British football fans – a credit to our country!

"I'd rather be a farmer than a chav"

“I’d rather be a farmer than a chav”

Watch this video of AC Milan‘s Kevin-Prince Boateng leading his  team off pitch in protest at racist chanting in friendly.

Why could this not have happened in the UK? Because, even our most bestial supporters would not dare to issue rascist abuse. We see the odd salute , the odd gesture but not sustained abuse. Were so much as a rascist remark heard in any stand of Yeovil Town’s Huish Park, the bigot would expect instant expulsion, not from stewards but from other’s watching (fellow supporters being the wrong phrase).

It annoys me to hear people blaming  supporters for imagined violence. The levels of arrest at grounds has dropped regularly over the last few years. Arrests have fallen by 24% in the last year alone according to this report.

What is going on? The simple answer’s that people are going to games to watch, sing , cheer together. They are not going to grounds to fight, drink and offer rascist abuse.

The fact is that you’ll see better behaviour inside football grounds than on Britain’s high streets (after 8pm).

Where idiots misbehave , as happened in the Sheffield Utd v Leeds pitch invasion , the culprit(s) are bought to book, typically via social media sites run by the fans for the fans.

Say it quietly but this is not about good policing, or even about the behaviour of older supporters, there appears to be a new kind of responsibility among the kids who have traditionally been at the heart of the problem.

Last week, my son and I went to see Yeovil play Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Going to Pompey as an away fan used to be a scary experience. I won’t say Pompey fans have gone soft but they seemed to have turned from violence to humour and as we drove home, Olly reported nothing but respect on the twitter feeds between the fans.

A few years ago, the Yeovil cowbell would have encouraged more than derision. A few years ago our responding chant “I’d rather be a farmer than a chav” would have seen us having a hard time around the coaches (especially with Yeovil having won).

I don’t think enough is being made of the change of behaviour of British football fans, especially the young ones. I don’t know why we’re behaving  better, but it’s time to point out that collectively we are showing a standard of behaviour that should shame people of my generation and offer grounds for optimism.

Let’s hope we can have some grounds for optimisim about Portsmouth, and better ground than Fratton Park- but that’s for another day.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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3 Responses to British football fans – a credit to our country!

  1. George Kirrin says:

    Some mixing up of “English” and “British” there in places, Henry?

    Scottish football has different problems, still, of a sectarian nature at times. But racism, naw (see http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scottish-football-has-already-booted-racism-1398226).

    yours aye, George

  2. henry tapper says:

    Changed!

    Thanks George!

  3. Short, but a well written and interesting piece. I agree that the level of violence related instances has dropped considerably across England (I cannot vouch for North of the border), and hence going to football matches is now a lot less menacing than it used to be. I have been to watch Pompey away for the best part of 35 years (not so much in the last 10 years) and have noticed a big difference since the mid 90s. You still occasionally hear some menacing chants (mainly post match and taunting from a distance), but stewarding and policing has really improved, so any potential flare ups are normally quickly dissolved.

    Also, as a Pompey fan, nice to know our ground is now a much friendlier place 😉

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