Martin Smith column: The art of goalscoring – and how the fans see it

Steven Fletcher celebrates.....Pic Steve Ellis
Steven Fletcher celebrates.....Pic Steve Ellis

‘Players don’t miss on purpose’. Teams don’t get relegated on purpose either but it happens, especially when strikers miss regularly - on purpose or not.

Rotherham manager Paul Warne’s calm insistence that his players are doing their best is admirable, as was Chris Wilder’s commendably Zen-like reaction to Sheffield United’s forwards missing chances to take the lead at Swansea.

For fans those wasted opportunities mean something else. On the day they’re the only thing that matters.

Ask Wednesdayites. Their world brightened immeasurably at the weekend when 31-year-old Steven Fletcher topped a classy performance with the game’s only goal.

Paul Warne’s surprise at the hostile fan reaction to his substitution of Zak Vyner shows his connection with his players and his ability to see the bigger picture.

That’s his job. But don’t expect fans to react in the same way. 

Bournemouth's David Brooks

Bournemouth's David Brooks

They see the small picture of another defeat, another losing performance, another player who helped ruin another day out.

Good managers need head and heart to do their job.  Despite their loyalty and stoicism fans are all about emotion. 

Sometimes that’s not pretty to see.  But they don’t always do it on purpose either.

*How long will David Brooks be by the seaside?

The 21-year-old left Sheffield United for Bournemouth in July and continues to look like a proper Premier League player.

All the attributes he showed for United - pace, intelligence, composure and an eye for goal - are looking just as potent in the Premier League where he does something in every game to stand out.

Bournemouth are a club to admire and their manager Eddy Howe - practically a miracle-worker - has a great eye for a player on the way up.

But that’s exactly where Brooks is, on the way up. The way he’s developing it’s hard to believe one of the top six aren’t casting interested eyes over the former Manchester City trainee. 

While one youngster looks forward to a bright future another talented lad has none.

There aren’t really appropriate words to reflect with any meaning on the death of Doncaster boxer Tom Bell.

Shot through a pub window aged 21.

The why and how of the case will be thrashed out in the coming weeks and two arrests have been made in connection with the shooting.

Justice needs to be seen to be done.

But that won’t bring back a young man’s life.