Steve Talks Shite No 4

England 6 - Racists 0

I am walking into a minefield here. But I want to comment. My reasons will become clear as you read this.

As you may see by the disgusting image you see at the top of this page, the subject is the European Qualification match played last night between Bulgaria and England. It may be in years to come seen as “ground breaking. It is the first time U.E.F.A invoked their anti -acist protocols. This involved stopping the game twice and making stadium announcements. I don’t want to drone on too much about how bad racism is, and how outraged we should all be. (btw. If you are not outraged by this. Please stop reading and don’t come back).

I have a few observations  About the sub humans taking part in this behaviour and also about the reaction to it by the authorities.

We all knew this was coming, it’s been talked about in the press for over a week. So there was no surprise at all it happened. It was clear that there was a section of the crowd that were clearly a “gang”. They virtually had a uniform! Those black hoodies, with slogans on.

Why were they allowed in the ground?

This “gang” were asked to leave at half time. But it didn’t stop. Tyrone Mings (who I thought looked the real deal, and we may just have found ourselves a decent defender) says, “I could hear it during the warm up”. His interview was measured. I wonder what he really thought?

So I think we all saw what went on during the match. But some of the things I have seen since need a comment.

The Chairman of the English FA. Greg Clarke is obviously a huge Harry Potter fan, He borrowed his cloak of invisibility Why was that? He should have led from the front. IF they really wanted to make a statement to World Football and show that as a Nation we are serious about this. He should have got his suited brigade of old white men together, marched en-masse down to pitch side and walked to the centre circle, gathered the team and led them off. How powerful would that have been?
Instead he hid behind his seat and let Southgate call it. 

The Bulgarian manager Babakov

So before as an outraged Nation we sit here, on our moral high ground. I think that we should maybe take a look at ourselves? There are racist incidents at every Football ground in the Country. maybe more isolated. Individuals or very small factions spreading their vile views. But nothing in an organised scale such as this. But nevertheless unpalatable to the majority of decent folk, whatever your nationality.

I firmly believe Racism is cultural. I also believe that culture always evolves.  25 years ago it was perfectly acceptable for the person sitting next to you while you were out having a meal light up a cigarette. Try that now.

35 years ago it was perfectly acceptable for Love Thy Neighbour, Alf Garnett, It Ain’t Half Hot Mum and the Black and White Minstrel to be shown on prime time TV in the UK. I say “acceptable”. But it wasn’t ever acceptable was it? How could that have ever been acceptable?

While we watched Eddie Booth who played that racist bigot in Love Thy Neighbour make fun of his black neighbour Bill Reynolds. We sniggered.

While we watched Alf Garnet make weekly references to “wogs”  and “coons”. We sniggered.

While Jim Davidson did his impression of this West Indian mate “Chalky”. We sniggered.

While we watched men with black shoe polish on their faces dance and sing for our viewing pleasure. We sniggered.

While my Grandad would say to my best friend, who was black and family came from Jamaica in the 50’s. “I didn’t see you there in the dark until you smiled“. We both (my friend and I) sniggered. Very uncomfortablely I may add.

I guess that sort of cultural racism is why we have this disease. The same media who are outraged now, were the ones spreading this “culture”. Making it acceptable.

I know that this disgusting culture has been slowly changing. Not fast enough, but it has changed. But not everyone has moved on with it.

But when I think about the times when I heard my Grandad talk to my friend like that. I feel deeply ashamed. Ashamed that I didn’t speak out,

Things will never change until people who are not being racially absued speak out. It would have made more of a statement if that old white bloke, Greg Clarke took his leadership seriously. But he choose to leave it to a young black kid who was being subjected to vile abuse whilst making his England debut. Tyrone Mings, Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling are all 10 times the men he is.

This goes beyond football, beyond sport. It defines who we are and who we live as a society.

That’s why i am using my platform to speak out. 

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2 thoughts on “Steve Talks Shite No 4

  1. Extremely well written as always Steve. I must admit during the late 70s and early 80s I watched football from non league to 1st division (Birmingham were there occasionally) and it was acceptable to throw bananas and make monkey chants. I laughed at the time.

    Watching this with my 20 year old son last night made me so horrified it’s hard to put into words- yes horrified at the actions of last night but horrified at how deeply racist football was. I felt ashamed of myself as racist by association – I never made the noises or indulged but I didn’t stop it either.

    We have come a long way but we have along way to go. I suspect a lot of decent non-racist 50 somethings like myself are feeling very uncomfortable today.

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