Footie chants – malicious or otherwise

untitledYesterday’s calls for homophobic chants to be banned are nothing new. This report about chants at Brighton is two years old but the taunts go back as far as the Withdean stadium, thankfully a place I will not have to return to.

The way that clubs are supported is what the club’s brand becomes. Playing styles can change with managers, owners and players but teams like Leeds, Millwall and West Ham are defined by their supporters more than their playing styles- fans don’t change their spots overnight.

Which is why I’m proud to be a Yeovil fan and for my son to grow up a Yeovil fan. Ok, the Blackthorn is not a filfth free zone on a Saturday afternoon or Tuesday night, but we have one of the lowest incidences of arrest in the football league and the fan base unites around twitter and match days to live out our motto “Achieve by Unity”.

Someone put it to me “it’s not the sh*t that comes your way but what you do with it”. Coming from Somerset, Yeovil get a few taunts about its agricultural roots. That the town is chiefly there to support an airbase and the helicopter industry is nothing to do with it, to most fans we have cornears sticking out our hats.

To deal with the taunts , the lads and lasses have taken to ringing a cowbell which serves to “bring it on”. As the taunts come in, cue our favourite chant “I’d rather be a farmer than a chav”. This kind of banter is a million miles from the stuff dished out to Brighton fans or indeed the naked racism we see abroad.

There are of course those who reckon that football crowds should stick to polite applause, refrain from references to referee’s onanistic tendencies and sit down at all times.

Luckily most fans at Huish Park have to stand up as we don’t have many seats and participation in our wonderful song book which includes the hit “Yeovil True” is pretty much compulsory.

We need to stamp out homophobia like we stamped out racism, we don’t need the stuff about northern b*stards either, but to stop the derision of Norwich as a “bus stop near Ipswich” is to iron out the creases that make football our national game.

You can’t legislate for crowd behaviour, change comes from within and it’s a slow process. The experience of watching footie today is a mile away from the wretched experience of the 70s and 80s when I was growing up.

Sometimes we should take a step back from the argument and admire ourselves. I reckon we’ve got the finest leagues in the world and that’s because of the fans- let’s give ourselves a round of applause and not inflame any more bonfires.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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6 Responses to Footie chants – malicious or otherwise

  1. benwood851 says:

    The point I have made in my blog is I don’t think its a case of bring homophobic. Its a case of using the stereotype of the city. As you say your not all farmers and I’m sure your visting supporters are not all chavs. I am positive you could publish the songs off most clubs and they could seem offencive.
    For instance all people from Liverpool are not on the dole.
    All people from Norwich do not drive tractors.
    As a villa fan we get songs aimed at us but its just a joke. Being able to laugh at banter is part of football. If I wanted to sit down not sing or have banter with opposition fans I would go and watch golf lol

    • henry tapper says:

      Exactly – it’s only when the banter turns to hatred and violence- otherwise give as good as you get and let’s not sanitise the terraces – they are not to become golf clubs!

  2. George Kirrin says:

    I hope you don’t include the Scottish Leagues when you suggest “the finest leagues in the world”, Henry.

    Scottish fans, whenever they’re asked, say they don’t want to see their teams play the other teams at least four times each season, yet the best reconstruction on offer this summer is a 12-12-18 to succeed the present 12-10-10-10. When I was a boy there were 18 teams in each league and they played 34 games, which was enough. Our league cup was run on regional sections at the start of the season too, so you had some local derbies to kick things off. The people who run the Scottish leagues today (and there are three bodies, when one should be enough) seem obsessed with having 36 or 38 league games per season, which leads to the 4 games against each other approach; and knock out competitions with replays and extra time, when fans just want a result after 90 minutes. Go straight to penalties if the scores are level (or consider using the method used during and immediately after WWII of deciding drawn games on corner kicks, which today could be updated to shots on target or some similar measure of attacking play). Back to the future would seem to me to be an improvement north of the border.

    But apart from Scotland, I do think even England needs to look elsewhere for some better practices to consider. The German leagues, for example. seems to have the ticket pricing at more sensible levels, and clubs arrange transport for their fans to travel away. The American sports system also has the levelling up of competition through draft picks and similar measures to avoid Big Fours (in England) or Big Twos (in Scotland, even if one half is in division four for now) strangling competition season after season.

  3. henry tapper says:

    It will happen George – when we get beat by the German clubs on ticket prices and on the pitch – change will happen – it seems like football is adaptive to change – unlike pensions!

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