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It's unhelpful to pretend that racists can't be football fans -

Andi Thomas:

But while it's understandable, it's also disingenuous, and perhaps even dangerous. The disingenuity lies in the peculiar notion that being a football fan is somehow determined by moral qualities. As thought it were impossible to be a football fan and a dickhead. As it goes, by many of the more popular standards of footballing fandom properness, those Chelsea fans in Paris were among the most proper fans it's possible to be. They were, at least presumably, the away support, the hardcore, following Chelsea over land and sea.

And the danger? The danger is in the neatness and the patness of what looks like a solution, but isn't. Saying 'they're not fans' might feel like the end of the matter — a personal act of dismissal — but it chimes uncomfortably against the fact that they quite obviously are fans by any metric, and that — even more importantly — they are fans who are happy to simultaneously be fans and be racist, and be both those things loudly and in public.

Great article.



West Ham must have Olympic Stadium - Martin Samuel | Mail Online

Something for nothing. That is what it is presumed West Ham United are getting out of the Olympic Stadium deal. A free ride. A gift from a grateful nation.   
So consider the alternative. Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, is supposed to make his final announcement about tenancy a week today. If he does not award the Olympic Stadium to West Ham, what are his options? Not West Ham, basically. That is what is out there. West Ham or Not West Ham. West Ham or white elephant.   

There is no coherent rival plan. The Formula One future envisages a grand prix that does not currently exist and ignores a long-term contract with Silverstone. Leyton Orient’s average league crowd this season is 3,785, which should play well in a 60,000 arena. The University College of Football Business in Burnley would get some nice  classrooms out of the executive boxes. There is only one serious bidder. There has been all along.


Spot on analysis as ever from Martin Samuel.

Whether the stadium is good for West Ham is another matter. As Martin points on in the piece, it was constructed with summer in mind and needs a lot of work to be suitable for any winter sport. The concourse is exposed to the elements and a whole new roof would be required.

Before I visited for the Paralympics in September I was broadly in favour of the move. Now, having seen just how far away the seats are from what would be the centre circle, I really would have to be convinced by the club's (so far secret) plans.

For the long term future of the Olympic Park though, it is the only option.



Antisemitic chants are sickening – and West Ham fans must show they care | Jacob Steinberg | Football | The Guardian

Jacob Steinberg:

A look at West Ham messageboards on Monday reveals the usual mealy-mouthed apologists spouting stone-age drivel about the sanitisation of football and political correctness gone mad. Yet if we are to accept that it was only a minority who disgraced themselves, it is also true that this minority are the ones who shout loudest – and perhaps punch hardest when challenged.


A well written piece in the Guardian today. See also Benji Lanyado's blog post.

I'm struck by Sam Allardyce's complete refusal to be drawn on a 'political issue' and the club's statement that they are 'surprised' by the 'allegations'.

I support West Ham. I have a season ticket in the East Stand.

Unlike many fellow fans today, I have no problem 'admitting' that West Ham has more than it's fair share of scumbag, moronic fans. They exist in significant numbers. I loathe them and I don't want them at my club.

It's not a difficult thing to say.



Time to accept Owen’s lowly status | Early Doors - Yahoo! Eurosport UK

Maybe it is because Early Doors is of a certain age, but there seems to be an inescapable sadness about Michael Owen. When his name flashes across Sky Sports News, or his latest tweet drops into a timeline, as the brain's synapses crackle in response a subliminal image recurs. It is the image of an 18-year-old with wide eyes and arms stretched even wider, a stadium in St Etienne erupting, Roberto Ayala and team-mates left strewn across the turf by Owen's five-second burst of brilliance. A moment when anything seemed possible.

Excellent article by Tom Adams. Bonus points for the Liam Gallagher analogy.