No place in football for vile chants

I love banter. I always have done and I’m sure I always will.

In football and cricket teams I have played in, there has generally been a healthy dose of it flying around and the key thing is that people can take it as well as giving it.

As a football fan it is also good to have some banter with supporters of other teams and of course with opposing players.

Some good healthy knockabout fun goes on – but I have become increasing saddened about the re-emergence of really offensive chanting from the stands.

Obviously it is not new. I grew up in those bad days of monkey chants and bananas being thrown on to pitches. Horrible, horrible times.

I also remember the songs about the Munich air crash and very personal attacks on individual players which so many joined in with as they were in a crowd on the terraces.

And while offensiveness from fans has been around for decades, it does seem to be getting a lot worse.

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I don’t know what was said to City’s Tom Adeyemi at Anfield last week and with legal proceedings under way, I will be careful how I comment on that.

However, something pretty vile must have been uttered to have left the youngster so upset.

I was disturbed by the reaction of so many in The Kop who so quickly related it to the Luiz Suarez saga.

The racism incidents are the ones which have attracted the big headlines.

But there have been some really sick songs which have been doing the rounds which I find it hard to comprehend why anyone would join in with.

Barnsley fans were accused of making vile chants about the death of Doncaster Rovers striker Billy Sharp’s new-born son.

And Emmanuel Adebayor was taunted with comments about the shooting dead of his Togo team-mates.

You can’t get much lower than those sort of gutter levels.

So is this a football problem which has spilled in to society or vice versa?

I think Gordon Strachan got it just right when he spoke out about the whole subject during the FA Cup highlights programme at the weekend.

He clearly believes that those that instigate this filth do it because of the type of people they are and not because they are football fans.

It is a disease which has infected the great game and been spread within it. Football matches are very public events and sadly once chants start they can gather momentum.

Some who join in are easily led and may not think properly about what they are singing while others actually share the offensive views of the instigators.

So what is the answer? Clubs can do all they can to deal with those picked out for voicing bile but that is not always easy.

So surely we all have a responsibility to have a word if those around us are being offensive.

And let’s stick to the good old banter we all know and love.

• Hero of the week: As I’m the Twitter new boy, I thought I ought to relate this to my hero. So stand up Anthony Pilkington – you set the standard which we can only dream of. The popular winger is heading towards 25,000 followers and he posts a good range of amusing and even heart-warming tweets. One of them this week was: “1st time I’ve had to drop off my lil man at Nursery and seeing him cry as I left him and walked away just killed me! Hardest thing ever!” Bless!

• Villain of the week: The end of panto season has brought out plenty of villains. Before he disappears into the footballing wilderness and we hear no more from him for a long time, the boo boy award will go to Mr Warnock. Where do you start with the reasons? Well the key one for me is that he completely made up the claim that Bradley Johnson had gone down after Joey Barton pushed his head into the City player’s face. Will we miss old Neil? Er, I won’t.

• Highlight of the week: Of course staying in the Premier League has to be the number one priority this year. But I love the FA Cup and some of my favourite City memories have come from the great competition (beating West Ham 3-1 in the replay in the heyday of the blow up Canaries was a brilliant night). So I’m delighted that PL took the game on Saturday so seriously and that we won. And who says we can’t have a decent run and survive?

• Funniest moment of the week: There are a range of comedy moments linked to QPR which I could mention this week, with Neil Warnock and Joey Barton the subject of plenty on their own. But the gong goes to the City fans who ended off a great day at Loftus Road last week with the song to the QPR chairman: “He bought the wrong club, he bought the wrong club, Tony Fernandes, he bought the wrong club!”

• Prediction of the week: Scholes is back, Henry is surely there will have to be the return of some old stagers to the City team? Hux roaring down the left wing? Or maybe Malky will give up the chance to go to Wembley to return to the backline or possibly Paul McVeigh will swap his microphone for his boots......?


I’ve kicked off 2012 by joining Twitter.

When I first started supporting the Canaries in the mid 70s, we got most of our footy news from the Evening News, EDP and Pink Un, with a bit from radio and TV.

The growth of multi-media – and its affect on football coverage in particular – has been phenomenal.

I remember going to watch City train at Trowse when I was about 10. John Bond was manager, Ken Brown was his assistant and my heroes at the time included Martin Peters and Justin Fashanu.

It was a huge thing for me to get anywhere near them and have my picture taken with the team.

But Twitter gives us an insight into what today’s Canaries are up to and their thoughts on all range of topics. it makes you wonder what the next 30 years will bring?

You can follow me on Twitter – @IanClarke41. It will be good to get your feedback on this column and ideas for your heroes and villains and highlights and predictions – and basically any thoughts on the Canaries.

On The Tweet City.