Football Supporter Issues Wrap – Feeder Clubs, Supporter Behavioural Contracts and the ‘Yid Army’ Debate

Feeder Clubs, Supporter Behavioural Contracts and the ‘Yid Army’

It’s been increasingly evident over the couple of years MOMS has been in existence that football supporters increasingly need to make themselves heard to safeguard the game. If it wasn’t the case, MOMS wouldn’t even exist. After all, we only came into being due to the fool-hardy appointment of Alex McLeish, that for obvious reasons was a disaster waiting to happen. Since then, we’ve been to parliament to add our voice to the MP debate on  Safe Standing, we’ve marched with supporters of other clubs to the Premier League offices in London to protest about the rising prices of the game to supporters, and we’ve challenged the puzzling ban on the use of the ‘One Stan Petrov’ banner with a petition of over a 1000 supporters asking the club to see common sense on the matter. These are just some of the many calls to action.

Over the upcoming weeks, on a regular basis, we’ll make sure MOMS followers are alerted to all the football supporter issues that are doing the rounds, as it’s important for Villa supporters to know what challenges other team’s supporters are facing. After all, knowledge is power and as football supporters, regardless of club loyalty, we all have to come together to protect our game.

IPCC Hillsborough witness appeal

The Independent Police Complaints Commission wants to hear from people who gave accounts to the West Midlands Police as part of the original investigation into the Hillsborough disaster. The IPCC are looking at how WMP conducted its own investigation. Contact them here…

Finally Some Sense on the ‘Yid Army’ Issue

Prime Minister David Cameron has stated that Tottenham fans should not be charged for the use of the term ‘yid’. The common sense stance is backed by Spurs boss AVB.  “I think it was what the Spurs fans want to hear. It was clear,” said AVB.

It’s a controversial that typifies the zero-tolerance line that the pc brigade have recently been pursing, but they must mitigate it by having some understanding of ‘terrace culture’. Football supporters are tribal to their cultures and geographical area. In the case of the ‘Yid Army’, it’s a self-proclaimed title, so it’s bizarre that they should be told what they can and cannot call themselves.

The song that has also provided a bone of contention in the media recently is the one aimed at Brighton supporters – “Does you boyfriend know your here?”

Is it a homophobic chant? Compared to the historical/stereotypical chants against other sets of fans, it could be argued that it is delivered  in the same spirit as fans would sing songs about Norwich & Ipswich fans being farmers/tractor drivers, Welsh fans being called ‘sheep shaggers’, or songs aimed at Liverpool for the city’s historical unemployment and theft rates etc.

Is it bad taste and lost common dominator stuff? Yes.

Do Brighton fans like it? Of course not. That’s the idea, it’s aim is to wind-up opposition supporters.

Isolated, as a song, it’s not delivered with hateful malice. To some extent, it’s like a comedian telling an none pc joke. After all, it’s not inferring there’s anything wrong with being gay. However, there are other songs that Brighton supporters have endured that are totally out of order and shouldn’t be tolerated.

There is a balance to strike and it’s not so clear-cut.

If the words to every chant are scrupulously scrutinised literally and supporters are dictated to in what they can and cannot sing as a result, it’ll only build resentment amongst fans and sanitise the experience of matches.

The ‘live match experience’ is something that is sold to tourists and written on those half-and-half scarves, and the atmosphere of Premier League games is a product that international TV markets pay top dollar for the rights to screen, but if stadiums became totally soulless environments, then the game’s appeal would begin to wane.

Racism is normally delivered in football grounds by individual idiots and these are the people who should be targeted. Traditional banter should be considered, as just that. Spurs fans not being able to refer to themselves as the ‘yid army’ was bordering on repression.

Rainbow Laces

rainbow laces

Fair play to the Stonewall charity for this initiative to raise awareness of homophobia in football. Simple and effective, it’s raising the issue and making people think, rather than ordering them to do something. There’s no big hoo-ha about getting players to wear them. It was left to be a matter of choice. Which is a more effective way of,  in this case, making the player to make an actual choice, rather than just following an instruction, which they are largely trained to do in their professional life.

The ‘Kick It Out’ Racism campaign in some respects is perhaps a little heavy-handed at times in its delivery. Sometimes their methods come across as a diktat. As we’ve seen, suddenly if a player doesn’t wear a ‘Kick It Out’ T-shirt for whatever reason, after being told to, suddenly their seen as not supporting the battle against racism in the game. There should be less of a ‘holding a gun to people’s heads’ approach, and more of an emphasis on nurture and education (especially for younger generations).

So hats off to Stonewall for the initiative in tackling one of the supposed greatest taboo topics in football, in a constructive and effective manner.

Supporter Behavioral Contracts

The Football Supporters Federation announced on Twitter it had accompanied a football fan to a successful appeal hearing against a club ban. No football banning order was issued, but the fan was instructed to sign a ‘Supporter Behavioral Contract’. Essentially a re-iteration and reinforcement of  the  ground regulations that you accept on purchase of a season ticket. It seems a little over-the-top. Still, there is a simple way around it and that’s to behave in the first place!

Everton Fan Power

The new Everton club badge went down like a sack of …. with Evertonians. It was meant to be a modern take on the badge, which ditched the club’s latin motto “nil satis nisi optimum ” (‘Nothing but the best’), which has been the motto of the club since 1878. It was a simple example of how modern football (i.e. the people who work in the marketing, communications and consumer services positions at clubs) increasingly seems to be ignorant of the tradition and history that bonds the game together. Luckily football supporters aren’t so ignorant though, with Everton fans being so incensed by the badge that thousands petitioned to have it changed. Since,  almost 20,000 Evertonians have their say on what they would like to see from the next crest and that information has now been collated and used by an independent design team to draft a number of potential crests.

The crests will now be put to the vote of Everton supporters that have a valid customer number (approximately 280,000), with the vote being independently managed and verified by Electoral Reform Services and run throughout this week until the October 1st.

Feeder Clubs

As the Football Supporters Federation highlighted and the Daily Mail reported, Premiership clubs are supposedly mulling over the idea of using lower league clubs as feeder clubs. The fact that they’re even thinking about it apparently stems from the debate opened by FA chairman Greg Dyke about the development of English footballers, due to the shortcomings of the national team in recent years.

Surely it’s a non-starter?

Imagine Swansea when they were fighting for survival in Division Two and also extinction. If out of financial desperation they agreed to be a Premiership club’s feeder club, would they then be allowed to play in the same division after their resulting run of promotions? Probably not. Ala the ‘B’ teams in La Liga, there would be a limit to their ambition. But a ‘B’ team is different to an actual other football club, that has its own supporter base and catchment area

We await with glee how they’ll try to  introduce the idea of a formal feeder club system to football supporters. You’ve got to love the FA and Premiership’s apparent lack of respect and ignorance of football culture and supporters!


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