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.
- Making a stand: Watch Kevin-Prince Boateng leave the pitch after suffering racist abuse (mirror.co.uk)
- Giraffe fights and friendships (bbc.co.uk)
- Kevin-Prince Boateng walks off after being abused in AC Milan match (thesun.co.uk)
- AC Milan stars walk off following racial abuse in a friendly match (dailyrecord.co.uk)
- AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng leaves pitch after racist abuse (itv.com)
- ‘Drunk’ Women Force Crew To Divert BA Flight (news.sky.com)
- Footballers praise Boateng for leaving pitch after abuse (itv.com)
- Trust in the fans: Pompey Supporters’ Trust get green light from administrators to buy club (mirror.co.uk)
- Exhibition soccer match in Italy halted after racist chants (thegrio.com)
- Trust seals Portsmouth land deal (bbc.co.uk)