The Diary

Cod Almighty | Diary

Kick it out

21 October 2019

Trentside Diary writes: Racism in football: much more depressing even than a 4-0 home defeat. I hope anyone reading this despairs. I certainly do. However, I'm not naïve enough to believe that what goes on in football reflects anything other than what goes on in society as a whole. Sadly, there are dullards in the world who think all of their ills are caused by immigrants, that their life would be so much better if Johnny Foreigner hadn't decided to make his home in the same town as them and doesn't believe anybody will stop them from saying so.

Unfortunately, some of these racists see the passion and fervour that you witness at football and feel it's acceptable to shout abuse based on a player's race. Let's be brutally honest here: they will usually ignore the fact that a player is from Europe but will focus on the colour of their skin, saving their vitriol for black players.

We've had our share. Who can forget the individual who was banned by the courts for three years in 2012 for the racist abuse of Aswad Thomas when he played for Braintree? The club obviously did, referring to it as an isolated incident and since then I understand she has managed to get a photo of herself with Fenty. There were a couple of incidents reported last year, one away at Newport and then the following week at home. Both incidents were reported by fellow fans.

The club said it "100 per cent supports any individual who wishes to report such behaviour". As we often witness: the club not quite getting the point. I have never shied away from pulling up other fans if their behaviour or foul language goes too far and would have no issue in having words if they made any racist remark. But it is often easier as a woman to do that. Whereas I might get a "Yeah sorry love", a bloke doing the same is more of a macho challenge. I do wonder sometimes what the stewards are paid for. They tend to be all or nothing. I have seen them clamp down on boisterous enthusiasm but clearly ignore people being aggressive and offensive. If they heard something, would they act or ignore it?

After another incident this year, at least the club was a little stronger in its condemnation but the tone wasn't quite right. Our somewhat useless stadium manager stated "racism is not acceptable in any walk of life at all.” Nothing wrong with that, but he couldn't help bigging himself up "It just goes to show that this club will take every measure possible against those who behave in this way. There are now 60 active banning orders in force." It's obvious he sees them as a badge of honour, and in any event I am sure most of those aren't for racist incidents.

We can't do anything about the Daily Mail or the Scum pouring bile on players such as Raheem Sterling regularly, then adopting fake outrage when they are racially abused whilst abroad. But we can make sure our own house is in order. While the FA and UEFA seem impotent in their actions, we can act. While large parts of the media like to pretend what happened in Haringey is a problem for football only we know that's not the case.

If you hear anyone shouting racist abuse at a player, either from our team or the opposition, report them. UTM!