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18th Sep 2019

Jon Walters and Wayne Bridge on getting stick from fans

Reuben Pinder

“There was a fan behind us and he’s hammering every single person. So I’m like, ‘Listen mate, shut the f**k up!'”

Being taunted by opposition fans is something all footballers have to get used to. It’s part and parcel of the game to taunt your rivals when you’re winning, and take it when you’re losing.

On this week’s episode of Liquid Football on JOE, Jon Walters and Wayne Bridge recall tales from their playing days that involve getting stick from supporters and biting back on occasion – after Matteo Guendouzi’s ‘2-1’ gesture aimed at heckling Watford fans on Sunday.

Remembering Steven Gerrard’s final game for Liverpool back in 2015 – a miserable 6-1 loss to Stoke City – Walters revelled in being able to mock his Reds-supporting mates watching from the private box.

“We had a box for the family and I had friends that were all Liverpool fans. At half-time we were winning 5-0, and the box was right before the tunnel. I was just going past waving at the box. He was devastated,” Walters recalled.

On Guendouzi’s actions at the weekend – which came back to haunt him after Watford’s equaliser – Bridge said it was a “stupid move,” but admitted that he might have been tempted to do the same thing if the situation arose.

“If I was at Chelsea and I’m thinking, ‘Oh, we’re alright here’, then maybe I would, if I was getting a lot of stick from the fans and I had nothing to give back then maybe,” Bridge said.

The former England international remembered a time when he had scored against Portsmouth in a south-coast derby for Southampton and feared his wild celebration may end up looking foolish.

“When I scored against Pompey, we only went 1-0 up and I was in the fans’ faces, giving it loads. Afterwards I was like, ‘Please don’t let them score,'” he said.

Walters had a similar experience playing for the Republic of Ireland, which ended with him snapping back at a fan who spent the entire game giving him stick despite Walters being on the bench.

“Myself and Seamus Coleman were sitting one row behind the dugout. There was a fan behind us and he was hammering every single person on the bench,” the former Republic of Ireland forward said.

“As a player on the bench, you don’t react to the crowd, really. You just leave it.

“So he’s shouting at a certain player, just kept shouting at him. So I was thinking, ‘Oh come on mate, just leave it alone.’ He’d obviously had a few drinks,” Walters continued.

“It’s going on and on, 20 minutes later, and I’m like, ‘Listen mate, just shut the f**k up.'”

James McClean then scored, prompting Walters to celebrate in the fan’s face.

After that spur of the moment celebration, “All I could think was, ‘please don’t score’,” Walters admits.