There are so many things getting dragged
up around the club since we hit rock bottom that it is really starting
to annoy me. None more so than the abuse of Sol Campbell.
The songs about him have been sung for
eight years now. Some are worse than others and I do not partake
of the homophobic ones, of which "You can stick your Sol Campbell ..." I
do not regard as one, as it is more a comment on the need that the club
had for the player.
Any songs which contain abuse about him
are no different than others sung by other clubs about other players
("Teddy, Teddy, you're a ...." Arsenal fans sung).
Songs about what the fans might like to
do with him are being taken too seriously by those who obviously lack
the passion that his move from Tottenham stirred. It's not right
to sing about some of these things, but better that they are sung than
Of all the rhetoric spouted by
commentators on this subject (including Rio Ferdinand and Peter Tatchell),
is the implication that there has been a racial element to this.
While I cannot say categorically that individual fans may or may not
have shouted racial comments, I cannot recall a song that brings racism
into the equation. It is ironic perhaps that the abuse he receives
is not due to his colour, but the (change in) colour of his shirt, as
the Kick It Out slogan went a couple of years back. Even when this
was at its height (bottles thrown at the Arsenal team coach and effigies
hung outside the ground - again not something I would support), there
was not a reference to his colour or ethnicity. The reception that
Defoe received at the same game shows that there is no feeling about
ex-players on the grounds of colour. And that goes for opposition
players too, as the immaculate minute's silence observed by Spurs fans
at Highbury when David Rocastle died was held at the derby game.
How many clubs can say that when they have been asked to respect a local
rival's top player ?
And how ironic too that these
commentators have now come out of the woodwork to decry the racism angle
(although Tatchell did say that the homophobic chanting would receive a
greater amount of opprobrium should it have been racist) when for years
at Tottenham we have had to withstand anti-Semitic chanting from Leeds
United fans, West Ham fans and Chelsea fans. The debate about the
Spurs fans use of the chant "Yids" and "Yid Army" continues but it has
been adopted to deflect the abuse others aimed at the supporters and the
club. Will the FA be retrospectively taking points off those
clubs, as Ferdinand suggests ?
I wonder why this is now a big issue ?
Could it be that Campbell is coming to the end of his career and wants
some revenge before he finishes his playing days ? Is it that it
has affected his performances in games against Spurs for so long that he
finally has worked it out and wants an end to it ? Or is it that
the gentle souls of Portsmouth cannot face the prospect of the bad
language used when they have a local rivalry with their neighbours SCBC,
so delightfully called the "Scummers", which challenges the big derbies
for it's ferocity ?
Or is it a chance to kick Tottenham when
they are down ?
The fact that it is now eight years since he
left has no real bearing on the matter. Manchester City and Leeds
and Liverpool still sing about the 1958 Munich Air crash. Players
who have moved to Manchester United from some of their rivals are still
reviled. Spurs still sing about a derby match thirty years ago.
I am sure other events are not allowed to be forgotten, with club's
supporters being equally foul-mouthed in doing so.
Clubs can eject supporters for foul
language, but I have sat among some of the most vile abuse heaped down
on players while stewards do not even bat an eyelid. The argument
that fans are ejected is one that has some truth. At away game sin
the past, police snatch squads have gone into an away end and taken a
number of fans out, but it was probably less than 5% of the number who
were actually being abusive. How it can be put into action to
punish all those who are guilty is a more problematical issue.
Banning all fans because of a minority make sit seem like the
school-teacher who keeps the whole class in after school unless the one
person who was naughty owns up.
one minute, I do not disrespect the right for this matter to be aired,
but let's look at the whole picture.
And let's not forget that football is built
on rivalries that go back over a hundred years in some cases. It
is a passionate game, but that passion has to be held in check
sometimes. The player made a career choice, which he must have
known would make him persona non grata at White Hart Lane. Even
Ian Wright has come out and said that making that move would ensure that
the defender would be the subject of abuse and that he must have known
The words of Sol Campbell at the time
before he left the club may not have been abusive, but they were hurtful
and hid what he really meant.
It is a shame that some Spurs fans are
not being more careful in their choice of words when revealing what they
really think about him.
[who does not condone racist and