Friday, 6 March 2009

Respect Sol Campbell? Thanks, but no thanks

I said I would not refer back to this, but it seems that Sol Campbell and his chums in the media won't let go, so here we are again. It's a reflex of mine to react like this even when I know in my heart of hearts that my time is better spent drinking from a bottle of rum and grooming my Ricky Villa beard. But the tabloids are at it again.

The Daily Mirror yesterday run a story entitled 'Why Tottenham Fans should respect Sol Campbell as a true servant to football'.

The story initially concentrates on promoting a campaign he has set up (Kids Go Live) which aims to get children aged from seven to eleven to experience more live sport (football, hockey, horse riding - are examples listed). Its a campaign which has government backing and is personally funded by the player. Good luck to him.

But rather than just concentrate on the campaign itself, the author of the piece (John Cross) can't quite decide what the article should focus on. He starts digging his hole with some rather oh so obvious Solesque friendly statements which turn the article into yet another pro-Campbell is Great propaganda piece that paints the player as a humble, quiet man who is the paradox of modern day PR obsessed footballers. Bit like Paul Scholes. Although he's ginger and therefore not newsworthy.

The irony is of course laughable. Campbell and his PR machine are masters of the subtle touch.

The piece includes some info about what he likes (photography) and his love of films and market stalls and a couple of iconic name drops (Spike Lee and Denzel Washington). All wishy washy soundbites that contain not an iota of insight. It's like reading a textbook profile from a online dating website. But it serves its purpose in promoting Campbell.

He still harbours a desire to play abroad and live a different culture and venture into management after he's retired from kicking a ball about. Apparently this makes him 'a bit different' because he isn't falling out of a club smashed out of his head. He is then compared with Graeme Le Saux and that players who don't have a WAG and a Bentley are singled out for abuse by fans.

I work with a couple of pretentious people who read broadsheets. They get singled out (I just did it by calling them pretentious), in the same way they single out The Sun readers in the office. Welcome to Planet Earth and the bullyboy culture. Maybe Le Saux was singled out because he was a git regardless of his reading material?

Football might be this big bad brash heterosexual its a mans man game, but we all know different. It's not the 70's and 80's anymore. We just conform to a stereotype and just about get away with it. It's easier to box things up in black and white (excuse the terrible pun). Football stands are not quite an intellectual forum of discussion and discourse, are they? Even if they do manage to birth some splendid moments of comic genius in the way of non-offensive chants and banners. I guess that stereotype for many of us is acting the caveman when in fact we all take a cheeky look at a broadsheet from time to time.

Of course, there is still an element that is stuck in the past and take themselves far too seriously, with no grasp of what is right and wrong.

The article obviously does the unsurprising thing of dragging back the 'racist and homophobic' story that caused such a stir in the aftermath of the chanting that took place at the Pompey v Spurs game that led to several mug shots of Spurs fans appearing on the Most Wanted list.

Which is the reason for my reflex and this blog article.

This (the racist and homophobic chanting), according to Cross, is punishment for leaving Spurs on a Bosman. We are then given some trivia about his England career and that just because Campbell isn't spotted with a Page 3 bird doesn't mean he should be subjected to mindless chanting.

'Family man' Campbell should not be singled out for this type of abuse. And I agree. But lets not lose sight of the facts. A minority sang those chants. The majority don't include racism and homophobic chanting when telling Campbell what they think of him.

The article then mentions one or two other high profile players as examples of professionals who are also subjected to similar chants. Not that you will ever hear any of the players complain about it in casual newspaper articles or proceed to bang on about it for years and years. Cross highlights an example of an Arsenal fan calling a Fulham player a 'f**king poof'', yet the article still manages to end with a reference to Tottenham fans. But then the whole article is an exercise in the Campbell is good, Spurs fans are bad agenda.

You can read the piece in it's entirety here and make your own mind up. Cross ends it with the following: "Boo him, hate him, whatever. But don't abuse him".

Ok. Thanks for the permission and clarification. Can I quote you next time Spurs play Pompey? Try taking the average football supporter aside and define what constitutes the difference in hate and abuse when being actively vocal at a football match.

