NOT much to talk about this week. Outside of racism and the happenings at Hillsborough last Friday, that is!
Friday first and I’d have preferred a deal longer than four months inside for the tanked-up idiot who ran on the pitch and assaulted Chris Kirkland.
I did wonder how a 21-year-old from Cheltenham comes to be supporting Leeds. I suppose he could have been at an impressionable age when they were in the top flight 10 years ago.
Don’t suppose, for one minute though, it had anything to do with the chance to run with a rather notorious mob.
I travelled to the game on public transport via the city centre. Importantly, the police were around to deal with several sizeable groups. It did rather smack of the 70s and mob rule.
I imagine all the personable Leeds fans we heard so much about had used other methods to get there.
Rather think Neil Warnock’s suggestion that 99.9 per cent of the fans were wonderful or whatever was a touch over-estimated.
Anyway, what happened was all good stuff for TV. It was even an excellent game.
TV was the reason it was 7.45 on a Friday night, thus affording plenty of all-day drinking time. One suspects next season’s fixture won’t be allowed at the same time!
Nor, I imagine, will the Leppings Lane lower tier be in use for it no matter how much Wednesday might like the cash!
The chants from the Leeds end, aimed at Dave Jones, were totally unacceptable as was the tit-for-tat one about Istanbul which eventually emanated from some Wednesday fans at the end of the North Stand.
How do you stop it all? Don’t think you ever will.
There was talk this week by leading football figures of a possible breakaway group within the game to combat racism. It would be for black footballers.
A young man in his 20s brought this up with me and was clearly puzzled.
“I don’t understand,” he said. “Isn’t that racist, having it only for black players then?”
I sort of battled with the explanation, mentioned the Society of Black Lawyers and the Association of Black Police Officers etc, but, whether I did a good job or not, he still struggled to get his head round it.
Perhaps he might be interested in an event in Sheffield on Sunday (although it is invitation only) and more timely it could not be.
It is the film premiere of “The Arthur Wharton Story”. He was the world’s first black professional footballer, who numbered Sheffield United and Rotherham Town (an origin of the current Millers) among his clubs.
Indeed, on his Blades debut in 1895, Arthur became the first black footballer to play in the First Division.
Sunday’s event coincides with Arthur’s 147th birthday. Born in Accra, Ghana, he worked, as previously well documented, in his later years at Yorkshire Main Colliery at Edlington, dying in the nearby workhorse in 1930.
Football Unites, Racism Divides (FURD) - who host Sunday’s event - raised money for a headstone on his unmarked grave in 1997 and, with aid from the Lottery and the PFA, have explored Arthur’s amazing story through art, drama, poetry and film in schools in Sheffield, Rotherham and Doncaster.
The evening includes a panel discussion and black footballers’ quiz. I expect to be much wiser after it!