I just wanted to share an experience I had from last night’s North London Derby. This is not me saying I’m right or wrong, but I wanted your thoughts on something I observed, as fans’ behaviour is a huge topic at the moment.
The evening before my brother rang to confirm arrangements to meet in London. We hadn’t spoken in a while so were going through various talking points when he asked me my opinion on Sterling’s assertion that the way media reports stories encourages racism. While I don’t agree with that, I expressed my belief that until we change the culture of fans at football stadiums you will never stamp out abuse. I asked him what makes us think it’s acceptable to swear or intimidate another human being -full stop- regardless if they used racial slurs or not?
He thought I was nuts, pointing out that’s the expectation on a match day – no different to you understanding that you don’t use your phone at the cinema, you adapt to the event you happen to be at.
My brother is well educated, I thought it a shame in 2018 the idea of tolerance and respect seemed an amazing unrealistic demand. While the majority are able to see what is going over the line, I feel there is a minority who simply show up with hatred and feel they can say whatever they like, hence with a zero tolerance policy there would be no grey areas.
I believe those 4 Chelsea fans accused of abusing Sterling don’t act that way anywhere else but at the Bridge.
For decades I have been to matches and never thought of using the c word, I was brought up to know it’s a horrible word, my values don’t change because I’m at the Emirates. A man approx in his fifties spent 90 minutes using that language, sometime not in the right context. He sounded like a moron. I only noticed it because of my conversation the previous evening but I was left wondering how this guy’s brain functioned.
Then a chant began effectively mocking Harry Kane for how he speaks. Don’t get me wrong it didn’t anger me but based on our phone call I nudged my brother almost has an example of where’s the line between banter and not being pleasant. Now I accept I was in the minority, more peeps were singing then not, thankfully changing it to what he’s won (which is banter). My brother though told me to sssh, if I didn’t like it, I should stay at home. I know my brother, he gets easily embarrassed and cares what others think. He didn’t want people next to me to hear my opinion as he knew I would be opposed by the majority. Now it wasn’t like I was going to run to my nearest steward, but it confirmed my original thought process. That in the confines of a football stadium it is popular belief that you can be as poisonous if you are not breaking the law.
Here I was feeling that I was weird, that I was odd. My brother was reprimanding me for having the values that mocking people for how they talk is going too far. And guess what, the hatred builds and builds to the point where yet again an object is thrown. I accept I’m in the minority here, but we can’t have it both ways. Do we want to clean up the game or leave it how it is? We can’t pick and choose what is deemed nasty as that is subjective. Laugh how Kane talks but then don’t complain if Stoke chant that Ramsey runs with a limp.
Interested in your thoughts….