You did WHAT to his mother?

On Saturday, I stood on a terrace to watch a football match which is a rare experience for me these days. It wasn’t a kick about at the local park but a professional game involving 22 men whose individual weekly salary often exceeds what most of you reading this earn in a year.

For those not familiar with football grounds, let me explain. In April 1989, 93 people died following a crush on the terraces at the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough, Sheffield. The report following the disaster concluded that all-seater stadiums would prevent this tragedy happening again and decreed that teams in the top two flights of the football league should comply. As these changes were very costly, those in the other leagues were encouraged to provide as many seats as possible.

My team was playing away and the ground still retained some terracing. This is an area with no seats but the occasional barrier to lean on. For many fans, standing up is the only way to watch football. It allows you to move with the game as well as remonstrate with players and officials alike if the game isn’t going your way.

Unfortunately, we were in the middle of a large group of foul mouthed louts. I didn’t realise it but I have a graded list of expletives that range from the odd swear word to such vocabulary that it should NEVER be heard and this includes the ‘C’ word. Sadly society has gradually tolerated many of these words to become part of every day language but the ‘C’ word was, I thought, still out of bounds.

How wrong I was. It was shouted at the referee. It was hurled at a player that had played for my team but now was on the opposing side. It was also used to describe all manner of disgusting acts that the louts had apparently done to the mothers of these unfortunate men. My problem was not only that I had to hear but I had no right of reply. I had nowhere else to go as the away crowd was sizeable and I knew if I should dare to say anything, I would be subjected to a similar barrage of obscenities.

I’m not a stranger to football. I went as a girl with my father so have grown up with the chants of the crowd. Many grounds have large notices reminding supporters to watch your language but unfortunately they apparently cannot be enforced. Once upon a time, there would have been a strong police presence among the crowd but this now proves too expensive for most of the clubs in the lower leagues, so they mostly use stewards, who appear to offer little or no deterrent to these yobs.

If it had been racial abuse, I know action would have been taken but I feel that the disgusting stuff that I and other supporters were forced to listen to was  equally intolerable and should be dealt with in the same way.. What is needed is for one of the big clubs to make a stand. To remove people from the ground who are using this filth. This, together with a ban from those top grounds would soon see a change in what is heard.

Come on Football Association. Take notice of your notices and take some action!

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  • I couldn’t have stayed, I’m no saint but that word makes me sick. There’s nothing left anymore is there? anything goes and even that word is becoming normal in certain places. It should be possible for families to enjoy a football match (if they can afford it) but I wouldn’t want mine to go anywhere near it.

  • Penny

    I was at one of the one day cricket matches earlier this year and was shocked (and I don’t shock easily) at the level of sexist abuse that the lads sitting behind me were levelling at any young woman that happened by. At one point later on in the day – after much drink had been taken – a big section of the crowd starting singing ‘Is she really going out with him’ at a couple with a younger woman and older man who walked by. Not to mention the casual unthinking racism with an 80s flavour aimed at someone in front of me. Like you I felt uncomfortable about saying anything and to be honest it spoilt the match for me. Maybe cricket also needs to start getting its house in order….

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