Gentlemen. No swearing please!
Former Tottenham Hotspur defender Gary Mabbutt said recently that he never swore once during his 19-year career that ended in 1998.
It’s ironic, for nowhere is swearing more prevalent than in soccer. Over the years foul language has cemented itself as part of football culture.
The unforgettable Brian Clough, in keeping with his eccentric ways, once decided to erect signs around Nottingham Forest’s City Ground reading, “Gentlemen. No swearing please! Brian.”
Old Big ‘Ead threatened to resign (in jest, of course) if the fans didn’t adhere to his requests, but they merely responded with a cheeky sign of their own… “Brian. No leaving please! The Gentlemen.”
That was 20 years ago when hooliganism was a big problem in the game.
However, nowadays language at football grounds is often still foul and abusive — both on and off the pitch. Bearing in mind stadiums have become a lot more family friendly, what kind of an example must this be setting and shouldn’t the FA be doing more to stop it?
My Reuters colleague Mike Collett told me last year about his experience at a Millwall game, where three generations of the same family were repeatedly using offensive language.
As ticket prices have soared, fans are increasingly arguing for their right to voice their opinion. But should they watch the language they use?
PHOTO: Manchester united and england striker Wayne Rooney has often been caught on camera swearing during matches. Of course, he is not alone. October 25, 2008. REUTERS/Phil Noble