SHOLING manager Dave Diaper has warned a minority of the club’s ‘supporters’ to stop undermining his players.
The Boatmen boss, pictured above, was furious with a small section of the 562 crowd during the first leg of their FA Vase semi-final, a 2-2 draw against Eastbourne United. Diaper took to Twitter to vent his anger on Saturday evening, tweeting: “...not happy certain Home supporters slagged off certain players of my team-watch out.” Sholing were roared on by their vocal contingent, the ‘Ultras’, throughout the first-leg at the Silverlake Arena.
But midway through the second half, with Eastbourne leading 2-1, one player was singled out for criticism by a minority on the other side of the ground. “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion if they pay their money but there are two or three supporters, who I’ve known about for a couple of years, who overstep the mark,” said Diaper. “One player heard this particular incident and wasn’t too happy. Nor am I. I was incredibly frustrated with it on Saturday, far more so than with anything that happened on the pitch. “I don’t have a problem with people slagging me off, as the manager it goes with the territory. But when my players give everything for the club and then get stick it’s not on.
“We’re not a club that pays our players vast amounts of money, so they’re not true supporters if they’re slating players. The guys are doing their best, the comments that were made were uncalled for.
“People make mistakes, they’re only human, but when individual players are picked out and slagged off it’s a problem for me because it affects their performance.
“I need my players totally focused, I don’t want any distraction.
“If it continues I’m going to have to do something about it but hopefully this warning will be enough to nip it in the bud.”
Meanwhile, Diaper is planning on making six changes for tonight’s Sydenhams Wessex League Cup semi-final against Alresford Town, as he prepares for Saturday’s second leg. “I’ve got quite a large squad so will be making six changes with one eye on the return leg,” he said. “Credit to my lads, a lot of players would be concerned about getting injured ahead of the second leg but they’re all keen to play.”
Diaper, who is without cup-tied duo Alex Baldachinno and TJ Cuthbertson, will be promoting players from his reserve squad tonight.
He added: “The reserves have their second game in three days tomorrow night but that’s just a reflection of the success we’re enjoying as a club.
“But it won’t be easy against Alresford. It’s going to be a tight match, a clash of the titans. We beat them 4-0 and 3-2 in the league but they’re a very good side and will be a handful.”
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