January 2, 2015 – 7:09PM
Calming influence: Shannon Cole is directed by security away from fans after the match against Central Coast Mariners.
Western Sydney Wanderers defender Shannon Cole says he understands why his club’s fans are so upset – and that he actually knew the supporter who appeared to seek a physical altercation after Thursday night’s nil-all draw with Central Coast Mariners at Parramatta Stadium.
The ugly scene unfolded when the Wanderers players went over to applaud their fans following another disappointing result, an outcome that extends their winless A-League run way back to last season’s grand final on May 3.
But as Cole made his way over to the main fan group, the Red and Black Bloc, one boisterous supporter tried to jump the fence to confront the defender, with the man held back by security as Cole too was led away.
“There was just a couple of people questioning the players’ efforts. I just wanted to go over and chat with them – I didn’t want to start an argument or anything. I just wanted to remind them that the boys are putting in day-in, day-out at training and on the field on game day and that we’ll get through this together, as a team and a club,” Cole told Fairfax Media on Friday. “The majority of people were telling us they would stick by us no matter what, that we’re all united, and that’s what we want.
“That’s why I wanted to go and talk to those few who weren’t saying that. But I understand their frustration. It’s not that they shouldn’t be upset, and I told them that we’re as frustrated as you are. The fact they were really targeting the players for a supposed lack of effort – I just didn’t think that was fair.”
Although the Wanderers haven’t been playing badly, they’ve failed to convert the myriad opportunities that have come their way in recent times – domestically at least – and the support of the fans is finally showing signs of cracking, despite winning the Asian Champions League only two months ago.
Before kick-off, the Red and Black Bloc held up a banner that read: “Fight like your fans”, indicating a perceived lack of effort on behalf of the players.
In relation to his exchange with the volatile supporter, Cole said the incident probably looked worse on television than it actually was and that he never felt threatened.
“I want to stress that the overwhelming majority were very supportive of us and they understand that it’s a tough run for the players to go through as well. Most of the people appreciated that,” he said. “It was mostly positive to be honest. Just because a few people were behaving aggressively probably made it look worse than it was.
“That fan [who attempted to jump the fence], he’s fine – I’ve spoken to him before. He was just a bit upset. It definitely wasn’t as though we were going to fight or anything. It was probably because there was security between us and he wanted to get a bit closer and say his piece.”
The Wanderers are hopeful the incident might even be the catalyst to spark a turnaround in form as they seek to make an improbable charge towards the finals.
“As players, we were just gutted to go another week without a win,” Cole said. “After the team went over to the RBB, we actually came away feeling together and positive. We’ve got Melbourne Victory at home on Tuesday – we all know how good they are playing at the moment – and we now need our fans to get behind us if we’re to get the result we all want.”
Source :^The Canberra Times