Let me just preface this by saying that I have always been a big fan of Sol’s and he’s one of the few footballers who I actually respect. However, last night he called up the BBC to complain that abuse and chants from the Premier League crowds are “out of hand now,” which reminded me somewhat of a playground whinge. “Please teacher, that boy told me I was stupid and took my Quavers!” I’m sure the readers of this site will join me in collectively feeling very sorry for ‘Big’ Sol on this one:
“You get to the stage when people say you've got to be immune to this. I may be immune but I'm playing football, and should not be subjected to that type of abuse. I am an international player who has given his whole career to club and country. I think I deserve more than this. I know some people may be a little bit disgruntled at how I left certain clubs, I totally understand that, but when you get to the level of personal abuse that I and other players are subjected to, it's got to stop now.”
Hang on a second mate, you get paid more in a week than 99% of the supporters in these stadiums do in a year just to stay fit and play football, which you love, for maybe 180 minutes a week, are you can’t put up with some overweight drunkards telling you you’re shit, or calling you Judas? Grow up man! Obviously no-one can condone racist abuse, but Sol specifically said that this wasn’t about racism, merely personal abuse in general, saying that fans are always “trying to belittle you and it is downright out of order.”
Ever the hyperbolist, Campbell continued: “This is a human rights situation where professional sportsmen - managers as well - want to do their job professionally and people are abusing them verbally.” So what about the unbelievable amount of personal abuse and physically threatening behaviour demonstrated by players towards referees and linesmen then? Intimidation and every swearword under the sun is fine when it’s directed towards an official, but when fans chant a few home truths, the toys all come out of the pram! When you pay the extortionate prices charged by football clubs these days for entry, and those players you paid to see let you down, are you not well within your rights to let them know?
Personally, given how out of control noise at football grounds has got in general, I think the FA should just ban the supporters from speaking at all and make every ground just like the Emarites and Stamford Bridge. In fact, fuck it, scrap the crowd altogether and just run a laughter track from an old episode of Friends over the tanoy on a loop instead. That’d be ace.