Strictly Inclusive

November 3, 2012




Ken Masters

THE WONDERFUL FEATURE OF THE FA CUP IS THAT IT IS INCLUSIVE. Entries to the competition are taken from deep down the football pyramid. How good it is to see Gloucester City playing Leyton Orient and Yate in the first round hat along with our visitors today. The visit of Norwich City to Paulton Rovers a couple of seasons ago was unforgettable as I am sure was our visit to Totton was last season for the people down in Hampshire.

At our last home game we celebrated the inclusive nature of the work Bristol Rovers does in our Community. Inclusive means for everyone without discrimination or prejudice without malice or abuse. We strive for inclusivity at Bristol Rovers and we mean it. By our work in the community and through education we show it. Old and young, men and women, Black and white, able bodied and disabled, any combination you can think of; strictly inclusive and without prejudice or abuse. Practice of the past few weeks, at the time of the ‘Kick it Out’ events, has drawn a good amount of attention to the issue. This from the web, AOL Sport: Football.

‘Growing calls for Serbia sanctions’

Following the unsavoury scenes in Serbia, England U-21 defender Danny Rose wants Serbia to be banned after he complained of racist abuse and being hit by missiles in Krusevac. Rose was sent off after the final whistle for kicking a ball in anger in response to provocation as scuffles broke out involving Serbian supporters, players and other officials.

Rose told Sky Sports News: “I remember getting slapped twice and then I got ushered away. “That’s when I kicked the ball – and the referee sent me off. I don’t understand, the game had finished by then but he still sent me off for kicking the ball. “As I went off again there was monkey chanting, but the monkey chanting started long before I got sent off. “It started when we went out for the warm up. They started the monkey chanting straight away. I asked the lads if they could hear it and they said they could hear it.”

A government spokesman is reported to have said that Britain expects tough sanctions if racism is proved and went on: “We are determined to stamp out racism internationally and at home and we are giving our full backing to the FA’s complaint on this issue. It is not good enough to say that people should shake hands and forget about it.”

Now that is a very good point and it is exactly the point being made by Jason Roberts and other players who did not wear the tee shirt. I think Jason should have worn it. I agree with Sir Alex, I think solidarity is all but, if by not wearing it Jason is drawing attention to the view that there is too much lip service to the issue and not enough action, then fair play.

Verbal abuse is awful, but now we have seen physical abuse too. The event at the recent Championship game at Sheffield Wednesday was shameful. We all saw it on television and the culprit was from the West Country. He deserved to go to prison.

Jason is right, we are not doing enough.

This from the BBC Sport website and a piece from

Saj Chowdhury:

“Martin Offiah believes football can deal with its problem with racism by becoming a more family friendly sport like rugby league.”

The former wing, who scored 501 tries during a 14 year career, admitted he was abused when he started out in league during the late 1980’s, but said he was not aware of incidents now.

“Rugby league is seen as more of a family sport,” says Offiah. “Perhaps more women at matches would give football a different atmosphere.”

He added: “What you hear from crowds at rugby league matches is totally different than what’s acceptable in football. In football, it’s not only racial abuse, but it’s chants about people’s mothers and girlfriends, etc.

“Those crowds are predominantly made up of young to middle aged males. We all know that when men get together the language is always going to be more juicy.”

This is a very good point Martin. I have had many complaints from ‘Family Fans’ as you rightly may call them about bad language at the Mem. The abusive behaviour dished out at the Cheltenham game by a minority was too much to take at Bristol Rovers, thankfully for the majority.

Offiah, who also played rugby union, is regarded as one of the greatest ever players in league, he admitted this.

 “I had bananas thrown at me and was abused. I was spat on at different grounds.”

However, he bears some good news.

“I recently had a conversation with a Hull fan on Twitter, who apologised for spitting on me about 20 years ago, which I found quite touching.”

All food for thought and it has to be said Jason and Martin are right ‘Actions speak louder than words’.

 ‘Strictly Inclusive’ and that means spectators too. Could that be the answer or at least one of them?





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