Smith column: Billy Sharp abuse marks a new, sickening low – it’s hate speech

Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd
Billy Sharp of Sheffield Utd

Don’t blame social media.

Twitter didn’t make Ben Ainsworth type those words, lines too sick and pathetic to be repeated anywhere else. 

He should feel humiliated and ashamed by what he said about Billy Sharp and his family this weekend.

How does anyone even have those thoughts? 

How much alcohol and stupidity does it take to then decide it’s a good idea to share their poison with the whole world?

Only those close to him will know if it is a one-off or whether he has form for such filth. 

The latter seems distinctly possible.

The police have to get involved, if that’s not hate speech what is?

Modern football rivalries mean some think they can say anything about their rivals, the Hillsborough, Munich, Bradford and Ibrox disasters, paedophilia and personal tragedies are all used in songs.

It’s toxic and has been for a long time. 

Usually those anthems of hate float anonymously away on the match-day air but social media means there’s a written record of Ainsworth’s pathetic jibes.

Those ten-pint keyboard warriors aren’t nearly so bold when they check their twitter feeds the morning after.

But summary justice isn’t the way. Those looking for instant revenge should back off. 

Ben Ainsworth’s life will never be the same again.

No-one could do him more damage than he has already done to himself.

*On a weekend of unremitting bad news and reminders of just how fragile and precious life can be, ex-Owls boss Ron Atkinson had to return from holiday in Tenerife because of a kidney infection.

“The trouble is he thinks he’s still 20”, said a mate of his. Not sure what his pal meant by that but if at 79 he is still raring to go then good luck to him and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

*It’s a tale of two cities.

On Tuesday last Jose Mourinho walked the 700 yards or so from Old Trafford cricket ground to Old Trafford football ground because the Manchester United team bus was stuck in traffic - again.

He put his hood up, his head down and kept walking.

By way of contrast, a day or so later in Sheffield, Owls boss Jos Luhukhay strolled down to Sheffield Midland Railway station on a crisp blue October morning with his hoodless head held high.

No-one took a bit of notice as he walked between arriving commuters and into the station.

How very civilised.