Upson urges fans to get onside

Matthew Upson has admitted players' confidence can be badly dented if their own fans start to jeer them.

England team-mate Ashley Cole was booed at Wembley on Saturday following a blunder which gifted Kazakhstan their goal in a 5-1 World Cup win for the Three Lions.

Coach Fabio Capello claimed he "did not understand" why an individual was being singled out for criticism, while stand-in skipper Rio Ferdinand went even further, suggesting the fans responsible "should be ashamed of themselves".

Upson, who was winning his 10th cap in the absence of John Terry, was equally unhappy, adding his voice to the argument, feeling that by isolating Cole, the England fans were only going to make the full-back perform even worse.

"It is the fans' right to do what they want," said Upson.

"No-one is asking them to come and clap for 90 minutes. But mistakes happen and it doesn't help when the fans jump on someone's back.

"Without doubt it can affect players' confidence.

"But part of being an elite sportsman is reacting when you make mistakes.

"It is something everyone has to do and Ashley knows that.

"He will cope with it mentally. I spoke to him afterwards and he was fine."

Ironically, Upson does feel that, as a collective unit, the England side may have benefited from the negative reaction.

In such circumstances, the team tend to unite behind a common cause, forging a bond that cannot easily be broken.

"It is difficult," said Upson.

"It can affect the whole team but in a way it can be positive as well because it makes you pull together.

"It is natural for the fans to expect a lot from the team. We have one of the strongest groups of players in the world. We play in fantastic stadiums. There is a pressure and expectancy on us.

"We have to cope with that. The players would just ask the fans not to get too carried away. We are still in the process of learning what the manager wants. Results have gone well so far, so what happened was very unfortunate."

Whilst the abuse was not racially motivated, it was a reminder the England fans are not squeaky clean when it comes to abusing players.

However, it is unlikely an opposition team would request a friendly fixture not be held at Wembley due to supporter abuse.

That is the case with Spain, who should be taking on England next February in a friendly, but not in the Bernabeu stadium in Madrid.

With memories fresh of the racist abuse directed at Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jermaine Jenas, Jermain Defoe and Rio Ferdinand in 2005, the FA have demanded the game be played away from the Spanish capital.

Seville, Valencia and Santander have all been mentioned as alternative venues although, as yet, there is no agreement.

But Upson feels the general point of England not wanting to play in the Spanish capital is perfectly reasonable.

"I was at that game," he recalled.

"I remember the racist chanting and it was not very pleasant.

"If that decision has been made, it just proves people will not stand for it any more.

"If we have to get a game moved because of the racist environment then we will. It is a positive step towards stamping it out."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk