August 21st might host one of the greatest atmospheres the Emirates has ever produced.
It will be Arsenal’s home fans first chance to put their collective arm round Saka’s shoulder and let him know we care. That we are proud of the bravery he showed at the Euros by taking England’s 5th penalty.
Yet the irony is that while 60,000 chant his name, a few are guilty of racially abusing the 19-year-old. Others might let him off based on who he plays for but reserve the trolling for a Rashford and/or Sancho.
Napoli players reported racial abuse when they visited North London, the club have a fan channel famous for swearing and mocking their own players, while the likes of Xhaka has countless examples of him and his family being threatened.
There’s no point Gunners or any other fan base in the UK trying to deny it, we have a serious problem in this country.
The European Championships was essentially a home tournament.
With the World watching, England fans were guilty of abusing Denmark fans, booing national anthems, breaking into Wembley – and of course, racism.
Almost as a favour to Prince William and Boris Johnson, our media report these incidents as the minority. Which of course it is.
Yet when the same thing happens abroad that’s not the angle our press takes.
They understandably demand tough sanctions and justifiably question associations when fines are lenient.
The FA don’t want to admit it.
The Prem knows it hurts their brand to be open about it, but English Football has a racism problem.
The problem being is that these cowards are not just morons who hide behind a keyboard. They are everyday men and women who in their workplace, at home, in their local shop, wouldn’t dare repeat the language they type or chant.
The issue continues to be that they view football as this universe where they can say and do anything they want. To them, these players are larger than life characters they see on TV, not in fact a teenager heartbroken that he’s missed a spot kick.
Take the person who ran on the pitch on Sunday.
How hard were tickets to get? How much do you think he had to pay?
He missed extra time and pens for the sake of what?
Imagine if he had missed the greatest moment in England’s footballing history for 55 years based on the need to break the law?
You say it out loud, it sounds obvious. Why spend hundreds of pounds just to run on a piece of grass and get arrested? Like I said, something happens to these morons in the confines of their footballing bubble.
I wrote this before and sadly will repeat myself throughout the year.
I have to, because once we stop reporting it, it becomes an accepted part of society.
Sterling got abused after the draw with Scotland. Where once it was a huge story, now it’s almost accepted, that that is what happens when a player is perceived to play badly, they get trolled.
We can’t on one hand say how badly Morata was treated in Spain by Internet comments, and then claim we only have a minority who are a problem in this part of the world.
Sure, more humans are decent than not, but what’s the number where a minority is too many? To me one person being racist is one too many.
That’s because I have a zero tolerance to hatred and discrimination – which Is why I prompt discussion and try to educate.
There is a generation watching YouTube who think it’s acceptable to call someone the C Word if they play poorly. It might even get them some views.
One of the saddest things I saw this summer is a Host in his thirties laugh as a 12-year-old racially abused another person.
What’s worse? Society failing this kid because he thinks this is how you impress people? The adult not feeling the need to correct the child. Or YouTube allowing the channel to still air? Then we are told in the next breath to please report anything bad we hear?
Arsenal sent out a statement of support for Saka.
The irony being they used the same platforms who failed to protect the 19-year-old.
Facebook and Twitter continue to fail to give any valid reason why they don’t demand all users set up accounts with addresses, like you would for online gambling.
If the Gunners truly were disgusted by these media giants not doing more, they would join Henry and leave these platforms for good.
They won’t, for same reason the premier league don’t deduct points for racism; for the same reason chairmen don’t vote on stadium bans as a sanction; for same reason Facebook and Twitter won’t reform; ……. Money!
There was a lot that happened in the last month that made me proud to be English, but we also showed racism and hooliganism are a part of our game.
If fans had stormed stadiums in Russia, Russians booed anthems, if players were mocked for the colour of their skin …. we’d be in uproar.
Let’s see the consequences the FA get for fans breaking into Wembley, lasers being used, fireworks being set off, racist songs being chanted, etc.
The same country who will then preach about taking the knee and reporting racism?