Cork City manager John Caulfield has called on what he terms a small minority of fans to put their support behind the team rather than being critical of efforts on the field.
The Rebel Army have lost their opening two games of the season, to Dundalk in the President’s Cup and the league opener to St Patrick’s Athletic, and ahead of Friday’s clash at home to Waterford, Caulfield wants the team to be backed.
“I think our supporters are very intelligent,” he said, “and I think they already understand. I think they’ve already seen, in the couple of games, that there’s a work in progress but the team have done well.
“You look at the second half against Dundalk, in the first half-hour against Pat’s we played really well. Second half, we had a lot of the ball but we didn’t create enough.
“I think our fans are intelligent and they understand that. Unfortunately, like everything else, you end up with a very small minority who maybe don’t understand the game as well or haven’t been following the club through thick and thin and don’t realise where we’re at and they’re acting like they act in England.
“The most important thing for us is to have a team that’s passionate and playing for the club, giving everything on the pitch. Once they do that, the overwhelming majority of our supporters understand that.
“It is disappointing if a very small minority are barracking some of our players, why would you do that? Are you a supporter if you start criticising our players during a game?
“We’re all here, there are no superstars on huge money and we all need to rope behind and support the guys. I do see and hear that there is a small fraction that’s critical towards some of the players and that is disappointing.
“I think, from what I’ve seen and the reaction I’ve got, there’s tremendous support for this team and they will be there, but are there a few people saying other things? There are, and we must try to stamp them out because that’s not the Cork City that I’ve followed for 30 years.”
With Waterford having also lost their opener last week, going down to a late Shamrock Rovers winner at the RSC, Caulfield expects a tough and tense game.
“It will and all of the games last year proved that,” he says.
“They were close and tight games. They have some excellent players, obviously Bastien Héry in the middle of the park, they’ve brought back Shane Duggan, they have a few new fellas introduced but, at the same time, they have a lot of experience.
“Any of the games between us and Waterford are very tight and very competitive, that’s just the way it’ll be. They’ll bring a very big following, for our first home league game we’re hoping to have a massive turnout and hopefully we will have that.
“It’s going to be a competitive game but, to be honest, that’s the way the league is. A lot of teams have invested – Waterford invested heavily and got into Europe last year, Sligo, Pat’s, Derry.
“Teams have invested more than they have previously so you’d expect that games this year would be much tighter than they might have been before. Certainly, you couldn’t see teams running away with the league this year or two teams opening a big gap quickly.”