Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A new season, same old story

A new season brings hope for supporters of every team up and down the country.

Brighton and Hove Albion are probably the one side in the country which have the most to smile about.

Promoted to the Championship last year as champions, they have finally moved into a new home 14 years after the controversial sale of their former home the Goldstone Ground.

But, one thing that does not change is the homophobic abuse that its fans get at seemingly every game.

Using Brighton's reputation as the gay capital of the UK for "inspiration", Leicester City fans spent much of the match reminding Seagulls fans of the large LGBT community that reside in their city.

"Town full of faggots" and "Does your boyfriend know your here?" were just two of the chants from a minority of Foxes fans aimed towards the travelling fans.

After posting news about the comments on Twitter there was plenty of reaction from supporters of both teams.

One Albion fan said: "It happens at every away game."

Another said: "It happens pretty much every game. Only way to react is with sarcasm. Away clubs do nothing about it coming from their fans."

This is not to say the Albion fans were completely innocent. In response, a number of its supporters resorted to chants.

One Leicester fan said: "We get racist abuse galore,that doesn't justify it but there are idiots everywhere.How do you win that battle?"

Another said: "There's no place for hurtful chants but sometimes the tamer songs are just a bit of banter which no one wants out of footy."
A third wrote: "very embarrassing for us real #lcfc fans. As embarrassing as the weekly racist abuse we receive. All clubs have idiots."

But as always, the reaction is not always positive.

One devoted Foxes fan replied: "shut up u dick the Brton fans were doing limp wrist salutes back the Leicester fans. Nothing in it at all."

Another said: "It's football, not ballet!!! If you aint happy don't go!!!"

It is perhaps these comments which sum up the battle facing campaigners. Any football fan knows that chants and humour is an integral part of the fan experience. At the prices that supporters have to pay these days it would be wrong to completely do away with this side of the game.

But there must be some action when clearly abusive behaviour is so evident.

Why do stewards not step in if this is such a regular occurrence?

A Norwich City - Ipswich Town game last year saw stewards step in and evict a fan who was leading a particularly nasty chant about the campaign's figurehead Justin Fashanu.

Any football fan who hears chants such as those listed above should not be afraid to report them to the football club.

If the club's a re made aware by those that pay the bills then they will have no option but to step in and take action.

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