12 February 2012

Two sides of football

Sadly, all the football talk today is about Liverpool. I don't want to dwell on it, but it's depressing how a club with Liverpool's history can get things so wrong. Their failure to recognise and tackle racism - it's not just "banter" - is damaging the club's reputation. Millwall were like this years ago, and they still have the stigma when it's probably no longer deserved. It's not just one stupid arrogant player, it's the management that colludes with him, writing him a blank cheque for any bad behaviour. And this seems to encourage the worst kind of fan (I won't repeat some of the filth that's been spouted on twitter). We thought football had overcome racism, but it's clear there's still some way to go. The encouraging thing is the wave of media and public revulsion. Most football fans are clear in their disgust, and Liverpool's manager seems increasingly out of touch, a dinosaur.

But the other side, which won't get reported, was this. Yesterday the weather caused the games at Barnsley and Chesterfield to be called off, leaving loads of fans from Birmingham and Charlton at a loose end in South Yorkshire. So a lot of them made the short trip to Sheffield Utd, and became temporary supporters of the visitors, Wycombe Wanderers. Three sets of fans packed into one end of a football stadium: the conventional wisdom is that this will cause trouble. In the bar at halftime, for example. In fact, it seems to have been a wonderful afternoon, even though Wycombe lost 3-0. Here's a video of what happened at halftime in the bar. (You may want to turn the sound down; some of the singing is awful).

@Sam_Kimber24, who was there, said "we kinda went round the circle calling out each other to give us a song haha. Was legendary!"

Oh, Kenny. Everyone else can tell the difference. What happened at Sheffield Utd is banter. What's happening (sometimes) at Liverpool is racism. Recognise it, condemn it, kick it out.

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