It’s only banter, mate…

Evidently Aaron Mclean is ‘sh@t’. He’s currently on loan at Peterborough United (for whom he once scored 33 goals in one season) as he just isn’t doing the business at his current club, Bradford City. You have to question the sanity of the Football League managers who rely on players week in week out, who are so poor, when everyone who doesn’t manage a Football League team, and has played only Sunday League (lower division) football know that they are ‘sh@t’.

James Hanson used to work at the local co-op. Bradford City fans are proud of their local-local-lad-cum-hero, whose goals helped them earn promotion from the fourth tier of football, as well as thrust the club o worldwide acclaim when they defeated three premier league teams en-route to making a Capital One cup final. And yet, a few weeks ago following injury and the great form of loanee John Stead he found himself on the bench. Suddenly he was ‘sh@t ’too. He must have been because the same experts said he was and how could City’s manager Phil Parkinson not agree with them.

That kind of stuff I find funny, especially as those that say and post stuff like that have no idea of the irony of their posts.

Other things just plainly annoy me, because there are others, admittedly only a minority (although judging by the number of ‘likes’ they get for their posts on facebook may-be less of a minority than you might think) who take it further by then personally abusing the players they feel are ‘cr@p’


A recent issue of the brilliant City fanzine, ‘The City Gent’ recently carried a letter from a fan who had thought up as many reasons as he could to slate, ridicule and personally abuse Aaron Mclean (all in the name of ‘banter’). Of course it said more about the writer of the article than it did the player he was writing about, but I’m pleased that I wasn’t the only person to complain about the article. Mike, the fanzine editor, is a fantastic bloke who would never have agreed with the content itself, and he was well within his rights to print the ‘article’ as it was one man’s personal opinion, but had a similar letter been written about the writer himself that same man would have been splitting blood. And what would the player himself, or his family, have thought had he read it (would he have tracked the guy down and told him he was on his way to sort him out as boxer Curtis Woodhouse so famously managed to do after being the victim of a twitter troll). It hasn’t worked out for Mclean at Bradford, but I’m not going to write a load of personal tripe about him.

James Hanson’s family read the media. They also read the recent personal abuse directed at him on City’s facebook fan page. Luckily it is moderated adequately and the offensive piece was quickly removed, but not before the damage had been done and the player’s mother was forced to post a quite irate response to the abuse. She was obviously upset and did make the point that she had no problems who criticised his football, but why should he be personally abused by people who have never actually met him.

Within 48 hours someone else was being treated to the same by the same postees, and no, I’m not to repeat any of the personal insults I refer to above.

Personal insults aren’t anything new of course. Over a decade ago I was unlucky enought to be sat behind a ‘football fan’ who decided to shout out ‘You’re wife’s a sl&g’ to David Beckham when the player came over to take a throw-in. The player ignored him, so he shouted it again. When taken to task by someone sat behind him, his excuse was ‘It’s only Banter, mate’.

Beckham way back in 1996

Beckham way back in 1996

To which the reply was, ‘No it isn’t, if I walked up to you and said your wife was a ‘sl&g’ you would deck me’, He still didn’t get the point.

There’s nothing wrong with stating your opinion and having your say, having a moan at a player, either on your own team or the opposition. They might be playing poorly, but they’re hardly ‘sh@t’, they play in the Football/Premier League after all, and surely they don’t deserve the level of personal abuse that some people seem to enjoy handing out.

(NB…Fleetwood Town must be really really ‘sh@t’ if James Hanson managed to score against them on his return to the team)