A LOT has been made of my attempts to talk with Birmingham fans in the stands after our 6-1 defeat away at Blackpool on Monday.
I was fine with it. I am not really worried about confrontation or negative comments.
Not every player wants to do it, but it is something you just have to go and deal with.
You have to be respectful and professional. Predominantly, it is just about listening.
On this occasion, it wasn’t a conversation to start with. It was more of a shouting match.
But, if you talk through their frustrations and get them to calm down, you end up having a decent conversation.
All fans want to do is let off some steam. But when you are going through bad times you are expected to answer every question and tell them how it will all be fixed within a week.
I watched a similar situation with Cesar Azpilicueta and the Chelsea fans after their defeat to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.
The Chelsea fans were probably just fed up with that one game and how they expected their side to beat a young and less-expensive Arsenal team.
But I can understand why Azpilicueta was having a go back at them.
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Players think, ‘Hold on, when we were winning a few weeks ago, things weren’t that bad and you weren’t calling us names and now, because we are on a bad run, you are turning on us?’.
That is probably why Azpilicueta responded the way he did.
It was more frustration that Chelsea haven’t had an awful season and now their integrity is being questioned.
Fans doubt your work rate and desire — but they only see match day.
They don’t see if you are playing with injuries or things of that nature. That can be frustrating.
It is a tough situation but certain characters — like Azpilicueta and myself — we handle it a bit differently to most, let’s put it that way.
However, unlike at Chelsea, this is not a one-off thing at Birmingham. The fans have been frustrated for years. They are fed up.
But, while I may share certain frustrations, I definitely can’t take away all of their problems with the click of my fingers.
If I could, then I would. It would make me enjoy my time here more.
Yet there are some things you just cannot answer for. Fans may ask, ‘Why isn’t a certain player playing? Why are we playing a certain formation?’.
All that stuff is well above my pay-grade.
All you can do is listen and say, ‘I hear your points. I will pass them on’.
I was just trying to set things at ease. My missus showed me a video of that moment on TikTok, where someone has edited it as if they were shouting at me.
They weren’t, they were just talking to me.
But naturally, you are outside, so they are all trying to be heard and speaking louder than they should do — and from there it looks weird.
But they cut the video short when I asked the guy to turn the camera off and have a conversation.
In this world we live in, everything turns into a meme and gets shown out of context.
In my haste to make sure I wasn’t a meme or on TikTok, I did the opposite.
I don’t think the purpose of what I did is about making sure the fans go home feeling better.
They just want to feel heard, wanting to feel they are not just typing on Twitter and being accused of moaning.
Now, they will feel they have got somebody in the club who has more influence than them and can relay the message. That is absolutely fine.
But I certainly didn’t enjoy it and I wouldn’t recommend doing it all the time.
Is it the way forward, for players to have that interaction with fans on the pitch where they just have to listen? I don’t think so.
You have tens of thousands of people who all have very different opinions.
Hearing that up close and personal on a regular basis could leave you in a bad way.
Understandably, fans don’t always have the knowledge of what’s truly going on inside the club.
Through bad times, the connection with the fans always helps — but it doesn’t solve the problem.
And it can even make it worse, as some fans feel like they are entitled to have an opinion on everything.