So, The Good?
- A great night out with Rich, his dad and another pal.
- Exciting, pulsating Championship football.
- A draw after loads of defeats, against a side in the top 3 while we are in the bottom 3.
- Our team showing real fight and grit and a lot of skill.
- A big crowd - over 28,000 - probably the highest in our league so far this season.
- Good banter, inventive chants, lots of singing.
- People standing up for what is right. It is possible to stop racists and bullies (more later).
- Not eating when we got home even though I was hungry.
- 2 pints in the pub before the game. I was intending to have none, then my chimp talked me into "just the one". To be fair to me and my chimp, I then asked for a diet coke but Rich forgot and came back with a second pint (the queues were huge so there was no way we were going back for another!).
- Some of the chants go over the line and there is a lot of swearing. I'm not a prude and don't want to emasculate football and make it into some namby pamby "family" entertainment like ice hockey or basketball but I do think there is too much gratuitous swearing and chants which, if you think about what is being said, are a bit shameful. I'm working on not just joining in unthinkingly.
- They equalised which was a kick in the guts.
- We were, once again, deprived of a nailed on penalty. Their player soared across the box and pushed the ball away from our player with his hand. The TV pictures are unequivocable, it was an intentional handball and the referee didn't see it!! That takes us to about 3 nailed on penalties NOT awarded this season and it is heart-breaking. But this one was by far the worst as just so obvious. WE could see it real time from the other end of the ground and confirmed what we saw by looking at the TV pictures later.
- 3 neanderthal throwbacks from the 70's and 80's sitting in the row behind us. One of them started up a racist chant. Singing to El Hadji Diouf (who is a vile, spitting toerag for whichever team he has played with over the years) "you're a expletive expletive cheat, and you're black as well".
Which takes me back to the Good entry above. I heard it and turned round straight away and said "Sit down. We're not having that sh*t here" at exactly the same time as Rich said "give over with that racist sh*t" and another mate also had a go. They were 50something wannabe hardmen but Rich and his pal aren't pushovers and I wasn't backing down either with my middle-class resources of willingness to report people and to stand up and be counted. They gave it some argument but didn't repeat anything like that although they did try and have a go at Rich when he was chanting (in support of our team - shocker) a bit later.
I went to the loo a few minutes afterwards and I heard one of them say to his mate - "watch her, watch where she goes". I had been making sure that I had a really good look at their faces in case I needed to identify them and also checking their seat numbers. They must have seen me and were worried I was going to report them to the stewards. If they had made one more racist chant, I would have but, as it was only one sentence and they stopped, I didn't. Perhaps I should have but you're never going to change someone's mind but you can stop their behaviour.
I just don't get the racism thing! Not even getting into the societal evil of it, half our team is black! Just minutes later he was cheering when Jay Bothroyd (who is at least part black) scored for us from a throw-in by Michael Antonio (also black)! Is he blind or just stupid??
- The Leeds fans kicked off at the other end of the ground in the second half. Some of the home support had been goading them with chants about Galatasaray. I'm not proud of their behaviour but chants, in my opinion, are no excuse for charging the police, ripping up seats and throwing them onto the pitch, throwing water bottles and other missiles, fighting in the stands, kicking an advertising hoarding from the top tier onto their own fans and finally, disgracefully, a dozen or more running onto the pitch when they scored.
- One of the hooligans on the pitch then ran from behind our keeper who was oblivious to the danger and shoved him hard in the face to the ground. It wasn't a punch but it was an assault to his face. He went down, understandably, as he must have been extremely shaken. There is a line which just isn't crossed and assaulting a player on the pitch is well past that line.
- At the end of the game, the Leeds manager encouraged his players to go over to the Leeds fans who had behaved so appallingly and applaud the support. He justified this by saying that it was just one moron fan. But he missed the point. There were a lot more than one hooligan in that crowd, there were hundreds and to see them patting him on the back having assaulted a player was pretty sickening. And the players should applaud THAT?!
Rant over. Have a great weekend everyone and no fighting!!