I didn't say you can't be critical at times. I am one of the most critical person of "my" players. And when I have the opportunity I tell the players my critics even personally in the face. But that critics need to stay game-related, not going into personal attacks. For example I once said to one of my players - though he just won his match: "You need to play loads better in the next match to get further", but I don't say about them: "This idiot is far too stupid to finish a match in a proper way" - to only say the sense of what I can read in harmless comments here.
The players are no idiots, but people who really try hard to win a match.
I fully agree with you on this. I just thought my comment to be worth an additional mentioning, as I've experienced that at times people apparently think that being a 'fan' of a player should mean you appreciate every move that player makes - which isn't the case for me, and neither for you, which I am happy to read about in your post!
As you point out so very rightly, it of course matters in which way one delivers criticism - it's always better to do it in a polite and respectful way, as you illustrate so well.
I've once had this very funny experience with the leading member of a certain band I've been a fan of for the past 15 years - while everyone around him was fanning him on how WOOOONNNNDDDERRRFFUUULLL he and his band had performed that very evening, I went up to him and actually told him that I thought a lot of the songs were carried out too nervously, that the sound wasn't actually great either, and that his singer sounded like he had a bit of a cold. His reaction: "Wow, FINALLY someone who tells me the truth! Care for a beer, love?"
I spent the whole rest of the evening - and night - with him and a few fellow fans in the pub.
Being honest pays!