Sure, Eagles fans are passionate. But are they any worse than any other club around the league?

Sure, Eagles fans are passionate. But are they any worse than any other club around the league?

My favourite moment of last Friday night's absorbing clash between West Coast and Geelong actually came from the crowd.

The camera lingered on an Eagles fan who appeared to be giving the umpires what could best be described as some "passionate advice".

I can't speculate on exactly what he was saying. But the way his right arm was moving, the general tone of his message seemed to be "up yours".

At this point, I turned to my Hawks-supporting mate and said: "Man, West Coast supporters are such dickheads".

His reply? "Yeah, and I suppose you Dockers fans are any better."

So much has happened since Friday night that it seems worth discussing - and debating - this topic in a broader forum than a suburban lounge room with a couple of stubbies.

On one hand we have Chris Scott's assessment of some Eagles fans as "disgraceful", stories of a concussed Tom Hawkins (and medical staff) being abused en route from the ground and talk that WA footy-goers (particularly West Coast supporters) are the worst in the country.

Geelong's Tom Hawkins is attended to on the ground on Friday night.

On the other, we have my gut feeling (and anecdotal observations) that footy fans from every club are pretty similar - a few of the aforementioned dickheads but mostly educated enough to cheer, jeer and even boo with good grace, decent language and a fair dose of humour.

Footy is such a passion-inducing game that it often threatens to bring out the dickhead in every one of us.

Six years ago, exasperated as Stephen Milne had a day out against the Brisbane Lions (for whom I was working at time), I yelled at the TV that the St Kilda forward was the "R-word".

My mum, who was watching the game with me, was horrified. I was immediately embarrassed. Milne and karma had the last laugh as he finished with 11.0 and the Saints won by almost 140 points.

More recently - as in yesterday - I had to fight back the urge to call an umpire an "[expletive] maggot" at a suburban ground while watching my sister play.

Yet, for all the potentially ordinary behaviour that footy threatens to draw out of us, it's also worthwhile considering good things that happen in the crowd.

Like the kind elderly Port Power supporter, who tapped me on my Freo scarf-covered shoulder a couple of years ago in Adelaide and gave me her spare poncho when it started to rain. I still have it.

Or the Crows members who politely clapped - and shunned the opportunity to abuse me - when the Dockers finally strung together three consecutive handballs in a 117-point loss at Footy Park (truth be told this infuriated me at the time; in hindsight it actually seems quite endearing).

It's not often that a Fremantle fan feels compelled to speak up in support of West Coast supporters but that's the position I find myself in.

Do I think Eagles fans boo a little more than is warranted? Possibly. Are they sometimes over-sensitive to a bit of ribbing from their purple cousins? Most probably (wow, Freo's trophy cabinet is empty? I hadn't actually realised this).

Is it inconvenient for them to have to put down their prawn sandwiches and champagne flutes to applaud/give stick to opposition players? Very likely.

But the West Coast supporter base also includes the entirety of my family, many of my mates, several of my work colleagues and, by virtue of ambush marketing at least, Barack Obama.

None of them are dickheads. Not all of the time, anyway.

I've no doubt a small selection of peanuts did hang over the race and give the Tomahawk and those attending to him a fairly distasteful and offensive spray.

But you can't get carried away and tar everyone with the same brush.

Not even Eagles fans.