Since when did football’s baying mobs occupy the moral high ground?
Many Arsenal supporters spent half of last season, and most of Saturday’s match, screaming abuse at Emmanuel Adebayor. On Saturday, he scored and dared to run the length of the pitch to celebrate in front of them.
“Outrageous” and “shocking” screamed just about everyone. Obviously he should take the blame for the visiting fans’ subsequent eruption of hatred and vitriol. It was clearly his fault that some of them threw missiles on to the pitch and he is obviously culpable for the City steward being knocked unconscious in the melee.
He got booked for his troubles – for “incitement” – and now there is talk of him being banned.
Crowds abusing players, whether it is the polite booing of a former member of their club or the increasingly nasty attacks of recent seasons, has always been part of the game. When a player has the temerity to reply with a “shush”, or a finger on the lips, hand cupped to ear etc those same fans appear outraged.
Look at the photographs from Saturday’s game as Adebayor slid towards the visitors’ section. The furious hatred, the hand signals, the abuse shown by some fans – ground bylaw offences by the bucketload and enough to have the perpetrators thrown out of the ground should the stewards have chosen to act.
Mitch Phillips, London