Over-the-top moaning could leave an indelible mark

Chris Martin celebrates his winner against Slovenia. Picture: PA

Chris Martin celebrates his winner against Slovenia. Picture: PA - Credit: PA

Never, not in a million years, would I allow some bloke to stick a needle in my skin and leave a mark that will stay with me to the end of my days.

Not even for a bet.

Callum Strang clearly has no such reservations.

He is the chap who sent a tweet moaning that Chris Martin, formerly of this parish, was coming on as a substitute for Scotland in midweek. Martin's introduction was met with some disapproval and Strang couldn't help himself.

He tweeted: 'Chris Martin coming on.. Strachan playing for a draw again... if he scores the winner I'll get viva la vida tattooed on my a*** #Coldplay.'


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I do have another issue here, aside from the tattoo: Coldplay. While Chris Martin shares his name with that band's lead singer, those who know me know I wouldn't have the words within earshot let alone touching my body. But that's by the by.

Martin (the footballer) came on and scored as Scotland beat Slovenia 1-0 – and Strang ended up face down on the tattoo artist's bench with his backside bared for the artwork.

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Makes you wonder how many others have been tempted over the years to take such risks. I remember Martin (future references will be for the footballer from Beccles) playing for Norwich and being moaned at by fans. Martin's problem is his body language – through no fault of his own, he looks like he isn't giving 100pc, when in fact he is. Chris Martin knows how to do his job, he knows how to score goals, but simply the way he walks and runs tends to project a different persona.

It's most unfair: I interviewed him on many occasions when he was at Norwich and he is a decent bloke; there is nothing arrogant about him – another charge levelled at him often by people who had never spoken to him.

I remember others from that era, like Michael Spillane and Ian Henderson a little earlier, getting some stick. Henderson was a busy player who has gone on to have an excellent career in the Football League. But there were times when he was at Norwich when he must have wished he was anywhere else: fans were far too quick to castigate him and it was hugely unfair.

Spillane didn't get it as bad, but, once again, there were those who moaned the minute he touched the ball.

This is perhaps my two penn'orth worth following the moans at Jacob Murphy a couple of weeks ago when he skewed a shot during the game against Barnsley. I was in the South Stand and the moaning was ridiculous.

These are young men who are trying their hardest, they are developing as footballers. They are made to work in front of crowds of tens of thousands and while their managers will often allow them a mistake as they develop their skill-set, the fans are much less forgiving.

It makes you wonder why some bother. And it makes you wonder whether the locally-produced lads get it in the neck more than others.

Yeh, I heard fans boo Mark Fotheringham, yet a lot of them they made a cult hero out of Andy Hughes. How the hell did that happen?

There does need to be a bit of common sense applied here: all fans want their team to do well, and I don't expect a hearty round of 'oh hard luck, young man' when something goes wrong. But to have a very audible and noticeable pop at your own players does seem rather counter-productive.

Moan, yes – you pay your money etc etc. But don't go too far – or you'll end up with some ridiculous song title scribbled somewhere near where the sun doesn't shine.

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