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Football – More Important Than Life and Death?

9 years ago

The derby matches are always a time when emotions are running high and many people getting even drunker than usual, while others get a little bit dafter than the norm.

The recent match down the road saw headlines regarding Sunderland fans singing ‘we wish you were dead’ towards Steven Taylor, a response to the Newcastle defender winding them up before the match, saying he would rather collect stamps than play for Sunderland, just one of his cartoonesque wind-ups.

The mackems have form of course, especially the over the top stuff they sang about Sir Bobby Robson, particularly ironic when you take into account the fact he  was always supportive of them as well and regularly went to watch them.

I’d be the last person to suggest Newcastle fans are all angels but in the great scheme of things both us and the mackems have managed to avoid the worst excesses of ‘football supporting’ seen elsewhere.

Steven Taylor has talked this week about his shock at the abuse and death threats referee Mark Halsey and his family have received. The recovering cancer sufferer had enquired as to how Taylor was doing after the derby related stick he’d got and had responded with, “No problems at all, just a bit of banter”.

Halsey then revealed to Taylor about getting death threats and people threatening to put a bullet in his kids’ heads, plus a fan cautioned after he’d refereed Liverpool v Manchester United in September when a message was posted – ‘Hope Mark Halsey gets cancer again and dies’.

if I had to pick the worst examples that just seem to go on and on then it would be Leeds with their ‘Munich’ taunts to Manchester United fans and those self-same Man.U. fans with their ‘Hillsborough’ stuff to Liverpool fans.

Obviously you can’t demonise all of their support but it’s hardly a handful of people is it? Plus it is year after year, match after match.

I didn’t see it myself but somebody told me they’d seen at our recent defeat by Manchester United, a few dozen people making the aeroplane gestures towards their fans. What ‘s that all about?

It isn’t a case of needing to have a big love-in before, during and after matches but surely there are minimum levels of behaviour and respect we all want  to see towards other football fans/human beings.

Some of the funniest things I’ve ever heard have been at the match but it didn’t need somebody to die to provoke it.





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