I don't condone racism or homophonic chanting. The Lunacy song that caused so much unwanted publicity was distasteful, but a court of law did not deem it either racist or homophonic. Possibly because its so ambiguous and impossible to prove one way or another. The Spurs fans arrested and charged were done so (in the end) for singing more simple and crude chants. The type that police and stewards and players and the media have not deemed newsworthy in the past. Although if the intent is of a certain over the top and vindictive nature, then you deserve to get done. Whether they would have got done if the player had not made an official complaint is altogether another thing.

Not suggesting by the way that the Lunacy song is now ok to sing. It isn't. Spurs and the police act on it if they witness anyone stupid enough to burst into song. But the song is not what its made out to be by Campbell and some quarters of the media. I'm referring to the insulting and ridiculous suggestion that Spurs fans are aware of racist connotations relating to having black people from trees in 'racist America' a number of years ago. And that we are singling out the player because he is black and that's the reason we hate him.

<--- Insert tumbleweed here --->

Bullshit. Regardless, a way for us to avoid these accusations being made in the first place is to not sing the song full stop. Hum it. Don't sing it.

As a simple note to Cross and Campbell, even though I think Spurs fans should move on and forget about him, the majority won't because they know that the booing and hatred still gets to Campbell on the pitch and affects his game. And for that reason, it's justified to boo and scream non-racist and non-homophobic chants in his direction.

The Pièce de résistance however is when Cross calls him a footballer with a conscience. Comedy gold right there from our Mirror journo.

All I see is a former Spurs youth player and first team captain, Mr Tottenham Hotspur (that's the name he gave himself) who couldn't keep his mouth shut about wanting to stay at the club and wanting to sign a new contract because he loved the club so much. A player who loved the club so much he left on a free transfer screwing us out of millions and then walked up the Seven Sisters and joined Arsenal, picking up a nice signing on bonus and then genuinely expecting Spurs fans to forgive and forget.

Do I sound bitter? Maybe I do. But I'm just sticking to the timeline and facts. Campbell would have still been hated if he had joined Arsenal but not as bad had he left like Carrick did for a massive fee and without the lies and deception that came before his departure. I say 'not as bad' but you know what I mean.

There is no integrity to be found in his soul, and it doesn't matter how many times he attempts to prove otherwise via the tabloids.

Remember his first return to WHL after he joined Arsenal? Remember the level of noise aimed at him every time he went near the ball? No homophobia or racism. Just 30,000 or so Spurs fans screaming hatred. It rattled him. However his response post-match was to call Spurs fans racist and thus that was the sole reason why he was being booed.

"What did I do?" has been the look on his face since his move away from N17. He honestly believes he has done nothing wrong.

As for Spurs fans being racist? No wonder Ledley King hardly ever plays for us. And that Lennon, we hate him too, lucky he can run so fast. And as for Jenas, it's not because he's so bloody inconsistent that we scream out expletives when he loses the ball or misplaces a pass - its because of the colour of his skin. Exfoliate damn it Jermaine, exfoliate!

<--- insert family of tumbleweed here --->

Do one Campbell. You too Cross.

Campbell is an absolute melter of the highest order and as much as Spurs fans bring it on themselves for living in the past and singing songs about him, he needs to stand tall and look the other way and just ignore it instead of constantly attempting to justify why we are the guilty ones.

Sticks and stones.

I should probably follow my own advice and look the other way too next time a red top runs a similar non-event article.

Why should Tottenham Fans respect Sol Campbell as a true servant to football? Don't ask the Daily Mirror. They don't quite have the answer.


Paxton Yid said...

Forgive? No.
Forget? Yes.

But then are you forgiving by the very nature of forgetting?

The article from the Mirror did make me laugh. Especially the bit about how Campbell doesn't use PR to check through what a journalist writes up about him.

Anonymous said...

There was something else I read about how he supports banning fans from grounds for life, I think something to do with human rights violations.

Bit steep comparing his experience with far more serious ones.

Hopefully Chelsea fans start hissing at games again and the lot of them can be banned for life.

King of Kings said...

Spooky, next time, just ignore it. Not worth the effort guv.

Anonymous said...

Daily Mirror.

Enough said.

The Machine said...

Groundhog day, but what the hell.

