Newcastle Must Stop Vile Chants

SOME THINGS transcend the petty parochial squabbling of football rivalries. Whatever team you support and however passionately you express it, most people are still bound by the norms of society and remain on the same moral spectrum that guides their every day life.
Only the uber-zealots fail to see that fans on the other side of the segregation line are basically the same as them. Only the real hardcore idiots believe the opposition are dehumanised scum and that anything goes. Only the really ignorant dregs of humanity believe that being at a football match means you can set aside all decent civilised standards of behaviour and have free licence to indulge in the basest of offensive behaviour. You know, the kind of people who chant “You’re just a town full of peados” and think it is incredibly witty.

Last week we had a Kick Racism Out Of Football day to highlight the on-going battle against that particular form of ignorant barbarism. What some sections of the Newcastle support at the Riverside did on Sunday – and that Sunderland and Leeds fans have done in the past – was as crass, stupid, socially backward and morally bankrupt as throwing bananas and making monkey-noises at black players ever was. It is just about the most offensive thing you can think of and to make it a calculated set-piece within your repertoire plumbs new depths.
What kind of person thinks accusing people of the most horrific crimes against children imaginable passes as ‘just banter’? To smear a whole town like than is lower than the Munich chants and down there with Chelsea fans hissing and singing about Auschwitz at Spurs.
Many angry Boro fans have asked the Gazette over the years why the police take no action on this outrageously insulting behavior. Racist chanting in a football is a criminal offense and is dealt with vigourously, and rightly so. Derby games are heavily policed because of the potential for disorder and in recent years there have even been warnings that wearing smogsuits to the Riverside will be regarded as a provocation and be treated as a public order offence.
Yet here we have a clear, systematic breach of the 1986 Public Order Act going unpunished. Section four of the act says a person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. There is certainly intent to abuse and insult. The law is used to arrest demonstrators chanting empty political slogans at faceless corporations and states so I don’t see why it couldn’t be used to stop this grossly offensive chanting calculated to abuse and insult individuals.
A few arrests may sharpen their minds and make some reconsider their behaviour although many of the worst offenders would see it as Boro failing to have a sense of humour.
Ultimately though, as with racism, this will not be changed by prosecutions. They will just raise the stakes and may make the offenders even more bitter. These vile chants will only end when there is a seachange in the culture among Newcastle supporters.
The campaign against racism in football did not come from above, if anything the authorities were trying their best to ignore it and hoping it would go away. The campaign against racism stemmed from decent, articulate and socially responsible fans standing up to challenge the idiots within their own crowd, through agitation from the fanzine movement and from fan groups like the Football Supporters’ Association demanding that the clubs took action.
That is what is needed here. It is down to decent Newcastle fans to stand up and insist that this behaviour is unacceptable and like the racist chanting it must stop. The bulk of Newcastle fans are no different from any other football crowd. There will be decent, respectable, articulate Newcastle fans who will be mortified by this chanting and who will be thoroughly embarrassed at the way the idiots portray the club, the fans and their hometown.
They must act. Silence on this issue gives the green light to the mindless idiots to continue. The fanzines and message boards must condemn this publicly and start a debate within their own crowd and local media over what is acceptable banter and what is grossly offensive. It is down to fans to draw the line and police it themselves.
They should demand the club condemn it publicly too. Freddie Shepherd was sat there at the Riverside. He must have heard it. Surely he must have an opinion on the potential damage such moronic behaviour does to the brand.


27 thoughts on “Newcastle Must Stop Vile Chants

  1. I wasn’t at the game, Anthony, so can’t really comment on the actual chants. Whilst I couldn’t agree more with you on the general point, I do wonder however if you’re over-looking similar behaviour from Boro supporters.
    Whenever a London side comes up they always get the same “town full of rent boys” chant from large sections of the North Stand, which is surely just as offensive.
    Equally, we manage to make up some pretty unsavoury stuff about opposition players. Robbie Savage gets “you’re the only gay in the village” and Lee Bowyer (bless his little cotton socks) “You’re supposed to be in jail.” I notice we haven’t sung that to Woody ……..
    Liverpool supporters still appallingly chant Munich 58 at Man Utd. Thankfully the Mancs don’t appear to chant anything in return about Hillsborough.
    But t’was ever thus, I’m afraid. The unsavoury, offensive chant has been with us for decades now and shows no signs of abating. Many clubs have got them, not just Newcastle.
    **AV writes: No one is suggesting Boro fans are angels. Were they ever to say anthing as offensive as that we heard on Sunday I can assure you I would be the first to complain about it.

