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October 2016
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Not much in the media about it but some fans show they are part of humanity

By Tony Attwood

The BBC picked up the story early on with “Bayern Munich to set up refugees training camp” for refugees coming into Germany while donating 1m euros for refugee projects.   They plan to provide food, German lessons and football equipment for children.

Karl-Heinz Rummenigge is quoted as saying “Bayern sees it as its social responsibility to help the refugees,” which is to my mind a stupendous statement and one for the world of football to look at and take note of.

Borussia Dortmund banner

Indeed this type of response has been a dominant theme in Germany where Borussia Dortmund supporters held a banner up on the subject last October.

On 12 September Bayern’s team will enter the arena, “holding the hand of a German child and a refugee’s child”.

Borussia Dortmund recently invited 220 refugees to watch their Europa League game last Thursday. Mainz gave out 200 free tickets to their home match against Hannover before the international break and banners carrying positive messages in support of refugees have become common in the Bundesliga.

It didn’t have much if any impact on the notoriously predominantly insular British papers although the Mail did pick up on the fact that Celtic said their share of the proceeds from the Jock Stein 30th anniversary events will be devoted to assisting those people affected by the current refugee crisis.

Full credit to them as The Telegraph did also give some coverage to the developments in Germany  and soon after a candidate in the Labour Party leadership election Yvette Cooper and fellow MP Chris Bryant wrote to each Premier League to urge them to allow supporters to unfurl #refugeeswelcome banners at games.

First to move in response to this – and the most fulsome credit to them also from me – was Aston Villa and they have said that they are preparing “English Football League Day of Solidarity” banners.  There was of course an immediate concern that the banner could be classified as political – which Fifa and Uefa ban, but this has now been set aside.   Villa supporters are planning to unveil the message supporting refugees during their televised match at Leicester City on Sunday week

The Independent has now taken up the campaign, and the vast majority of the right wing British press still refuse to touch it.

The Indy has announced that supporters of Charlton Athletic and Swindon Town have pledged support for the banner campaign, but as the Guardian has said, “there has been markedly less evidence of British clubs’ supporters acting as a force for good in the war on xenophobia and suspicion of those seeking shelter.”
However banners demonstrating a welcome for refugees have been seen at FC United of Manchester, the fan-run club established by ex-Manchester United supporters.  Other minor clubs have taken up the cause: Dulwich Hamlet, Kingstonian and Clapton FC have been noted.
Full credit to Stan Collymore (of whom I have been critical in the past) for being an activist on this, and there is now a campaign on Facebook and Twitter (@RefugeesEFL) inspired by the images in Germany.
I am personally (and of course it is just my personal view) delighted to see that there is a move to breakdown the resistance of the media in this country and show an awareness that at least some people have a solid streak of humanitarianism in them.
A Football anniversary, commemorating doing the right thing
4 September 1891: Fred Pagnam born.  He was one of those rare men who while playing for Liverpool refused to be involved in their match fixing scandal of 1915 and actually testified against Liverpool at the subsequent hearing.  Not surprisingly Liverpool sold him as football resumed after the war in 1919.

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28 comments to Not much in the media about it but some fans show they are part of humanity

  • blacksheep63

    hear hear

  • Gary

    This comment was, I believe in breach of the laws relating to religious intolerance in the UK, and has thus been removed.

  • Robert

    This has nothing to do with football

    yes we are all sorry for their plight, but banners supporting them??

    No not at all.

    To pressure the government into opening the doors to thousands that could becoming millions is beyond stupidity

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Good to see that most are looking to their hearts and trying to help in some little way . Well done the football family.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    No matter how educated, talented, rich or cool you believe you are, how you treat people ultimately tells all.

    Educate Inspire Change

  • Omsin_the_legend

    Thank you for the article. The picture of that 3 year old on the beach made me cried all night. As a dad, its just sooo sad. Oh mankind, oh humans…
    As John legend sang:
    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world…

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one

  • Mandy Dodd

    full credit to these teams and fans. In stark contrast to the positions of much of the UK media, and some politicians, despite the heartbreaking images we are seeing on the news.

