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By James Cunliffe
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Welcome to London24’s weekly column taking a frustrated look at the world of sport and having a good old rant to get it off our chests. This week, the growing levels of abuse coming from football terraces…
Laughter, much like football, is often said to be the best medicine.
In both cases it should be that to indulge is to forget all of life’s problems, if only for a short period.
Combine the two and you’d be away.
It’s just that they seem fairly disconnected at present.
Gone, it seems, are the jocular terrace chants and whimsical songs, replaced instead by pure bile.
Admittedly this is most often from a small minority of so-called fans but, sadly, they shout the loudest.
Let’s be clear, if you’re making monkey gestures or noises towards black players or singing about disasters befallen other groups of people, then you are a moron, not a fan.
The key should be in name – if you’re a supporter you should back your team.
I’m all for tribalism in the game. It’s what separates the game from most other sports and raises the passion levels. But it has to be done in the right manner.
By all means if you dislike a player – but never your own if you’re a true supporter – boo him. Boo him relentlessly every time he gets the ball if you like, but keep it at that.
Better still, sing up about your side. Cheer your players. Like the famous Liverpool Kop of old, try to give the boys in your colours the extra boost to urge them on to victory.
That’s why West Ham United must be applauded this week for dishing out a life ban for a so-called fan found to have been signing anti-Semitic songs at Tottenham.
Harry Redknapp, who managed both sides and has just taken over at QPR, even highlighted the ever increasing problem.
He said: “When they [fans] are on their own they are probably different people but when they are together it’s filth, it’s disgusting.
“People have to stand there and take it. They chant at managers, at players, at each other, it’s nothing to do with football.
“You grow up watching football because you love the game, but if you asked half of them what happened in the game they probably wouldn’t know; they’re probably not even watching it. They’re chanting at each other. We’ve all had it plenty of it at various times. They are just cowards who get in a group.”
Moreover, with clubs like the Hammers, and Millwall before them, taking action over abuse from the stands, while the Football Association are opening investigations left, right and centre, it is imperative that true supporters, sickened by the actions of these idiots, point the perpetrators out.
Their Modus Operandi may have changed from marauding across pitches and through town centres to kick seven bells out of each other but they are hooligans by any other name.
We can’t let these stains on society drag our modern game back to the dark old days of the seventies and eighties and turn, what has been a British summer of sporting love into a winter of footballing discontent.
If you hear or see these fools doing it at a football ground then tell a steward, report it to the police, heck, record it on your smartphone and produce the evidence to the relevant authorities.
And while you’re at it, drown them out. Don’t let hate-laden voices of the few have the biggest say. Strike up a song, maybe even break out the funnies, because heaven knows we could all do with a laugh.