Right or Wrong: Crowd Abuse During Football Matches?

It’s not rare, is it, to observe fans throwing abuse at opposition players and manager? It’s very much accepted and to be honest, it is an indispensable fraction of the sport of football and without it football wouldn’t really be the same. And let’s face it, abuse during football matches both on the pitch and off it in the stands can never be terminated.

But if you are Harry Redknapp, then you are certainly one who is against the use of foul language and abusive words at football matches. The Portsmouth manager was showered with a volley of obscene language and abused by the Aston Villa fans during his side’s 3-1 win over the club at Villa Park on Saturday and the man has now come out of the shell.

Redknapp says that he had had never heard such abusive language in his life and is worried about the bad example that this is providing to the kids. Redknapp has also declared his intense shock at the fact that even little children, who otherwise ought to be subjected to more refined language, have taken to uttering “filth”.

In Harry Redknapp’s words:

You’ve got people saying stuff behind you with little kids shouting filth. I didn’t bring my kids up to talk like that. Do we have to keep standing there and accepting that? It didn’t happen when I went with my dad to watch Arsenal play every Saturday. There was none of this sort on nonsense going on. Maybe I shouldn’t get upset but I do. What hurts me the most is when I see someone going at it, when they have got their little son by their side. He can talk how he wants to me but doing it in front of his lad and making filthy gestures just stinks. Maybe it is a reflection on society.

Although crowd abuse is miles away from being uncommon anywhere in Europe, especially in Spain where things do tend to get out of control, managers coming out and complaining about the entire thing is quire rare. Yet it was only last month that Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson came out and said that he would have the club prepare a dossier after he was verbally abused by Arsenal fans during the two sides’ 2-2 draw at the Emirates Stadium.

But would such dossiers help? It’s clear to one and all that football is the biggest outlet of emotions and expression. Where a football club is perceived as a badge of the local community and where the opposition is not an adversary but an enemy, tongues will always tend to roll.

Although Redknapp is right in his own case when he suggests that parents should act responsibly and clamp down on their abuse throwing stance during football matches in front of their kids, he needs to understand that this cannot be applied in one day and that abuse of the opposition players, managers and fans during a a game of football will forever stay attached to the game.

Where do you stand – do you think fans should be left alone to their own devices or do you think that abuse from fans often gets out of hand and should be dealt with?

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  1. The Artful Lounger 9 December, 2007
  2. Hugo Steckelmacher 9 December, 2007
  3. Tom Sharp 10 December, 2007