Football Lads? . . . .not in my name

Football Lads?

Wednesday, 17th June 2020, 9:00 am
Activists confront police officers on Whitehall as far-right linked groups, including the Football Lads Alliance, gather around London's statues. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

One of the most embarrassing and self-aggrandising phrases in current use is: ‘Not in my name’, trotted out po-faced by the righteous whenever their finer feelings are affronted by political and social developments they do not agree with.

Why do you imagine that your name means more than anyone else’s?

It doesn’t and neither does mine but if ever a phrase best summed up reaction to the actions of some ‘Football Lads’ at the weekend then ‘Not in my name’ is it.

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As someone, like millions around the world, who has played, watched and loved football since they were a toddler, that group does not represent me.

A lot of those people marched out of concern for their identity and community but why do they feel they have to insist they are ‘anti-terrorist’ in the face of a Black Lives Matter protest?

There are other football lads taking action too.

Lads like Billy Sharpe, Harry Maguire and Jordan Henderson who spoke out and helped form Players Together to help football club workers and organise footballers’ donations to the NHS.

In Maguire’s case to help feed those struggling in the Sheffield community in which he grew up.

Football lads like Marcus Rashford who needed help as one of five kids growing up in a hard-up family and who has helped to raise £20million to feed those in a similar position today.

They and thousands of other football lads and lasses are helping in positive ways and don’t feel the need to throw beer and fencing at police to prove it.

Here's another thing.

Of all the issues to get in a froth about right now, Andrew Banks who got two week’s jail for urinating next to a memorial shouldn’t be one of them.

He was stupid, drunk and supposedly there to ‘protect’ commemorative statues others might think tainted by colonialism and a historic belief in the white man’s God-approved duty to civilise the world.

Like the student who urinated on the cenotaph in Barker’s Pool in Sheffield in 2009 he got the full wrath of the righteous.

Urinating in the street is despicable enough - though the combination of heavy boozing and closed public toilets makes it fairly inevitable.

But deliberately urinating on the memorial to a hero cop is another thing entirely.

My guess is that Banks didn’t know it was there.

He does now.