Dont allow a few mindless Metro morons to taint the football-loving true Blues
In a week when the nation, or rather the easy-to-anger keyboard warriors of the Twitterverse, got their knickers in a twist over a vulgar remark made by Ronan O'Gara regarding his wife on a somewhat bawdy edition of the Late Late Show, there were plenty matters of more serious import to occupy us.
As regards the O'Gara mini-furore after his comment about "getting up on" his wife, Jessica, did people not take into account the fact that he's a rugby player, regarded as something of a wag in those circles and something as crass and stupid as this probably passes for Wildean wit in his world?
Bear in mind too that O'Gara was also photographed with his hands in his pockets, like a Cork cornerboy, as he was about to meet Queen Elizabeth a couple of years back, so what else would you expect from someone like him?
On a more serious note, we had the cameraphone footage of a group of Chelsea fans refusing to allow a black man to board a Metro train and chanting "We're racist and we like it" ahead of Tuesday night's game against PSG in Paris. Naturally, anyone with a shred of basic human decency was appalled by such actions, but some of the reactions to what was clearly an ugly incident were, as is the norm these days, verging on the hysterical.
The club announced it would issue life bans should the fans (they're not "so-called fans" either, the default phrase usually used by people who don't know anything about football - they were in Paris to support Chelsea, so get over it) be identified, which shouldn't be too hard given that you can clearly identify at least six of the idiots involved, and said it was mortified by what went on.
This particular group of pond-life (half-a-dozen or more out of a travelling support of 2,000 lest we forget, but that's still no excuse) have the collective intelligence of a particularly slow amoeba, given that Chelsea are bankrolled by a Russian Jew, have a black technical director, a multi-racial team and the greatest night in the club's history, winning the Champions League in 2012, was sealed by Didier Drogba, an Ivorian with a tradition of anti-racist campaigning. How stupid are these people? Very.
Football has come a long way since the bad old days of the 1970s and 80s, but there are still people out there who hold racist beliefs and they're still entitled to go to football should they so desire. Granted, you can't get away with racist abuse in stadiums any more, at least not in England (Spain, Italy and eastern Europe are another matter entirely, but FIFA and UEFA seem to have a bit of a blind spot when it comes to clamping down on those), but unless you want to start introducing morality clauses before people buy a season ticket, clubs have little control over what goes on outside the grounds.
I recall the first time I ever experienced racist abuse hurled at a player.
Coincidentally enough, it involved Chelsea, who were playing a pre-season friendly against Bolton Wanderers at the long-gone and unlamented kip that was Burnden Park in the early 1970s. One large gentlemen who'd clearly been at the ale took great pleasure in bellowing "You Irish pig, Mulligan!" at Chelsea's recent acquisition, former Shamrock Rovers full-back Paddy Mulligan.
Somewhat bemused by this, I asked my da what was up, only to be shushed and told to act as if nothing was going on, which made perfect sense in retrospect.
There will always be total gobshites and skangers who follow certain teams - as a Shamrock Rovers and Chelsea fan I'm well aware of this, believe me - but the actions of a few should not be allowed to taint the many who simply love the game and most of what goes with it.
Speaking of which, the League of Ireland is back this week. Thank God - it's been a long, long winter.