Listening to football phone ins on the radio, you always hear fans berating their team's players for appearing not to care about the team and lacking pride. The radio presenters are always quick to come in with a comment that they know that "the players really do care", but sometimes you have to wonder.
Last weekend, a friend of mine went to Sheffield to watch Norwich against Sheffield United, a game which Norwich rather tamely lost 2-0. For this friend of mine, it darkened his mood, ruined his weekend and meant he didn't as planned, go out on Saturday night upon his return, preferring instead to stay in at home.
So it was in contrast to this that I overheard someone at the gym today telling his friends how he was out on Saturday night with two Norwich players (both defenders) and what a great time they had had and they "didn't seem worried about the result that day".
It seemed in marked contrast to my friend's mood. I guess the difference is that he is a fan, and they are just players being paid, essentially, by the fans.
I don't expect that footballers should live the life of a nun, but I was impressed, a few years ago when I worked with someone who had a relative playing for Peterborough, to hear that the Peterborough supremo Barry Fry banned his players from being out "on the town" in Peterborough, if the team lost. I don't know that it changed their form or the effort they put in, but it at least sent a message to the fans.