Yesterday’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.
- Yeovil v Swindon: Gary Johnson talks to Sportsmail (dailymail.co.uk)
- Brighton fans demand FA action over homophobic chants (metro.co.uk)
- Yeovil 0-2 Swindon (bbc.co.uk)
- A season of success at Yeovil Town (flforum.wordpress.com)
- Balanta set for Yeovil loan (skysports.com)
- Yeovil Town sign Ben Gordon (sportsmole.co.uk)
- Lee and Gary Johnson set to face off for Oldham and Yeovil (dailymail.co.uk)
- Brighton fans compile dossier highlighting homophobic abuse, urge authorities to tackle issue (timescolonist.com)
- Fans’ Plea To FA Over Homophobic Chants (news.sky.com)
- When does Banter go to far? (benwood851.wordpress.com)