I have often written that we have a problem in England regarding our national game. People seem to think that football is this magical bubble where you can say whatever you like without any consequences.
I would like to say ‘it’s just the uneducated’ but in truth you will find grown men and women with successful jobs and loving families who will say words they wouldn’t dare at any other point of the week.
If you don’t believe me, look how many reports of online abuse were made towards England players at the Euros.
The UK even handed out the sport’s first prison sentence for the offence a month ago.
Mikel Arteta this week tried to spread awareness to the public about the mental pressure managers go through due to trolling.
This was in reaction to Steve Bruce detailing the level of abuse he was getting from Newcastle fans.
Some of the Toon Army have accused the media of favouring their ex-manager but what reason would our boss have to go out of his way to defend a colleague he has zero relationship with.
While Gooners are divided about his tactical abilities, no one could claim the Spaniard isn’t a decent bloke who doesn’t have strong values. In other words, he’s spoken up because criticism of Bruce had nothing to do with Football.
On top of threats towards him and his family, he’s been labelled “useless”, “a fat waste of space”, ‘a cabbage head’, etc.
That’s while supporting a wife whose parents are Ill not long after the death of his own.
Mostly by cowards behind a computer who would not tolerate being spoken to like that if they were deemed poor at their jobs.
All Arteta has done (and Pep Guardiola) is do what so many schemes and charities encourage us to do, to speak up if you see or hear anything that is unacceptable.
In 2021 it’s a sad reflection that the same Geordies who swear and mock a decent footballing man, dress up as a Saudi Prince who murders journalists, beheads those who commit adultery, arrests homosexuals, doesn’t treat women equally, etc, just because one doesn’t serve a purpose while the other is rich.
We have failed those youngsters.
It’s about supporting that next generation who we can’t afford to grow up thinking it’s okay to be vile just because you don’t rate a player or manager.
Sport is about winning or losing. It’s not about if you fail, cowarding behind your keyboard with insults.
Society has created a world where they want instant gratification. If they don’t get the victory they want, they want an explanation, like they feel they have been personally let down.
Sport should never be that serious.
Just so you know I’m not being biased by the way, we have Gooners just as bad. The likes of Mustafi and Xhaka have detailed being sent death being wished upon their wives and wishes for babies to get cancer.
Arteta hasn’t given similar examples towards himself, but clearly feels the pressure is enough to discourage footballers not to coach after retirement.
Why put yourself through an ordeal when you can be paid a generous salary to sit on a couch as a Pundit on TV or radio.
How many intelligent minds will we lose, years of knowledge, due to people wanting to protect their health?
Or worse not feeling like the support is there.
An established Prem career of course would mean you’re not sitting in the dugout for money, but because of your love for the game.
A Wayne Rooney never has to work again but does so due to passion. He’s probably told himself not to rise to hate, but that should never mean hate isn’t challenged.
Arteta challenges his own children when watching football, not wanting them to grow up thinking that a reaction to a loss is to scream down a camera with lots of swear words.
Yet how many kids are growing up thinking the louder you shout the more subscribers you get?
I know from my experience that readers will mock your appearance if you disagree with their opinion.
Just think about that.
Someone takes Football so seriously they will insult a stranger.
This is a grown man with little family who has been taught that if you don’t like something, hide behind a screen and be rude?
I can’t help that person, but we can help those growing up.
Arteta says we have to, or else it will get worse.
So well done Arteta and Pep for using their platforms in speaking up.
If that makes one person think before they tweet or encourages conversation, then the two managers have done their jobs
Once everyone’s second club, the Toon might not like their image as fans being tarnished but they lost sight.
Critique what happens on the pitch, but you never have the right to take a 60-year-old man and personally try to break him.
Football is a beautiful game …. but it is just a game.
Be kind in the comments