By John Brindley - Staff Author
AN EXCITING and unpredictable weekend of football produced days out that supporters of Barnet, Newport County, Oldham Athletic and Gillingham will remember for years to come in the FA Cup.
But apparently the frenzy of skill and drama was ‘overshadowed’ at two matches, both of which I had a personal interest in.
As a Nottingham Forest supporter, I noted with no great surprise we were beaten 2-0 at Stamford Bridge by FA Cup holders Chelsea.
But today I have read that Chelsea’s joy has been tempered by the alleged ‘homophobic chanting’ of visiting Forest fans.
Now the politically correct Kick It Out campaign will be putting the boot in and there may be an inquiry by those paragons of moral virtue, the Football Association.
I am a little in the dark here – no apologies if that sounds wrong to you – but I can imagine the kind of stupidity being aimed at Chelsea supporters.
I don’t condone it. But, in my view, it’s pathetic and silly rather than cause for the thought police to get their frilly knickers in a twist.
You see, for many years I joined fellow Forest fans singing ‘we hate Derby’. It’s a loveless, tuneless little ditty I grew out of at around the same time I ceased calling on a divine entity to extend the reign of tyranny of The Queen.
What exactly had Derby done to me to cause such hatred? As a city, I quite like it. I’ve lived there, enjoyed good nights out and reported on a fair few Rams games where the hospitality and welcome is always good.
Thankfully nobody regards hating Derby as a crime but aim those comments at the pink part of the city and there’d by mayhem.
Similarly it’s fair game for us Reds to slate Derby’s white players – but woe betide if we mention the others.
Which brings me onto the game I attended on Saturday at Chesterfield’s Proact Stadium. It was an absolute cracker – six goals, two penalties, a red card, injury time equaliser and all.
Yet we were told officially afterwards that this great fun had been ‘overshadowed’ by frankly silly incidents involving Chesterfield fans and the Ebbsfleet goalkeeper.
Again, I can’t support either the throwing of missiles, an adult being kicked and verbal name calling, if what we were told was on the money.
But I only wish we could return to more sensible days when a policeman might give the offender or offenders a telling off and perhaps ask them to apologise publicly for their ignorance and bad behaviour.
If the goalkeeper was physically hurt, that’s a different matter and should be dealt with by the courts.
Today I have discovered that three Chesterfield fans have been issued with banning orders – two for three years each, one for 10.
I’m presuming this is a form of punishment although the mental damage inflicted by watching the Spireites as they struggle for survival in the National League could hardly be worse than shopping on a Saturday.
My point is this. Political correctness demands we should remember two entertaining football matches for the kind of nonsense so often promoted from molehills into mountains.
Forest and Chesterfield officials are now busy ‘playing the game’ pretending to be mortally offended in case their clubs get fined or worse.
Meanwhile we get closer and closer to the day when football supporters are expected to behave as though they were in church.
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