Last week saw several separate incidents involving football fans on the terraces shaming themselves with absolutely abhorrent behaviour. Incidents of offensive chanting have no place either in the game or, more pertinently, in 21st-century life.
It is time the requisite authorities took steps, drastic if need be, to curb these despicable tendencies and rid football of them for good.
As Spurs took on Lazio in the Europa League at White Hart Lane last week, Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe was subject to monkey chants from sections of the away fans.
Similarly, Chelsea’s John Mikel Obi took to Twitter after Chelsea’s home draw with Juventus to apologise for his role in the west Londoners’ surrendering of a 2-0 lead – only to find himself the recipient of racist abuse.
His account was subsequently deleted and the police informed, but it is not just racist behaviour causing alarm.
Two weeks ago, the Hillsborough inquiry absolved Liverpool fans of any blame for the 1989 tragedy in which 96 crowd members were crushed to death – a result that saw unequivocal apologies from prime minister David Cameron.
This was greeted with jeers at Manchester United’s home match against Wigan that weekend, where some home fans are alleged to have chanted “always the victims, never your fault”, in reference to their rivals.
Such behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated by an individual on the street – why should group mentality offer a safe haven to these brain-cell-deprived morons?
Earlier this year, Euro 2012 saw several occurences of racist chanting and the Patrice Evra/ Luis Suarez race row was an ugly blot on the Premier League, yet too little is done.
Racism in Ukraine and Poland was largely dismissed, and Suarez was handed a £40,000 fine. When many Premier League stars earn six figures a week, this penalty is meaningless and tokenistic.
The offending individuals, on and off the pitch, need to be addressed appropriately, steps taken, culpability assumed and examples set to rid football of this dire affliction.
Is enough being done to combat offensive behaviour in football? firstname.lastname@example.org
Looks like the legacy’s on too
Legacy. Inspire a generation.
These words have been bandied around a hell of a lot with regard to the Olympics’ lasting impact, most frequently debated in the weeks since the curtain came down on this year’s summer of sport.
If the numbers turning out for the Tour of Britian are anything to go by, the UK’s passion for sport is continuing undiminished.
The worry was that London 2012 would be a shambles. It wasn’t. Attention – and typical British cynicism – then turned to legacy, and how this would fail, too.
But as the Olympic cycling stars, Cavendish, Wiggins and co, turned out for the Tour of Britain, fans have been lining the streets in their droves, everywhere from Ipswich to Guildford to Dumfries.
Just as London shocked everyone, not least themselves, with a sterling Games, it looks like the legacy pledge is going to be just as surprisingly successful.