Cooney and Black

The FA, as usual, are divorced from reality. Don’t they realise what’s going on? The abuse from fans is vile, out of control and would test the patience of a guy wearing a halo.

Leicester graffiti


SOMETIMES, more often than not, the Football Association get things massively wrong. They make decisions that not only make no sense but show that they are totally out of touch.

They have now decided to censure Leicester manager Nigel Pearson for inflammatory remarks he made to a supporter following a defeat against Liverpool.

Pearson, an intelligent man and a talented manager, reacted when told he was an “utter t***”. In the heat of the moment, he retaliated in kind, telling his accuser to “f*** off and die.” Frustration and disappointment overcame common sense.

That was enough for the FA to charge him with bringing the game into disrepute. And, in doing so, they showed how far divorced they are from the modern game.

Some of the men who shape these decisions should sit on a touchline bench and listen to the abuse managers and players receive from supporters.
It is vile, out of control and would test the patience of a guy wearing a halo.

If fans give it out, and they do so for 90 minutes. they should expect to get it back. If it upsets them, then they shouldn’t get involved in verbal filth in the first place.

Don’t the FA realise how much of it goes on? Don’t they see managers covered in spit, courtesy of these low lives? Don’t they hear the tirades of abuse and the wholly unacceptable language ?

What would have happened, for instance, had Arsene Wenger retaliated after being sworn at and mocked by his own supporters at Stoke railway station recently? They called him homophobic names, ridiculed his appearance and underlined how 18 years at Arsenal had taken their toll.

Wenger once was a hero. So, too, was Pearson when his side beat Manchester United earlier in the season. Now Leicester are struggling at the foot of the Barclays Premier League and, because of it, the manager is cruelly baited and abused.

Wouldn’t it be more sensible if the FA merely had a quiet word with Pearson, for here is a man more than aware of his responsibilities to his club and the game.

Hitherto, he had an unimpeachable record, and only reacted when slaughtered by the supporters who are supposed to be behind him.

Why is it okay for them to trade in such vile behaviour? How often have you ever seen fans ejected for using foul language? The terrace thug can get away with the most awful abuse and yet Pearson is not supposed to occasionally allow his emotions to lead him into retaliatory language.

Certainly, I was critical of Wenger last week, but these people go away beyond the boundaries of legitimate criticism. Think how he must feel when he hears Arsenal fans taking against him.

Fortunately, he allows it somehow to wash over him. But he hurts like anyone would be entitled to. Newcastle manager Alan Pardew, a fellow sufferer of fan abuse, claimed the treatment of him was disgraceful.

And it is also disgraceful that the FA will probably make an example of Pearson, a good football man who has become the victim of his own fans’ disaffection.

He doesn’t intend to apologise for his remarks, and why should he? Fans get away with too much, mostly on the back of claiming that they pay their money and so are entitled to an opinion.

This is true, but these opinions should not be delivered in the way Pearson and Wenger were forced to endure. Why don’t the FA ask Arsenal to hold their own investigation, root out those who behaved so vilely, seek to punish those who started the disgusting trade in insults?

They are supposed to be the guardians of the game. They are supposed to uphold the image of football. Instead, Pearson will be made to feel guilty that he could not control himself when mindless idiots snarled in his face.

He will almost certainly be judged as being the one who was in the wrong. And that, I’m afraid, is a nonsense.



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