Why the Online Trolls and Fake Leeds “Fans” are WRONG About Tyler Roberts – by Rob Atkinson

Our Tyler, the hapless target of ignorant cowards

I have to admit that I’m getting more and more vexed with a section of Leeds United’s online “support”. I use the word “support” there in its loosest possible sense, as there is usually very little in the attitude of these people (or trolls, or fakes, depending on how clearly you can see behind the facade) to suggest that they have the best interests of United at heart.

The current target of this tragic tribe appears to be Tyler Roberts – a regular Welsh international and Leeds United’s Player Ambassador for Equality and Diversity. Tyler is 22 years old, a salient fact to which we shall return later. In the meantime, though, let’s just consider the fact of what has become an online campaign of abuse and negativity, against a broader background of what we mean when we talk about “supporters”.

The sad truth is that, these days, there needs only be an official LUFC tweet confirming that Tyler is in the starting line-up (or maybe even only a substitute role) to start a negativity bandwagon rolling, with many opportunistic whingers falling over each other in their eagerness to jump aboard. This is a social media phenomenon, let’s not forget, the tendency of the lonely and inadequate among us to join in the pillorying of a hapless target, particularly one who cannot answer back. It’s despicable, of course, and anathema to those who know what support is all about, with the positive effect good support can have upon a young player who needs the odd confidence boost here and there.

Social media is, let’s face it, an absolute gift to cowards everywhere, to the type of people who would never say boo to the proverbial goose, yet are emboldened by the anonymity afforded them behind their computer keyboards, and feel able to enter the market for lols and likes, that currency common to those tragically unable to show any merit in their own sorry existences, and who instead thrive on the hollow approval of kindred spirits who are similarly afflicted.

It was a case in point today. The official Leeds United Facebook account carried the story of young Tyler’s appointment as Player Ambassador for Equality and Diversity, a positive news item in these troubled times – or so you’d have thought. But no, it swiftly turned into a parade of what I earnestly hope were fake United fans, each competing with the one before to appear the cruellest and most dismissive, hoping to gain the approval of their fellow trolls. Most of these specimens probably don’t know one end of a football from another, and maybe therein lies their problem – it must rankle with these inadequates that the likes of Roberts will have far more talent in their little fingers than the trolls collectively could ever dream of. But they don’t stop to think of how they might thus appear to proper Leeds supporters. It’s all about lols and likes for them, because they simply crave the approval of – well, anyone really.

As if it really mattered, any Leeds fan with even an inkling of insight and football knowledge can see that Tyler Roberts is a very talented young man; one who, if properly coached with his latent ability sufficiently nurtured, has the potential to become an effective top-flight and international footballer. And it doesn’t really matter, on the face of it, as Roberts has the evident approval of the only man who really does matter, one Marcelo Bielsa. Against that, it is futile to argue – though of course the trolls will still try – those lols and likes aren’t going to just fall into their laptops, you know. Sadly, every coward needs a scapegoat who can’t strike back and, in that respect, Tyler is a credible target for them. And they won’t care that he’s only 22. For yer average cowardly troll, the younger the better – as it’s the youngsters, generally speaking, whose confidence can most easily be knocked, which is the Holy Grail for cowards, fakes and trolls.

Tyler Roberts is very young, as previously stated. It’s his tragedy that this puts him in the crosshairs of those who like to snipe from deep cover with no possibility of consequences. And, seemingly, it’s Leeds United’s tragedy that they have so many such creatures among their largely blameless and authentic online support. Still, it’s a significant and vociferous, if repellent, minority – and several Leeds players over the last year or so have confirmed that this sort of criticism, brainless and unqualified though it may be, does affect confidence. And that is detrimental to individual and team performance, whether or not you care to believe it.

Tyler Roberts has years ahead of him to fulfil that undoubted potential and become an integral cog in an effective Leeds United machine. This blog sincerely hopes that he will achieve that; if he does, it will be very much in spite of these clueless trolls. It’s worth considering that, when Harry Kane was just a year or so younger than Tyler Roberts is now, he was on loan at Leicester City, and not pulling up too many trees. I saw him playing for the Foxes in a sensational play-off semi-final defeat to Watford, and he didn’t particularly catch the eye. But he was young, and his greatness was ahead of him.

