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Time to consign ‘Feed the Scousers’ and ‘Bin dippers’ to history – Starting on Saturday

10 months ago

There was a return to some of the vilest chants at the weekend at Elland Road, it wasn’t a small minority singing about the Munich air disaster either.

Whether it was in retaliation for the Turkish flag being brandished in the away end and songs about the murders of two Leeds fans before a match against Galatasaray in 2000, it matters not one jot. I really thought we wouldn’t hear such chants inside a premier league football stadium in this day and age.

Next up at SJP we have Liverpool fans visiting, themselves the subject of dog’s abuse down the years, most notably the very distasteful chants about Hillsborough but also a very contentious issue that affects all communities across England, food poverty.

In the comments section on The Mag, I have seen a few people complaining because their references to ‘bin dippers’ and ‘rat eaters’ have been removed by moderators.

In the 1980s there was a song that started with the lyrics ‘In your Liverpool slums’. Man Utd fans sing about their devotion to South Korean international Park Ji-Sung which references Scousers ‘eating rats in their Council House’. And, in more recent times, Anfield has often been treated to a rendition of ‘Feed the Scousers’ by away fans, in the run up to Christmas.

Now, I’m not a fan of Liverpool. I actually prefer Everton (shock, horror). But I have seen the injustices of Hillsborough manifest themselves over thirty plus years and I call out anyone suggesting it was Liverpool fans who murdered their own on that hideous day.

However, the thing about food poverty, is that it is everywhere, an all pervasive and inescapable affliction of the modern world, a world in which we have the staggering statistic that the richest 1% in the UK are wealthier than 70% of the population combined.

I was privileged to get an invite to the West End Foodbank (WEFB) before Christmas where me and a small bunch of colleagues from my cushy office job were able to help out for an afternoon in their Newburn warehouse facility. The work was unlike anything I’ve been used to since embarking on an office career over thirty years ago, so much so that I was absolutely knackered after the five hour shift which entailed stacking shelves for ‘pickers’ to later load up crates consisting of cereal, soups, beans, pasta, tomato sauce and the like. Some of the crates are packed for single people, some for couples, others for families. It was a humbling experience for someone who doesn’t necessarily worry about their annual income, where they live and how they clothe themselves, never mind where their next meal is coming from.

I grew up on a Council Estate in Gateshead and the old man suffered the ignominy of a year on the dole in the early 1980s after having been made redundant from a job he considered had been for life. We couldn’t afford a car, never mind holidays of any description. It took my mother, who was employed as a cleaner, all her resourcefulness to feed and clothe me and my brother during a time where by 1984, I was asking for all kinds of designer wear and money for trips to exotic places like Maine Road, Ewood Park and Leeds Road. We never used a foodbank, I doubt they even existed back then).

So, it is both appalling and staggering in this day and age that we need an intervention that strips people of their dignity and severely hinders the development and life-chances of children.

The WEFB is of course assisted by Newcastle United and its owners, our fans are huge supporters of and contributors to WEFB. You see it every home match on Strawberry Place.

I understand that NUFC Fans Foodbank was established in late 2015, ironically after a group of fans had been alerted to and motivated by the ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’ initiative, which had brought Liverpool and Everton supporters together with the aim of tackling food poverty on Merseyside. These fan volunteers provide an essential role in helping to provide the basics of life to people who for one reason or another find themselves in various forms of crisis.

So, next time anyone is tempted to use those derogatory phrases to describe our opponents this Saturday, why not pause to think what it is you’re actually saying and who it is you’re actually saying it about?

(Here at The Mag we made a small donation of our own to the Newcastle West End Foodbank just before Christmas on behalf of all our readers / visitors / writers, if you would like to make your own personal donation then please go HERE)


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