the sol campbell abuse issue


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 done.

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.

For 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 that. 

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 homophobic chanting]


what you think of the issue ...



With the lies and deceit that Campbell came out with as he came to the close of his contract, is it surprising that he is held in such low esteem by Tottenham fans ?

While this has come at a time that Spurs are struggling in the league, the echoes of his actions strike home now.  If he had not walked out of Tottenham leaving them penniless for the time and effort that they had put into his development as a player, we might not find ourselves in this situation.

I am not saying he is solely responsible for Tottenham being bottom of the league nor that he deserves to be abused over personal matters, but the way he left Tottenham will always sting a section of the fans.  The whole Berbatov fracas has come about because Spurs did not want to get into a "Campbell situation" again.  The circumstances are slightly different, but players walking out on the club would not be tolerated again, unless it was on the club's terms.  This has left them open to speculation over players and also to players who want to leave forcing the club's hand. 

I have never sung about Campbell being gay or being black.  I only sing about the way he treated the club that he told "I'm going nowhere."



So, taking Rio Ferdinand's argument to the logical extension, who is going to throw every fan out who questions the referee's parentage or suggests he practices onanism and will he be equally as guilty when he is pictured on TV screaming obscenities at the man in black (or are we not allowed to say that ?).

I do not have a problem with Campbell making a point about his treatment if it goes beyond what is reasonable, but what I do have a problem with is people taking up the baton on his behalf.  Especially when those people are not always aware of all the facts.

The newspapers, I can accept will not let the facts get in the way of a good story, political talking heads and someone like Ferdinand, who has fallen foul of such stories about him, should know better.



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