Racism is on the run in British football but deeply entrenched murderous rage is still everywhereDecember 16, 2018
There is nothing remotely new about the anti-Semitic chants of Chelsea fans in Budapest on Thursday night. I heard exactly the same anti-Tottenham chants about “Yids” half a lifetime ago — and not just from Spurs-hating Chelsea fans.
Thirty years ago, I saw a fight start at Highbury when Arsenal fans shouting about Tottenham “Yids” did so in the presence of some Arsenal fans who happened to be Jewish.
So the asinine Jew-baiting has been going on at football matches for decades.
What’s new is that some people are finally saying: “Enough.”
The Chelsea chants about “hating Yids” started shortly after kick-off at a Europa League tie against Hungarian side Mol Vidi. They were brought to the attention of the world by other Chelsea fans on social media.
The club, still reeling from the racial abuse that Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling was recently subjected to at Stamford Bridge, reacted immediately and unequivocally.
“Anti-Semitism and race-related hatred is abhorrent to this club,” said Chelsea. “Any individuals that can’t summon the brainpower to comprehend this simple message and are found to have shamed the club by using anti-Semitic or racist words or actions will face the strongest possible action.”
The fans that chant about hating “Yids” are certainly brainless.
Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who invented their modern Chelsea, is Jewish. But don’t tell me these brainless morons are not “real” football fans. Anyone who travels to freezing Budapest on a Thursday night to watch a snooze-fest Europa League fixture has his football club at the centre of his life.
It is these brainless morons who have stuffed the coffers of the Premier League. Perhaps that is why football has excused abuse in the name of “banter” for far, far too long.
The three football fans recently in the news for abusing black players all have something in common — apart from their predictable “I am not a racist!” whine when they were caught.
Averof Panteli, the Spurs supporter who threw a banana skin at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Chelsea fans Dean Silsby and Colin Wing, caught bawling abuse at Sterling, are all old geezers. They are not teenage idiots. They are idiotic grandfathers.
The banana skin-chucking Panteli is 57. The furiously finger-pointing Silsby is 54. And bespectacled, bug-eyed Mr Wing is 60.
So these three old fools all grew up watching football when abusing black players was not merely rife, it was the sickening norm.
I grew up in those years, too, and remember when it was entire packed terraces keeping up abusive racist chants for 90 minutes.
Racism was everywhere. And it was not even news. But now it is.
Yes, racism still exists, but mass, mob-handed, overt racism is no longer part of the foul air you are obliged to breathe at every football match.
Sterling says black players are treated differently from white players in the media. But the stick he received for having a firearm tattooed on his calf just before the World Cup would have been no different if he had been a white player.
And the praise he received for his brilliant, lung-busting performances during that World Cup instantly transformed him from naughty boy to national treasure.
For many of us, he did something stupid with his tattoo then he won our hearts with his performance in an England shirt.
Race never came into it.
Football’s real, deeply entrenched problem is hatred. The furious, murderous hatred that large numbers of fans feel for anyone who has the nerve to play for the other side.
All three of those football fans caught abusing black players denied there was any racism in their abuse.
The Chelsea fans claimed they screamed “f***ing Manc c***” at Sterling and not “f***ing black c***”.
As if their murderous rage was somehow OK if was untainted by racism! As if screaming “f***ing Manc c***” in a young man’s face is all part of the beautiful game! As if throwing a banana skin at a black player was all part of supporting your team!
But racism should not be the only form of abuse we refuse to tolerate. This is where football gets it so wrong. Racism is on the run but spittle-flecked, boiling rage is entrenched and everywhere.
It is commonplace to see countless male faces twisted with deranged loathing, bawling obscenities and making the universal hand gesture for masturbation. Screaming that someone is a “f***ing c***” is not passion, or banter, or supporting your team.
It’s hatred. It’s unhinged. It’s ugly.
And sadly for our national game, it is not even news.
Can’t see the girls for snowflakes
BOWING to the pressure of this snowflake-dominated age, there will be no walk-on girls at this year’s World Darts Championship.
One of them, Daniella Allfree, above, has mixed feelings. “I’m absolutely gutted I will not be working,” says Daniella. “On the plus side, it’s my first Christmas home in a very long time.”
And I wonder – how are women’s rights promoted by taking away a job that a woman clearly loves?
Look at all that heavy lipstick and those false eyelashes.
It’s clearly mutton dressed up as lamb.
May is thick skinned not 'frite'
DENNIS Skinner, the MP known as the Beast of Bolsover in his younger days, accuses the Prime Minister of being “frit” – Maggie Thatcher’s old word for frightened.
In fact, I don’t think I have ever seen a PM less “frit” than Theresa May.
She has been mocked, humiliated and bullied.
She is bayed at by the SNP and Labour.
And still she fights on.
So whatever May’s flaws and foibles might be, a lack of bravery is not one of them.
David Cameron burst into tears and ran away the second that things got slightly difficult for him.
That’s what “frit” looks like, Dennis.
You can doubt that Theresa can get her deal through Parliament.
You can doubt if she can bring this country together.
You can say she was too polite in negotiations.
For the life of me, I don’t know how anyone can doubt the woman’s courage.
THERE are deep and lasting bonds between Ireland and the UK.
Many of us – millions of us – have Irish blood in our veins.
In 2010, the British lent the Republic of Ireland £3.2billion to bail out the Irish banks.
This is the real special relationship.
So perhaps Leo Varadkar, the sneering Irish Premier, should start showing the British a little more respect.
Not Strictly Harry
TWO actors don masks to promote a “live figure” exhibit at Madame Tussauds Berlin.
One of them looks like Meghan ready for the maternity ward. But the beardy bloke bears an uncanny resemblance to Strictly’s Neil Jones, the husband of Katya Jones.
The Germans will probably never know the difference.
'DEAL OR NO BREXIT' SAYS 'CRUSTY' KEN
Theresa May’s deal will crash trying to get through Parliament and all those Brussels-loving MPs in the House of Commons will never allow us to leave with no deal. Article 50 – the notification that the UK is formally leaving the EU – will be postponed.
Probably for ever.
Especially now the European Court of Justice just ruled that: “The UK is free to revoke unilaterally the notification of its intention to withdraw from the EU.”
Brexit died before it was even born.
Grace in all our prayers
THE murder of Grace Millane of Essex, killed on a dream trip to New Zealand, tore at the heart of every parent.
And if you have a daughter, the tragedy will have a special resonance.
As my colleague Jane Moore wrote, we all want our daughters to grow up to be strong, independent young women who feel as free as young men to wander the world.
But girls face dangers that boys do not.
“When you’re the father of boys you worry,” goes the old song. “When you’re the father of girls – you pray.”
And no matter how strong, brave and independent our daughters may be, that will never change.
We can’t stop our girls wandering the world – and we wouldn’t want to. But they can’t stop us worrying.
To return home safe, our outgoing, beautiful, intelligent, independent daughters need a little bit of luck. And sometimes that luck runs out
IT is a crazy idea to think that Jeremy Corbyn might help out Brexit in “the national interest”. Is this the same Corbyn that supported the IRA, that calls Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”?
Corbyn has never put our national interest anything but LAST.
ON Thursday the US banned eating dogs.
Incredibly, eating dogs is still legal here.
You can do a lot of things with your best friend. Scoffing him should not be one of them.
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