I’m not saying that Tyler Roberts will go on to emulate Harry Kane, who is a fabulous player – but Tyler too is young, and he will only get better, especially under the guidance of Bielsa. Whether he’ll be able to rise above the catcalls of the online, anonymous mob is a question yet to be answered; he’ll have to find and count on an inner core of strength that will allow him to mature into a consistent performer who lives up to the promise those flashes of brilliance so clearly reveal. Fingers crossed on that one. Trolls and fakes aside, every Leeds fan should be a Tyler Roberts supporter, gladly offering the encouragement every young, talented player needs. If we can do that, we’ll all reap the rewards.

Well, all but the cowardly, anonymous minority, that is.

Marching On Together

32 responses to “Why the Online Trolls and Fake Leeds “Fans” are WRONG About Tyler Roberts – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Get one for yourself son

    Well put Rob, this is the nature of social media a tool for tools


  2. James Ryan

    Age is a wise old situation. Bamford is five years his senior. Time, persistence and patience or the core of a true supporter not the player.


  3. T.Ananíasson

    I remember clearly few years ago Kalvin Phillips was a target for the web mob. Now the England international have let them eat his socks they did need another target and that is Tyler Roberts for the last 2 years now. Shame to the rats.


  4. We all know that empty vessels make the most noise Rob, but thanks for flying the flag for young Tyler and putting it into perspective, what these morons are too thick to realize is as you say he’s still only 22 and both Ian Wright and Jamie Vardy were late developer’s to name just two, mention that to the noisy thicko’s and they’ll say, “Who’s Ian Wright”.


  5. I’m sure that you reflect the views of all “true” Whites fans Rob. Keep on talking common sense! Social media sadly has a dark side which is why I avoid it.


  6. Top post Rob.
    The joys of social media eh? I don’t do twitter or Instagram but have joined (and left) many Facebook pages with promise of ‘real fans only’ ‘true LUFC fans’ etc etc. It doesn’t seem long before the best of the best football pundits, managers, coaches are out in droves (usually when we lose) and there is usually just one player to blame on their fingertips. Some of these so called football sites are just as bad (think we know which ones).
    Just glad there is a delete button !!


  7. Dear Rob, I could not agree more, anyone who acts like this is indeed a troll and a fake fan.


  8. Trevor Brown

    Great read Rob. I’m so heartily sick of all the rubbish written about Roberts (and Cooper for that matter). The same mob were whinging about Phillips, Dallas, Klich etc a few years ago. Have a look at Roberts performances last year against the big 6 teams and he was quality, but the same lazy criticism gets rolled out by the trolls. MOT


  9. originalkoppite

    There are many certainties in life! Taxes, death and negative idiots online taking advantage of the ease by which anyone can comunicte online annoying people who care about their football team are a few of these. True fans of LUFC know for a fact that without MB they would be still in the championship at best so would not try to 2nd guess him on football matters so bear this in mind whenever you read a comment.


  10. steve mcmillan

    Rose-tinted glasses? You point out that TR is 22, this is the point where clubs decide whether a player is going to make it. I am not a member of the ‘Twitterati’, nor a troll. I have worked in football for many years. I do not have any personal axe to grind with TR. Sadly, in footballing terms, TR does not have the footballing brain, nor the skill for the Premiership. I have been a fan for over 50 years. I coach and played for over 20 years as a semi-pro. Your attack on people who have a different view is uncalled for but, there are a lot of cretins, who know absolutely zero about football. Twenty-two is now quite old, in terms of the finished article. I doubt TR would get into most Premiership sides every week. The view that he will make it with Leeds, and as a Premiership player is delusional. I hope that you don’t just add the posts that agree with your personal view?


    • No, don’t fret, you’ll get your bit of attention. But as someone who thinks that coaching and playing “for over 20 years as a semi pro” makes his opinion worthy of setting up against that of Marcelo Bielsa, you’re as deluded as the trolls if not actually one of their number. In football terms, you perhaps inhabit a very distant orbit around the likes of Dave Hockaday. You’re not even in the same galaxy as el Loco.


