JOHN Sheridan has called on Argyle fans to get behind their team after their 0-0 draw against Newport County – and direct their criticism towards him.
After taking one point from their previous two games - away to Oxford United and Dagenham & Redbridge - the Green Army in attendance were eager to see their team return to winning ways at an important juncture in the Sky Bet League 2 campaign.
Newport, however, are equally hopeful of securing a place in the play-offs at the very least, and proved to be a difficult side to break down in the opening 45 minutes. The Pilgrims left the field to some sections of Home Park sounding their discontent at the result, but Sheridan believes they would be better suited supporting their boys in green.
“I need to say it: why do people boo the players at half time?” said John, after the match. “We’re one point outside the play-offs and the club hasn’t been anywhere for two or three years. Why don’t they get behind the team and support them? We didn’t play well in the first half but I’m sure applauding them instead of booing them, which all the players hear [would be better].
“We’re in a good position. I want to win every game, me – I’m worse than probably any supporter. The players are the ones who need our support more than anyone. If we would’ve won at Dagenham, everybody would be saying we are on a great, great run.”
Despite going close on a number of occasions in a better second half display, the Greens were forced to take just a point from a hard-fought affair. Boos were once again audible in some sections after the final whistle, and the boss accepts that criticism at him is just part of being a manager. Getting on the backs of the players, however, is another matter.
“I can hear people slagging me off from the stands but I’m the manager: if we are not getting the results and they don’t think I am doing my job properly, they’re entitled to their opinion,” said John.
“People are shouting ‘I’m paying your wages’ but I’m not stupid: I do know that, and I really appreciate what the fans do. I don’t think booing the players will do them any good.
“They can boo me or have a go at me, but I would leave the players because they are the ones who are going to get us anywhere, if we want to get anywhere.”
“I can take it but I am not playing. It affects the players more than anyone, not me, so I don’t know why they do it. We’ve got a great chance of getting in the play-offs so what’s the reason for it? Why don’t they applaud the performance in the second half as well?
“We’ve had a right go, and if we didn’t I’d accept it – I wouldn’t even bring this up. But they’ve had a right go, and I’ve just told them in there: ‘stick together and stay together.’
“I am going to stick with the players and get behind them.”
Whilst an excellent record at home this season has meant that anything less than three points on familiar territory is unexpected, the draw has done little to change Argyle promotional aspirations. Sheridan is urging the Home Park faithful to see the bigger picture, as they sit just a point off the play-off places with eight games remaining.
“We’re a point outside the play-offs so let’s just reflect on it,” said John.
“We haven’t played great again; we have been the best team in the division on some days, then the worst team in the division on others, and that’s part and parcel of being in League 2. I wish some people would understand where we are.
“The club hasn’t been anywhere for two or three years and really struggled. I do really find the negativity hard to take sometimes. I just don’t think it’s on because I think we’ve improved a hell of a lot, but we all know what we want: we want to get out of the bloody division, don’t we?
“That’s what we’re trying to do, but while you’re a point outside the play-offs, there’s no point booing the team.”