's not actually true and was stated by Bill Shankly with tongue firmly in cheek.

The former City goalkeeper isn't even coming back to play in a game that actually matters - he's been selected for the one off charity Legends game next Sunday against Inter Milan old boys. But still the vitriol, much of which can't be repeated, some of which includes:

'Judas' 'Scum' 'Throw some rotten fruit at him' 'Rotten to the core'

All of this (and worse) for a person who's 'crime' was to change his job. Something no doubt most people reading this are likely to have done at some point in their lives.

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Would we accept abuse and hatred from colleagues should we chose to quit one job and work elsewhere in the same sector?

When Marshall made that leap 20 years ago I wasn't impressed. But I don't have the energy two decades later to maintain resentment for a guy who is still prepared to give up time to raise money for a worthwhile project that will benefit this city greatly.

Fortunately there appear to be just as many City fans to have waded in to give the other side.

But we now have the bizarre situation where some fans will boycott the game, others going just to abuse him and others saying it has strengthened their desire to show support.

I'm of the latter camp and can't wait to take my two boys along for the afternoon.

At least the whole saga has proven one thing, football is certainly never dull!

I hope to see you there.

• Note. For those who have been debating whether Marshall is actually even a 'legend', I'm afraid to say we have to be prepared to take that term fairly loosely if we expect Norwich to get a squad together in the first place.