  2. In addition to giving public expression to their own lack of imagination and decency, perhaps all it shows is how far Newcastle see themselves as having fallen behind their ‘smaller’ local rivals – the bitterness is all too evident, as is the seething frustration that provokes it.
    We can take it on the chin and rise above it, after all the sickness is theirs, the cure is theirs, and the progression towards success is ours (as are the 3 points).

  3. Is it not time we put this on the back burner and stopped reacting to what are, just childish taunts?
    The reason other fans use these chants is because we react so badly, as your article shows.
    The child abuse scandal, involving false allegations was a long time ago and we should move on, and hold our heads high.
    How do you propose clubs stop fans chanting these things? It’s impossible. Get over it and move on.
    There are more important things to worry about.

  4. There is still a yob culture in football. Many of the football chants are funny and make you chuckle even when they are aimed at your own team and fans.
    The wearing of smogsuits is a dig at us but it is at least humorous. But that is an offence at the Riverside. That people can be abusive and be free to do so is wrong. I talked about the vitriol between Manu/Liverpool amongst others and hoped we could be different in the North East.
    I hope and trust that the bulk of the people chanting feel ashamed. The hardcore wont change. You only have to go to away matches to see that we have an unpleasant element present amongst our fans. We have all seen them, they pay their £25 and dont look at the pitch because they are busy staring, making obscene gestures and screaming at opposing fans. Again it is only a small number.
    Luckily I cant recall any really abusive chanting from our fans in the matches I have attended. No doubt somebody will put me right.

  5. Vic
    Can’t help but agree – but also can’t help hearing the echoes of every Boro away end in every game in London I’ve ever been to ringing with ‘You’re just a town full of rent boys’.
    Glass terraces?

  6. There we are, trust the old school network to put me right. Oddly I see very few games against London clubs so have missed the jibe about rent boys.

  7. Vic, there are idiots in every crowd. Everytime we go to Liverpool or Everton it’s embarassing as the Boro fans sing the old ‘sign on, sign on with hope in your hearts, cos you’ll never get a job’. That’s not funny but it’s to be expected. It’s football remember.
    **AV writes: I think there is a massive gulf between clumbsy regional sterotyping and a smear so vile as that aimed at Boro.

  8. This abuse happens at all clubs unfortunately, the Munich songs being about the worst examples.
    Mind you, Boro are not squeaky clean as I remember the team full of rapists chants aimed at Newcastle not too long back. (Never heard you condemn that AV!)
    Having said that these jibes dont really bother me. I am not a “peedo” and to my knowledge I dont know any so its all water off a ducks back to me.
    Its time to laugh at these jibes rather than get upset over them.
    **AV writes: I did actually condemn those chants at the time. I think that was nasty too. I have no problem with earthy humour and the odd bit of baiting – I’ve joined in with it myself many times – but there is a line of decency and sensitivity that should not be crossed.
    As a general rule I think banter is something that you could say in friendly face-to-face leg-pulling. I don’t think anyone with any respect or social awareness would use the kiddy-fiddler jibes to a Boro fan’s face.

  9. Get over yourself you sanctimonious hypocrite.
    So you’ve joined in yourself, many times, but when you’re on the recieving end, you and judge and jury and you decide what can and cant be sung, where the line is drawn and what is decent and what isnt?
    This isn’t a new phenomena you know, its been going on for many a decade and there’s far worse. Imagine how an innocent Keiron Dyer felt? What about his team mates who were there and implicated also?
    All this Mary Whitehouse sanctimonious stuff is a joke and all you’re doing is adding fuel to the fire by showing how much you hypocritcal types like to give but cant take.
    Thou dost protest too much.

  10. so you can arbitrarily decide what is ‘earthy humor’ and what is vile abuse can you? Get your heed oout of your pompous backside and givowwa, you miserable old woman.

