Before you wonder what this article is all about, this is NOT me trying to tell you what a brilliant striker Joselu is. He is not. However some of the abuse I’ve seen directed towards the Spaniard on social media by so called ‘supporters’ has been quite frankly disgraceful.
Yes his penalty miss in the eventual 1-1 draw with Burnley cost us dearly, but I saw fans tweeting him to say how pleased they were that he’d fell ill ahead of the Palace trip, with one fan (see below) even saying that the messages of support he was receiving made him ‘feel sick’:
OUR striker @JoseluMato9 posts this message to #NUFC supporters and some so called 'fans' come back with comments like this..@Aggaz82 @Kirkpatrick180 @bensca182 – what do you honestly expect these comments to achieve?
You're not 'fans' – hang your heads in shame. pic.twitter.com/4Eb2AteFkk
— Black&WhiteBarmy (@BlackWhiteBarmy) February 4, 2018
Does he deserve criticism? Yes. Does he deserve abuse? No. He’s a striker whose been missing big chances to win us games, so he isn’t doing his job, but lets not vilify him like he’s a bloke who couldn’t give a toss or doesn’t lift a finger on the pitch.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s so frustrating to see our starting striker keep on missing HUGE chances to win massive games in a crucial period for the club, but what happened to that saying ‘we demand a team that tries’ or being the ‘best fans in the country’? Yes there’s exceptions, but this is an honest bloke who gives 110% every week. He chases lost causes, wins headers at both ends and puts himself about. Is that enough? No, but did we honestly expect a £5m striker who was 5th choice at Stoke to bang them in this season? As the likes of Watford’s Andre Gray have proven so far this season , even £20m strikers don’t always guarantee goals in this day and age, never mind £5m ones!
Yes 4 goals is nothing to shout about (even if that makes him our top scorer at present), but I honestly think he’s offered much more than Dwight Gayle this season. Neither deserve abuse, so I’m not saying direct your hate towards NUFC’s number 9, but at least Joselu wins headers, closes down and puts himself about. Neither are doing enough as strikers tasked with putting the ball into the back of the net, but Joselu has given us much more than Gayle this season in terms of all round play, making a nuisance of himself and creating chances for himself and others.
You can even see how much it means to the lad when he scores. The relief is clear to see, as is the anxiety that clearly exists within him when he gets a chance to score. Fan’s must see that this is even more reason to get behind him. I think most fans support him superbly in the circumstances, so I’m not knocking those who appreciate all of the above, but there’s so many out there that do quite the opposite.
You’re allowed to criticise, that’s football, but verbally abusing him on social media will only help him miss more and shatter his confidence even further. At the end of the day he’s our player, so that won’t serve to help us one bit in our bid to stay up.
The real villain in all of this is Mike Ashley. The man who for 75% of the season has handed Rafa another awful hand, delivering Stoke’s 5th choice striker when Rafa needed a talisman, putting immense pressure on Joselu and the rest of our side to score enough goals this season.
Joselu should’ve been Daryl Murphy’s replacement as our 3rd/4th choice striker, not the man expected to fire us to safety. His limitations have been unfairly exposed and he’s been fed to the lions each and every time he’s missed a big chance in front of 52,000 expectant fans at St James’ Park – but what more did we expect when Ashley gave us a £5m striker in this day and age?
Hopefully Slimani can take the pressure off his shoulders and do what he couldn’t in front of goal, but if you’re someone who abuses him on Twitter or boos him at games, please consider what your actions are actually going to achieve.
As Rafa has said on several occasions ‘we must stick together’ and stay ‘United’. Take his advice.