Racist, sexist and mocking terrorist attacks. Welcome to the Arsenal fans.

The Arsenal Away section at Stamford Bridge today.

Leaving Chelsea deflated is no new feeling to any Arsenal fan, but I felt particularly frustrated today. Not with the team, not with the manager, not even with having to pay £51 for the annual privilege of watching Didier Drogba score – but with the Arsenal fans.

Arsenal as a club have always prided themselves on class. From Herbet Chapman in the 1930s the club has been a shining light. The way we run ourselves on a sustainable financial model, the quality of the stadium, the quality of our pitch, the work the club does in the Community and abroad, the way our former heroes host Q&A sessions at AGMs… just some of the many reasons I’m so proud to be an Arsenal fan.

I think our away support would have been on that list but no longer. Today just encapsulated what so many of those I travel the country with, have been saying for a long time – our away support can be an embarrassment.

I don’t mind if you want to sing about John Terry’s mother being a thief, Cheyll Cole leaving Ashley or any other event based on a personal weakness of a player if you feel the need –  though I’d question how productive it is to try and work up professional footballers in the first place. However, even in the macho environment of a football ground there has to be a line of acceptability of what fans can sing and I think the Arsenal fans cross what’s acceptable.

When Arsenal fans sing ‘Adebayor, Adebayor, he used to like coach trips, but not anymore’ I cringe. I’m always staggered by the amount of fans who think it’s acceptable to stamp on the graves of the three Togolese men who died when their bus was shot at, at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year. Footballers and coaches on their way to play football no less. Imagine if fans in Italy sang songs about the July 7th London bombings – would we all have a good giggle about it? I think not.

It’s not the only song that worries me. The pure glee today, that some of the moronic fans around me seem to get from singing ‘Ashley’s got aids, Ashley’s got aids, he caught it from Drogba, Ashley’s got aids’ beggars belief. Yes, he left our beloved football club, but he’s a better and more successful footballer for it. That we joke about AIDS is despicable enough and insinuating the African Drogba has AIDS shames any attempt our club can have to be associated with ‘Kick Racism Out of Football.’

Yes, they’ll be fans who think I should grow up – that it’s only a laugh and that actually the ability to shout or sing whatever you want is what going to a football stadium is all about. Quite frankly if your version of having a laugh is singing songs about victims of terrorist attacks, AIDS victims or spending 90 minutes trying to pretend that Ashley Cole is homosexual then I don’t really want to hang out with you anymore every fortnight. I go to support my team, make a mockery of our opponents maybe, but not to listen to some people provided a setting in which they can excuse their racism.

Maybe, my brief stint in Student Politics did what it was supposed to by turning me a bit more left wing, but I make no apology for saying that I can’t see how it is acceptable.

11 Responses to “Racist, sexist and mocking terrorist attacks. Welcome to the Arsenal fans.”
  1. Josh Colman says:

    great blog, I hear the adebayor song at spurs as well and refuse to sing it, it happens all over the prem and just isn’t acceptable. The FA need to crack down on these sort of fans. these fans wouldn’t speak to an african they met on the street like they sing, so why is it acceptable to do it at a football match..

  2. joshlandy says:

    I agree. Most of them would run a mile before even dreaming of talking that way in public – yet for some reason, the apparent safety net of a football stadium makes it acceptable.

    Maybe it’s also a weakness of the fans around those singing who should be clearer about their views on such songs being sung around them are?

    Maybe every other club is as bad, but that’s not a comforting thought.

  3. sam freiberger says:

    well said, completely agree

  4. Jonathan Hausmann says:

    Great blog Landy..

    Would say that in general Arsenal’s away support is amazing but there will always be the minority who will spoil it for other’s.. This would change if the police would do something to the minority to make then understand this is unnaceptable.. Having complained to the police after a minority of Arsenal fans sang Spurs are on their way to Aushwitz at Barnet pre season I am still waiting for a reply.. Says a lot..

  5. Ricky Lawrence says:

    Agree with every word. Unfortunately the bottom line is that the majority of (away) fans are complete morons. Arsenal are probably no worse than a lot of them but that doesn’t make it any better. It can definitely ruin the game for you but ultimately you go to support your team and you don’t want brainless idiots to stop you doing that. Something should be done about it though, how difficult it is to stop/police though, I’m not so sure.

  6. joshlandy says:

    Thanks Mr Hausmann… but maybe you should complain to the club? We send our own stewards all over the country with the team, surely they should be able to do something?

    I actually remember being in Milan, before we played Inter (5-1) and some Arsenal ‘fans’ singing ‘one man went to gas, went to gas a yiddo’ and some arsenal fans going up to them and I remember how brave I thought they were, questioning who those singing. All I know is that they quickly stopped. I think it’s always the case that the majority find those kind of songs unacceptable, yet most are probably scared to do anything about it.

    I agree Ricky, it’s hard. I think the reality is that it needs the club to make it clear it’s not welcome and then maybe it is up to the fans to self police. If we have our own stewards in there, they should be dealing with it anyway as could the home crowds stewards? But you’re right, I imagine Arsenal are not that much worse than most, though I’m sure there’s people reading this who could enlighten us.

  7. Its a maturity thing and also being able to separate what has become the pantomime element of Premier League football, with the fact that these are real people they’re singing about and real

  8. James Clegg says:

    Some interesting points. I’ve never been in with the Gunners so can’t really comment. However, WBA’s away support seems to be a touch better….come and support a real team! Whether it’s because, being a yoyo team, we don’t play anyone regularly enough or not the abuse seems to be heavily focussed not on the ethnicity of the opposition but more Wolverhampton Wanderers and, more specifically, Steve Bull. Maybe we’ll move into the 21st or even the 20th century soon but for the time being it all seems very light-hearted. I agree that AIDS and race certainly have no place in football chants. Why not just stick with the thoughts that Lampard looks like an obese duck and Ray Wilkins uncle Fester

    • joshlandy says:

      I think that reflects what I’ve seen and heard of WBA James, a good club with a good fanbase. Songs about rival players and supposed legends of your rival clubs are common place all around the country, but thanks for the thoughts, good to hear the WBA away fans know how to behave.

  9. Joe Barnsley says:

    First off, very well written piece. happy to contribute thoughts re: fb invitation to do so.

    Everton (my club) are an interesting case given their reputation. When Kevin Campbell was our first black captain, my Mum – a season ticket holder for decades -was emotional saying she never thought she’d see the day. In all my time, I’ve only ever experienced one incident to which I did cause a scene and get the guy thrown out. I think the speed by which the stewards did it showed the sensivtivy.

    He used the n-word in reaction to a bad tackle, but there’s a difference between that sort of ignorance and mocking, even if they often inform each other. We don’t want to strip all humour out of football, but there is a lot of offensive stuff over the line, how do you draw a line, especially to someone else? I guess I could just say we all just have to stay vigilant and vocal to make sure its a welcoming enviorment for new and young fans, if not santised.

    (I do find away ends and England matches worse…)

    More blogs please!

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  1. […] weeks ago I sat amongst a group of morons in the Arsenal section at Chelsea aggrieved by our embarrassing offensive supporters. Tonight, back […]

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