  11. ah ha! AND you review all posts made before they get posted? Who are the thought police eh?
    **AV writes: My concern is more about libel law than setting any party line or shaping the debate.

  12. AV chanting of this type goes back as far as I can remember. Boro sang songs about the Bradford fire victims when we played them in the play offs.
    Bradford sang songs about Boro fans being child abusers at the same game. The best put down and the only time I heard the home support shut up to a man came in an away game at Burnley.
    The Burnley supporters sang the usual child abuse songs but shut up and sang no more after John Hendrie scored the second of his three goals and Boro fans sang 2 nil and we shag our kids
    Not true in any way but prehaps making light of the situation defuses it and as usual the team who wins supporters go home happy anyway.
    **AV writes: That is history. Racist chanting was common then too but we have changed the culture on that. To use sins of the past to justify actions in the present is morally disingenuous. We have all moved on. Well most of us.

  13. So you’ve actually joined in with chants about rapists then have you? You hypocrite! Yet you choose to criticise Newcastle fans for their chanting (we all give and take the piss). Get off your high horse. I seriously hope I don’t bump into you at NUFC v Boro at St James in the press box, for I fear I won’t actually hold back from belting you.
    AV writes: No Darren, I haven’t joined in those chants. I condemned them in print. think you should look back and read what is actually written rather than what you have imagined or want to read in order to justify threats of violence.

  14. I think the postings on here which are clearly from Barcodes fans are instructive in many ways.
    But there’s clearly a phenomenon going on here. This is all very reminiscent of the input from The Blades fans over the use of the term ‘Journeymen’ which they misinterpreted and then reacted against.
    Does any of the Boro fans on here or on the Gazette MB go scouring the MBs of other clubs or their associated newspapers and scour them for reasons to get wound up or engage in abuse?
    I have to say my allegiance and interest is all about what Boro are doing. I’m simply not interested enough in the rest – even in England, as we were saying recently – to be bothered to comment. Or even less to search out their MBs to do it.
    What a strange thing to do. Or maybe, because I don’t indulge I’m missing the hordes of Boro fans doing that thing.

  15. The Geordies confrontational and misunderstood response to this valid article is unsuprising and merely reflects their bitterness about the current fortunes of the two football clubs (they’re not bothered about us remember) and lends support to the national media stereotype of the Geordie Nation.

  16. I was not trying to justify any unsavory chanting by quoting moronic songs from the past.
    I was attempting to prove (however badly) that a put down from the supporters who are being taunted is often the best way to shut these fans up.
    No matter however hard you try you are going to get a small percentage of the population who are racist, homophobic etc and a small percentage of these attend football matches.
    The easiest way to stop the chants is for other fans not to join in.

  17. I think the most worrying thing is that not one Geordie has come on and condemend the chanting. In fact not one has come on and tried to make an argument that it is only a joke, or ironic, or just part of banter. No excuses at all, only anger that they should be challenged in some way.
    Are there no decent Geordies out there who will come on and admit that this is offensive and unneccessary and something to be ashamed of?
    Vic draws a good analogy with the bad old days of racist chanting. Exactly the same lines were trotted out then by those who did it – everyone does the same, its part of the culture, you’ll never change it, it’s only a bit of a laugh, don’t be so sensitive … that had to be stopped and so does this.

  18. Very hypocritical of boro fans to get upset about some chanting when many boro fans were doing the 10 german bombers chant in europe and claiming its only a song.
    Football fans need educating.
    I’m in a good mood as its half term and i’m off work looking after the kids so wont say anymore on the subject.

  19. There are decent geordies out there but will they come onto this board. Unlikely, they are probably like many of us who care about their own team and what they are doing.
    It just reinforces my point elsewhere and that made by John Powls that they should keep off our message board and we should keep off theirs.

