Via the X21 bus from Newcastle to Newbiggin, yesterday’s blog was distinctly sunny side up. It couldn’t last, of course.
The first email I open this morning is from a gentleman who’s supported his local team for almost 40 years, mostly as a season ticket holder, but who walked out of Saturday’s first division game after half an hour because he was so appalled at the language from the visiting dugout.
He’s very unlikely to be back – and what, he wonders, about the player’s little lad at his first Northern League match?
Since it was the technical area, of course, it means that for much of the time an assistant referee will have been no more than a few feet away. The referee himself would often have been well within earshot.
That the match officials hear no evil is personally damnable, of course, but the much greater responsibility lies with the FA. The persistent and pusillanimous insistence on “managing” the problem – as opposed to rugby union, which grabbed it by the scruff of the neck – has led to one of the greatest acts of corporate treachery in sporting history.
Never mind, boys, we can always put up a few more posters….
*The second email’s from Martin Haworth, also about offensive language, also about a little lad reduced to tears by the ferocity of the abuse. Martin and Denise were at a Scottish “junior” game in Ayrshire. Clearly Anglo-Saxon is universal.
- It’s Mothering Sunday, the lady of the house persuaded to make one of her infrequent appearances at the village church. They’ve a lovely traditioon of handing out daffs to all concerned. Before the service starts, I point out that the first hymn is the admittedly awful Shine Jesus Shine. “S**t,” she says.
- Talk of the X21 to Newbiggin stirred memories for Ebac Northern League president George Courtney of a splendid morning’s golf up there last summer. The lunchtime talk was of great Northumberland derbies, and of great players like Eddie Alder, Brian Slane and big Billy Wright – “scared referees to death.” George and his playing partner Albert Hickman even won a fiver on the match. He doesn’t say if he’s spent it all yet.