Had he just left without the bullshit 'I love Spurs' rubbish he'd have retained an ever so slight ounce of respect. Which would have been lost the moment he signed for Arsenal.

Wish he'd hurry up and move out of the country.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me the options are these:
1. Keep banging on about it and become even more bitter twisted and socially maladjusted, get high blood pressure and make yourself ill.
2. Forgive and forget and go and live happily ever after.

Either way Sol Campbell doesn't know or care about you, and he is a total stranger to you. The only losers from this situation are the poor spurs fan's who think it shows loyalty to the club to not move on. It's just a game! Now smile, have a beer and move on with your lives.

Anonymous said...

Don't agree with that Anon (16:18).

Campbell is the one obsessed with us. Just as much as we are obsessed with him.

Anonymous said...

Campbell is a prick. Take him aside and he will swear blindly that he did nothing wrong.

It grates with people. Much like it grates me when people throw chewing gum on the ground and I end up stepping in it.

Anonymous said...

Spooky. Just retire the Sol Campbell rants. Fuck him. Move on.

Shelf Side Warrior said...

Long post, worth reading just for this:

Exfoliate damn it Jermaine, exfoliate!

Anonymous said...

2. Forgive and forget and go and live happily ever after.

NEVER! This is no fairytale.

Anonymous said...

He should never ever, ever be forgiven. EVER

Anonymous said...

Campbell was the one to throw the racist accusations at us a while back and several people - black people, ex-footballers etc - laughed off his claims.

Keep on fighting the fight.

Anonymous said...

Really don't understand the whole Campbell issue. I have supposted Spurs for 28 years and really couldn't give a damn that he left back then and care even less now. The chanting is distasteful but more importantly, it proves that a lot of people actually need to get a life. Get over it. I dont boo or chant or hiss or cheer when he comes back - I dont care.

Toxic said...

"iconic name drops (Spike Lee and Denzel Washington)"

No white names? That's a bit racist of him, he should be banned from cinemas for life.

Vic said...

All you need to know is that John Cross is a gooner.
Now nothing he says is worth dignifying with a response is it?

Anonymous said...

Can never be foriving or forgotten!
Ashley Cole gets so much stick for what he did (well deserved I must say) but at least Arsenal got a transfer fee and a player in exchange
Campbell stabbed, the club that gave him his break, in the back!
I do not condone the rascism (even though I am a season ticket holder at the lane and have never heard any!) but all the other stick he gets is deserved and will carry on! It is part of the game and he needs to grow a pair and deal with it!

Anonymous said...

Fuck him, fuck him up his stupid arse.

spooky said...

Vic said...

All you need to know is that John Cross is a gooner.
Now nothing he says is worth dignifying with a response is it?

06 March 2009 17:01

I feel violated.

Anonymous said...

Pompey fan here.

Ignore tabloid trash hacks - they're full of w*nkers trying to make a name for themselves or with an agenda.Quality reporting in sports papers in England no longer happens.

Though, I don't think Sol has a tenth the swing with the press as your current manager does.

Anonymous said...

Get over it. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anon 16:18

Bang on. With one caveat. The word 'ignorance'. That is Campbell's one true 'crime'. Totally ignorant of what the game of football means to the fans. Rivalry. If he just once said. "I wish to apologise to all Spurs fans for leaving this proud club for our/your local deadliest rivals. I didn't really support the team, and just wanted to earn more money playing for what, I thought, was a club that would bring me more money and more trophies, but totally underestimating and ignoring through my naivety, the crux and nature of the passion that runs through the roots of this wonderful game that I am fortunate to have been blessed with a talent to earn an income from", maybe then he might be forgiven.

...But that ain't gonna ever, yes move on. There's more important things in the life we have.

Anonymous said...

Just get over it - it was Donkey's years ago. Surely something more interesting has happened since to Tottingham - Oh wait, no it hasn't.

West Stand Bagel said...

Let's wait and see when Arsenal fans decided enough is enough with Ashley Cole, yeah? Or is it one rule for them and the opposite for us?

Lilywhite Yank said...

According to the bagel, Pompey fans themselves were hissing not but last season. I don't know if they still are, but that does not exactly make it into the papers now does it?

Anonymous said...

Massive BNP following in Portsmouth which makes their complaints against a few terrace chants even more ridiculous.