There’s no doubting that the main talking point from City’s match at Newcastle last weekend was Cheick Tiote’s goal that never was. We’ll overlook spritely 52-year-old Alan Pardew’s ageism fuelled foul mouthed rant at Manuel Pellegrini just for now.
However, the match did trigger one of football’s most deplorable traits to rear its ugly head once again. That is the apparent lack of common decency by some football supporters.
It happened after Samir Nasri was struck down by a horrible challenge by the Magpies’ Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. The midfielder was left rolling around the floor in agony, before leaving the field on a stretcher in tears, perhaps with the realisation that not only was his season over, but his involvement for his country at the World Cup in Brazil may now also be over, too.
Naturally, and even more so in a match that was played out in front of a passionate and hostile home crowd, there were the inevitable cries of play-acting when Nasri first went down. Let’s face it, footballers don’t help themselves at times, and it is hard to sometimes not jump to the ‘boy crying wolf’ conclusion. However, after it soon became apparent that the former Arsenal player was actually injured, the majority inside St James’ Park fell silent and, indeed, Nasri was applauded off the field by both sets of supporters.
Yet despite this, seeing a flurry of horrendously insensitive posts on social networking sites targeted at Nasri was truly disgusting. Ok, I understand that Nasri is an unpopular player by supporters of other clubs, I understand that having a dig at opposition players is all part and parcel of football, and I understand that tensions were running high during and after a match that had seen so much controversy.
But, tweeting “I hope Samir Nasri never walks again” (which is something that was re-tweeted onto my timeline) is sick.
Unfortunately, there were various others that I saw of a similar nature:
This is a side of football that should not be tolerated. It doesn’t matter if it’s a player that plays for your fiercest rivals or if he’s committed a misdemeanour earlier in the game, messages like those above about another human being have got nothing to do with football. Those messages are an issue of common decency.
We’ve seen this far too often in the past; chants about the Hillsborough and Munich Air disasters and songs mocking the death of Marc-Vivien Foe and the attack on the Togo national team bus at the African Cup of Nations. There was even that infamous incident outside of Anfield in 2006 when a group of Liverpool supporters attacked the ambulance taking the injured then-Manchester United player Alan Smith to hospital.
Let me stress at this juncture that I am not comparing the injury of a player to the death of 96 football fans, an entire plane of passengers or scores of people on a coach. The point I am trying to make is that all of these incidents have got nothing to do with football. What has rejoicing in the physical misfortune or the deaths of others got to do with a sport? And each time the ‘people’ that indulge in such common indecency do so, they hide behind the “it’s just football banter” excuse.
It’s worth pointing out that for every moron that post messages like the above or sings a horrendous chant, there are many more decent people around to condemn them.
Sadly, particularly in this era of social media, the minority still have a platform with which to spread their bile.