They aren’t one of us.

Tuesday night saw the ugly side of English football fans when they denied a black man of African origin the opportunity to get on the train. The whole sorry episode was captured on video unknown to either party at the time. To make it worse, the group of fans started chanting ‘We’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it’ as the train doors shut.

English football fans have down the years found themselves with a bad reputation, that had seemed to be disappearing. This reputation though I might add based on the minority of ‘so called football fans’. I’d be happy to say that this minority are a very small minority and are not what I would call fans,given the basis of how many genuine supporters travel up and down the country to watch their favourite team through thick and thin and with players of all nationalities and backgrounds.

Ironically though the Chelsea fans concerned may want to find themselves a new team to support. They forget that it was a Russian who helped save their club from Administration, some of their most successful managers are from foreign shores, the same with many of the legendary players. The likes of Ruud Gullit, Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink, Didier Drogba, Gianluca Vialli, Gianfranco Zola, Hernan Crespo, Frank Leboeuf, Arjen Robben, Tor Andre-Flo, Deco. Just some of the many foreign players to grace the Bridge.

The game has been better for it. Having watched football from an early age, to have the likes of Ruud Gullit grace the English game would have been unthinkable at one point, but no it came true. My only disappointment was that we never saw Marco Van Basten grace the stadiums of England wearing a shirt of a then Division One club.

It is important to point out that these individuals do not in any way represent the majority of decent Chelsea supporters who would be very quick to criticise the actions that bring the bad name to the club and in football in general.

Returning to the subject though, racism unfortunately blights the game in one way or another, if it’s not the fans, its players, Luis Suarez you will remember received a long ban and fine for racist words against Patrice Evra and John Terry whose case went to court where he was found not guilty, but received a ban from on field activity. Managers and former managers have not been exempt Ron Atkinson, famously making racist comments off air with his microphone still switched on and of course Spanish national coach Luis Aragones, who found himself involved in incidents.

Whilst the English game has been affected by racism in one way or another, we can be fortunate that the situation is dealt with better here than it is abroad. Many clubs have failed to deal with it properly and both UEFA and FIFA have not really made serious threats to punishing clubs or associations for their inability to deal with the problem. Spain, Italy and some Eastern European nations have found themselves having to face the responsibility of dealing with racist incidents in one way or another.

English clubs received from European competition due to the results of the Heysel Disaster, I believe that nations of those with persistent racist incidents and failure to deal with the situation in the appropriate manner, should bring the same result.

The changing face of the boss – Dan Raywood’s thoughts

The continuing fiasco at Nottingham Forest has convinced me of one thing – don’t employ a club legend as your manager.
As a Spurs fan, I can speak from experience with memories of Ardiles and Hoddle having been manager. The former struggled with the initial power sharing between Alan Sugar and Terry Venables, as well as a fantastic attacking line combined with a poor defence, while Hoddle lost Sol Campbell within months of starting and struggled with a poor crop of players, failure to match Arsenal’s achievements and Levy’s expectations.
Of course the fans would never turn on a club legend and there are instances where this scenario has worked out – Keegan’s first spell at Newcastle, George Graham at Arsenal and Howard Kendall at Everton. In the case of the tricky trees (yes, that is a nickname), Stuart Pearce seemed to start well, but things have taken a turn for the worse and psycho has left the City Ground.
Did the fans still sing his name despite the downturn? I expect so. However the situation changed so fast at Forest that Pearce was out and replaced by Dougie Freedman within a matter of hours, something that stung of a planned removal and the departure of the Chief Executive within the following 24 hours suggests that while the fans of Forest support Pearce, the board made moves ahead of time.
This may be an example of how the modern manager is expected to perform – with immediate impact and effort. The argument could be that the modern manager is replicated of the European and American model, where the club gets the players and the manager/coach is expected to work with what they are given.
Take Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger’s recent comments in his column in the Arsenal programme ahead of the game against Aston Villa. He talked of signings of how if a player is bought by the manager they are bought by someone who selected them, and “that gives you a certain level of confidence that you’re really wanted and that you have a chance to play.” Wise words from the Professor, but he is speaking the truth about one method of management, while a more modern one is the “top down approach” where a coach is just that, a coach.
Was this the case at Nottingham Forest, where another manager has fallen on his sword because of the actions of the owners? Take last night’s deadline day activity where West Ham United chairman David Gold advised people not to go to bed in a kind of reverse Freddie Kreuger action. Why was the chairman advising instead of the manager? Is the chairman picking the team over “Big” Sam Allardyce?
The role of the football manager is changing and the situation is dividing the new and old schools of ways of doing things. Sadly some eggs are being broken as a result.