Category Archives: football

A Culture of Abuse

There is a growing culture of abuse in this country, we all sadly know this from personal experience no doubt, but I am getting increasingly concerned with the instant and seemingly punishment-free methods using Twitter that seems to be escalating the frequency and intensity directed towards individuals who simply do not deserve it.

Now I am a massive Twitter fan – having been on it for just over a year I have been exposed to a lot of great people and stuff (I am more of a reader rather than a tweeter).  There are so many uses of it, that I think there is a little bit of Twitter for everyone in some form or another.  Sadly, as with the society we live it, it is being populated with complete and utter morons.  We know they exist, we all went to school with them and have probably evolved away from them as we get older with a bit of luck.  But they are still there, they seem to be coalescing and multiplying and getting online with phones that are a lot smarter than they are.

One aspect of Twitter I like is the ability to follow the odd famous people: in my case the ones who’s views I respect, jokes I appreciate and talents I admire.  I am not a stalker by any means, but just enjoy the odd 140-character output they offer.  Now with fame comes the inevitable situation of being disliked, that’s just life, you can’t be liked by everyone.  However, I find it deeply worrying that people think that they can openly abuse those in the spotlight with offensive language, racism, homophobia and similar hate-filled tweets and think it’s OK to do so.  There is the argument that if you don’t want to receive it then simply get off Twitter.  Free speech and all that too; but why should they have to put up with it ? They shouldn’t.  The true and appreciated aims of their tweets towards their intended audience  is over-shadowed by such trolling incidents.

Yesterday was the football match known locally as the Steel City Derby.  A game that always brings out the animalistic, tribal instincts in many a Sheffield supporter of both persuasions.  Most of it does remain innocent enough, but my walk though Hillsborough both to and from the game illustrated how it can turn nasty, both verbal and physical.  This spilled over onto Twitter last night, when one of the United players, an 18-year-old lad called Harry Maguire, was abused by a few Wednesday ‘fans’, the most notable from one guy with a direct message of abuse (that included calling him a c*nt).  Clearly still fired up by the game, he replied with a mild taunt along the lines of “who are you? someone watching from the stands?”.  Quite a good put down really.  It didn’t go down well and more jumped on the bandwagon.  He received a lot more as a result, and I also think that Harry’s a Wednesday fan too just to make it even more ridiculous.

End result: Harry has left twitter, either by his own volition at being sick of the abuse, or advised/instructed to by the club to avoid unnecessary attention.  Either way, a great lad who was quite interacting with his fans is no longer there.  The most worrying aspect of all this: the guy who hurled the abuse that kicked all this off appears to be an employee of Sheffield Wednesday!  If true, I hope that they show some professionalism and show him the door as soon as possible.  His account has disappeared too.

Should people have to put up with abuse to their face? No.  Should they have to put up with it on social media sites, just because they are famous?  No.  Is there ever going to be a solution to this? Doubt it.  I just hope that the efforts of those like Stan Collymore, who is actively reporting all those who racially abuse him (with some pending convictions as a result), will start to quell the morons that do this.  We can only hope as I am not sure this is going away any time soon.

Damn gene pool.


United Again

I have just got in from Bramall Lane and needed to put pen to paper, well, fingers to keyboard… I never blog about football as I do not feel qualified enough, well I am a United supporter after all!

It felt like going back in time this evening, to a glory age of entertaining football – remember that? There was drama, goals, yellows (one that should have been red), goalie fluffs, a penalty and the nail-biting finish that a glorious comeback always guarantees. There was even passing and a little flair!

So there were just under 17,000 there tonight, but there was more passion, enthusiasm and backing in the crowd than there has been for ages (with much larger attendances too). All the fans who were understandably sceptical about the appointment of Danny Wilson are now behind him, and the ones who were vociferously against him seemed to have lost their voices; and a good thing too. Even after Walsall had scored their second, and fan’s heads were low with a few grumbles echoing round the ground like an incoming storm, there was still a sense of something that has been a stranger at the Lane for a long time now – belief. Firstly, and most importantly, there seemed to be belief on the field. I thought the other day that they had finished last season as a squad, but have started this season as a team. Their heads didn’t drop, they kept on at it, they wanted to pull together to win and they went about doing just that – all of them.

There were odd mistakes: Simmo especially, but he did pull off some cracking saves that should not be overlooked; Lowton should have seen red for that shocking challenge that looked a leg-breaker from where I was seated, but he was grafting and came away with a goal; and more were trying the odd audacious pass or trickery that didn’t always work.   However, isn’t this exactly what we want as fans? I do. After years watching of hoofball and training for the Olympic Head Tennis team this is exactly what I pay my money for. I’d like to think that Danny Wilson is sticking to his reported approach of encouraging exciting play with squad members being free to try adventurous things out. The reason being that when it does come off, it instills in the player the belief that they can cut it, they can beat their man and they can play a part in a winning team. As the self-esteem and confidence grows across the individuals this can only go to contribute to an overall improvement in morale, bonding, and most importantly for us fans, results.

This is all leading to belief with the fans once more. I didn’t hear any serious grumbles today, nothing more than the run-of-the-mill criticism for dodgy passes or poor ball handling in the goal. I know I am being giddy as the season is barely three games old. However, I recognise that these early stages are important. A message was sent out to the rest of League One tonight, one that said a lot about how United will be this year. Heads are up, goals are going in and players are playing. I pray this lasts, even if certain players leave in the next two weeks.

Downtown Bramall Lane was certainly beautiful tonight.

 Feeling the #twitterblade love this evening

Shirt of Hurt

It was Sports Relief yesterday and we had a whole day of fundraising and sporting activities in school.  I had mentioned earlier in the week to one of the boys in my class the Shirt of Hurt challenge as one of the things going on nationally.  His entire family are huge Wednesday fans and there is plenty of banter with all of them.  I didn’t hear, or think, anything else on the matter.  Then in the morning Dad entered the playground with a Wednesday shirt, “I believe you are wearing this today!”  The kids had him bring it in and sponsor me to wear it -couldn’t really refuse given that it was for charity.  Luckily, I had chosen to wear my United shirt (a last minute decision as I was going to go in an old London Monarchs American Football jersey) so made him do the same.  More money for Sports Relief, and it gave me some pleasure to see him in equal pain.  Wearing it all day was very strange indeed.  I am not a Wednesday-hater by any means, but it wasn’t right.

Mike – you’re a superstar and a great sport.

However, I did get some real grief of a mum of one of the younger children, a fellow Blade.  She said I had betrayed the club and she would never do it, even for charity.  You can formulate your own opinions on that one!


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