Smithy column: Sam Winnall’s celebration for Sheffield Wednesday at Barnsley proves haters can’t win

Owls scorer Sam Winnall. Pic Steve Ellis
Owls scorer Sam Winnall. Pic Steve Ellis
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He seemed quite pleased with his goal…

About as pleased as a man getting one back on vile abusers who used to think he was a god.

I don’t know Sheffield Wednesday striker Sam Winnall but you don’t have to be his mate to see that his goal against his former employer meant something more than just another notch on his goalscoring belt. There was real emotion in his charge down the touchline to celebrate in front of some of the Barnsley fans who used to love him.

None of your bashful shrugs of acknowledgement now deemed to be a goalscorer’s mark of ‘respect’ for a previous club.

Having seen some of the pre-match social media abuse Winnall got from certain individuals claiming to support Barnsley I can’t say I blame him. But it’s not just a Barnsley thing. Reds fans are no worse than anyone else’s. Every keyboard warrior thinks they are free to be as base as their hateful imagination allows.

Ill-advised Twitter comments from ex-Rotherham United striker Tom Pope only add to the corrosive chorus from football’s equivalent of the medieval mob.

Within the madness of this mob, hate and aggression are seen as emblems of loyalty when all they are is bitterness dressed in club colours.

Of course you’d be riled on the day as your former hero runs the length of the touchline screaming into the crowd having scored for one of your rivals.

But you can thank the Twitter bitters in your crowd for some of that.

Even poor old Peppa Pig was dragged into it. Whether or not the inflatable of the cartoon character thrown at Winnall during the game on Saturday was the main cause of his ire is as yet unknown.

But it could have been worse.

It could have been modelled on a bust of him by Spanish artist Emanuel Santos, the man who made Cristiano Ronaldo look like a contorted 1970s comic hero.

The statue of the great one was unveiled to even greater amusement at Madeira airport - now named after him - on the Island of CR7’s birth.

The bull neck, too-close-together eyes, the deranged and lop-sided grin, the granite jaw.

Cripes and stone the perishing crows it’s got to be Captain Hurricane from the Valiant just before loses his legendary rag?