  11. Darrell Burnett

    I do chuckle when I see some of the negative posts about Robert’s (and Cooper). Imagine if these ‘Johnny Come Lateleys’ had to endure the likes of Varney, Hunt and Wootton like the rest of us!


  12. joseph conroy

    Any player who puts on shirt deserves our support including Tyler has been one of our better players in this sticky patch stuff the trolls Tyler


  13. Life is LUFC

    These are the kind of people who never have a bad day at work, that is if they work, or even know the meaning of work.
    OK Tyler does not always make the right decisions each of us thinks he should make, he would run himself into a knot if he did because each of us has a differing decision. But by heaven the lad works damned hard on that pitch as do they all.
    Not one player in all the leagues should have to put up with all the C**p that so called football enthusiasts put out there on these UNsocial media sites.
    If you have something to say about a style of someones play be constructive and not downright rude.
    If you do read this Tyler there are more people for you and wanting you to get on be it now or tomorrow. Good Luck lad and just ignore them, live your life to the full and enjoy it.


  14. Absolutely spot on. Spoilt children who need a spanking.


  15. Another great article Rob, unfortunately it isn’t just on line trolls that forget the meaning of the tern “supporter”. Over the years I have heard players getting absolutely dogs abuse after making a mistake on the pitch, do these dipsticks think that benefits anyone other than the opposition. A few years back I was sat in front of some lunatic that screamed “sell him” every time Chris Wood touched the ball, that season he became our top goal scorer and I think won player of the year. When we eventually did “ sell him” the vast majority of fans were gutted even though we made circa 10 million profit. As a friend of mine used to say “ you can’t fix stupid”.


    • This is it, exactly. The only difference is the matchday moaner has an audience of maybe a couple of dozen, who have the option of prevailing upon him to belt up. On social media though, the poison can spread all around the globe, and these people operate from a position of safe anonymity, which tends to make them unusually brave.


  16. Bueno. If you read this Tyler, take encouragement from knowing that not all Leeds United fans are the trolls, the fakes and the cowards, which is a beautiful thing to know. Persist in your efforts Tyler, and we will all benefit.

    Es bueno ser Rey 👑 👍


  17. John Bennett

    Agree entirely – TR is talented but lacks confidence (troll induced?) which often manifests itself in poor decision making (improve with age). I always support Leeds players positively. however, it is disingenuous to believe TR will get endless opportunities to make good – its the nature of the beast for a conveyor belt of wannabees to be behind every player and if others develop quicker then he will have to make the impact (which I believe he is capable of) sooner rather than later. The big thing in his favour is the approval and guidance of one of the best (and most loyal) coaches in the world – it’s in every true fans interests that he comes good; I do genuinely think everything will suddenly click this season – ask Lord PB about proving the trolls wrong).


    • I was quite surprised to find that Kane had quite a slow start, as I mentioned in the article. Tyler has all the attributes, but confidence is so essential and yet so fragile, that these trolls could literally crush his career before it’s properly got going.


  18. king sniffer

    I agree wholeheartedly Rob. These people need to look at what the definition of a supporter is, and it does not cover people whose actions have a detrimental effect on the team and/or its players.



    Absolutely agree that Roberts needs the same unconditional support from us that Bielsa gives him. He IS an interesting case though. He is clearly not only talented but a different and potentially special talent. He desperately needs a few goals! Everything would change with him if he could just add the confidence that a few goals under his belt would give him. It is his anxiety to get those goals which underpins his occasional bad decision-making. Even when he DID finally get his one and only PL goal (in the last minute of the daed rubber win last season at Soton) he chose to shoot when he should have passed and got lucky when the ball bounced back to him a few touches later for a very cool finish. All the above was why I was especially gutted when his brilliant volley at the end of the Watford game came back off the bar. That was another example of the incredible bad luck he has suffered in front of goal (notwithstanding the good luck mentioned above.) He had at least two nice finishes disallowed last year due to ridiculous nitpicking VAR offside calls on incidents which occurred about 5 mins earlier in the move. I;m a great believer in the adages that “class will out” and “luck evens itself out”…………..so come on Leeds fans, get behind Tyler and let’s hope both of those start coming true asap!


Leave a Reply - Publication at Site owner's Discretion

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.