Eric Dier has been told to ‘suck it up’ and ‘get on with it’ after voicing his concerns about abuse from football supporters.
The England and Tottenham defender recently spoke out about what he believes is now a ‘serious problem’ within the English game, revealing the abuse his family have faced from fans when they have gone to watch him play.
Speaking during the international break, Dier opened up on his family’s experiences at football grounds and claimed abuse from fans has ‘got worse’ following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The centre-back infamously went up into the Tottenham stands following a game in 2020 after his brother was involved in a fracas with a Spurs fan who was yelling abuse at the footballer. Dier was fined £40,000 and banned for four games for misconduct by the Football Association.
Unhappy with being punished for defending a family member, Dier has now broken his silence on the topic and described the problems faced by family and friends at Spurs’ away trip to Chelsea earlier this season, where they were the targets of verbal abuse from both sets of supporters.
“I love playing away games, I enjoy those kinds of atmospheres, it’s part of it, and I like that humour if it is [done] in the right way… but there are some things I find very strange,” Dier said.
“It is not nice. My family would never go to an away game nowadays because of it — and that’s a shame. I feel too uncomfortable for them to go to away games. This has been for years. My mum has not been to an away game. She would love to, but I would be worried about it — and that’s crazy, isn’t it?”
But former Tottenham midfielder Danny Murphy believes Dier and his family need to toughen up, saying stars being heckled is ‘part and parcel’ of being a footballer.
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“That’s life,” Murphy told White and Jordan on talkSPORT.
“I’ve been there, I’ve had it. My mum went to a couple of games, she didn’t like it, so she stopped going.
“If you can’t put up with some verbals and some detrimental comments… you’re either resilient enough to deal with that and understand the situation you’re in, or you’re not.
“It’s part and parcel of going to a football match, People pay their money to do it.
“And what is abuse? What are we talking about? There is a level of abuse nobody deserves to take, of course, so it depends. He is not very specific about what was said.
“I think some people throw the word ‘abuse’ around. If someone is talking about how poor his performances are or how bad a footballer they think he is, and they say it with a swear word, is that abuse?
“It’s not abuse, it’s an opinion, one that’s just stated poorly.
“I think there’s not enough resilience anymore. This is not anything new. When he says ‘these days’, these are not ‘these days’.
“I have had it, my brother used to come and watch me, my dad, my mum. Some put up with it, sometimes my mates would share their opinion with someone else in the ground, but they don’t then come to me and put that pressure and burden on me. They just deal with it like grown ups.
“Come on, you’re a big boy playing for your country!
“I know it’s not ideal that you feel like your family can’t go to every game if they feel a little bit offended, but that’s just the way it is. So suck it up and get on with it!
“The same happened to me! I am him! My mum stopped going to games because she didn’t like it, so I said to her, ‘just don’t go’.”
And Murphy said Dier should say the same to his mother, adding that he would say: “Go home to the nice big house I’ve bought you from playing.”
The former Liverpool and Tottenham man continued: “The level of abuse you get thrown out of a ground for is homophobia and racism, which is right – get them all out.
“But if you’re just having an opinion on a player’s ability or their performances… it’s about perspective.
“Do you know what I did? When my mum said, ‘People are giving you stick and I can’t listen to it’, do you know what I thought? ‘I’m going to play better’.
“It’s really not that difficult. You can’t have your cake and eat it. It comes with being a footballer.”
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