  20. There is little doubt that the aforementioned chants are particularly disgusting. I’ve heard many verbal rants at football matches which could all constitute breach of a Public Order Act; the fact is that most of us recognise them as the status quo and as a result, say or do nothing.
    I agree that there is a line that should never be crossed, but given that so many football chants can be deemed both ‘abusive’ and ‘insulting’ I think we’re stepping closer to 35,000 football fans with fingers on lips.
    Potentially, there are a number of undefined grey areas when policing a system like this. until clubs are willing to iron out any problems and implement some guidelines, I think we’ll be faced with this very unfortunate side of our game for some time yet.

  21. All right. I have a simple principle: I am brilliant and you are not. Therefore, by extension, the car I drive is fantastic and all other cars (apart from the next one I’m going to buy) are rubbish, the beer I drink is excellent and all other drinks are wussy, the team I support rule and all other teams are rubbish.
    If I supported another team apart from the Boro, then the Boro would be hopeless. The Boro are only any good because I support them. I don’t care whether the Boro rugby team are any good or not, because rugby is a lousy game, so they can’t be any good.
    You might ask what right I have to come in here and post this, but if you’re completely honest, this is why you support the Boro too (or Newcastle, or whatever waste of spaces you support). It’s just that I’m honest enough and smart enough to get to the root of things and you’re evidently not.
    With this in mind, I will chant whatever the tut I like at whoever I like. The way to win a cuss fight is to say whatever will get the other guy maddest quickest, so my chants are going to be the rudest, most hurtful things I can think of – and if the Geordies (no, let’s be blatant about it, the SCUM – but, quite frankly, next week the Mancs will be the scum and then there are two installments of Cockney scum after that) don’t take exactly the same attitude towards me then they’re missing out and it’s their fault that they’re too thick, or too peaceful, or too whatever to chant properly.
    I live on a street with a load of Geordies, so I don’t care whether you think it’s a derby game or not. This, and the return leg, are the two league games I care most about all year, so that I can rub the Geordies’ faces in it
    I work with a load of Arsenal fans; those are the games I care second most about, mainly so that I can get people back for sending me e-mails saying 7-0 in foot-high letters.
    Geography doesn’t matter, only the geography of who you know and who they support. We can’t beat each other up without going to jail, so football is a surrogate for war, nothing less. Don’t dress it up with some rubbish that you like watching the skill of the players or the cameraderie of the crowd, you just like seeing your boys win and seeing yourself being proved right for supporting the winning team. You know this to be true, even if you don’t dare admit it explicitly.
    And most of you don’t, because you’re not as brilliant as me.

  22. English football fans are so uncultured with their immature chants. THey are even worse when abroad. They need growing up.boro fans are amongst the worst

  23. Wrong wrong wrong Brillian Boro fan. Football is not a surrogate for war. Yes it is tribal and emotionally charged, but I go for the camaraderie of the crowd and the joy of being there as a twelth man urging my team on. That’s why I don’t sit in a pub and watch it on Nordic TV (and I travel 300 miles for each home game).
    Anthony; my heart is with you but my head says laugh, move on and move up. Let’s have some more stuff like the spin doctor articles and insightfull blogs from a EG correspondant’s perspective. You are getting a bit sensitive (re FMTTM blog-piece).

  24. I dont think the 12thman ‘getalong’ gang handing out bits of cards,song sheets or shouting ‘Sing ya baastards’ is going to lift the crowd and bring in extra fans.
    Were they responsible for that stupid war chant thing? Do they really think they are speaking on behalf of the fans? They should stick to organising nights out in doctor browns and organising bus trips for the overage ra-ra’s and chavs

  25. Crikey, all I can say is that Chris Baker, Duane and Darren need to get out more, or support another club! As for the threat of violence that really is childish.
    AV’s article is a good one although my view is that such a chant is best just ignored, however repugnant.
    From a personal point of view I had a great day, I took my seven year old son to the match (fortunatley we didn’t meet Darren!) for the first time. So to see Boro beat the barcodes at the Riverside is a memory he will cherish and seeing him full of pride is something I will also remember.
    We stayed in Nunthorpe and went into the papershop where we missed Woodie and his dad by ten minutes. The shop owner has promised to do his best to get Woodies autograph, if he succeeds I won’t need to buy my son any Christmas presents!
    One final point it is disapointing not to see any postings from geordies supporting AV’s arguement. Prehaps the sensible ones don’t read Boro blogs, why should they?

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