  • esxste

    Gary you are an ignoratn hypocrit.

    You complain about women being raped, as if this is a crime particularly unique to Muslims.

    You complain about no-go zones, but you want to make the whole country a no-go zone for refugees.

    You complain about them not knowing the meaning of gratitude, when you show no recognition for the horrors the refugees and their families have endured because of our greed for oil.

    You are fearful in you ignorance. And in your ignorance, you lack compassion and humanity.

  • Robin Banks

    First of all Tony, an excellent article. Thank you.

    At the end of the day, humanity overrides all else and if football is a vehicle to manifest this fact, so be it. Once again, great article.

    Lastly, (here’s me being “polotical”) how can anybody, however badly we may be affected by economic pressures, deny people who obviously need assistance the right to that assistance, especially when our governments have created their misery?

    I fear one day, we in the relatively “comfortable” west will be brought to task when we need assistance the most only to face turned backs.

    Shame on those little Englanders. You are not worthy.

  • bjtgooner

    Well done Dortmund et al. Surely everyone has to have compassion for the plight of the refugees.

    Having said that – the problem would best be tackled at source, unfortunately too many have failed to act with compassion – they have put self interest first – however that is getting beyond the scope of the UA remit.

  • Menace

    I remember as a child in Kenya going to the train station with some of my toys for the refugee children from the Congo. These were mainly Belgians running away from the troubles. They were fortunate to be able to get to the ports in Kenya & return to Europe.

    Nice to see humanity exists everywhere. Well almost.

    The situation in Syria was exacerbated by Russia refusing to work with the rest of the UN. Where is their humanity?- come on Chelsea where is your owners mate Putin in all this.
    Same goes for Man City. The Middle East with all it wealth & ownership of real estate seems to be absent from the arena of humanity. The Emirates, Qatar & Saudi Arabia hiding under their silence. Come on City get your sheikh to rattle his pots & pans.

  • swing

    Thank you esxste, for putting him in his place, that just had to be said. This is a great story, I just hope they would stop the wars, and then there would be no need for such stories and acts. Imagine walking all that way, surviving war, famine and rough seas, leaving all behind. Some have to leave their spouses and take their kids because spouse is injured and cant travel (really imagine having to make that decision.) War sucks!!! I hope people help them any way they can, Peace be with all of you.

  • para

    Tony, esxste, swing 🙂

  • Jimmy Ashcroft

    It’s nice to see displays of humanity, and from most EU countries too, but it’ll only be worthwhile if the proper checks are put in place and the illegal immigrants are processed properly. ISIS have threatened sending wolves in sheep’s clothing. I have serious reservations about the very real threat that Islamic culture poses to Western values (held in the societies, not governments!). The sheer numbers coming are astonishing and we won’t know what effect they’ll have on our own societies, and though I believe Syria was actually a very tolerant society before the extremists came to town, with a ‘live and let live’ attitude prevailing, the same can’t be said for all groups making the journey.
    The images of dead babies all over the media the past few days is clear propaganda, there’s children dying everyday around the globe, images of which we don’t get shoved unavoidably in our faces. I don’t know if this is to get people to focus on the incoming, technically illegally traveling, undocumented homeless rather than the domestic homeless or for some other reason, but I think those images were highly disturbing and cynically used by the news companies, who always have an agenda.
    On a football note, I hope none of the clubs will be fined for showing such solidarity. I know that’s a ridiculous thing to say, and I am being facetious, but UEFA did fine Dundalk FC in Ireland €18,000 because a fan brought a Palestine flag to a match. We’ll see how tolerant/intolerant they with this new dilemma!

  • Seydlitz

    Stop invading and bombing these countries and they may have chance to get themselves back on their feet. NATO and their ilk have lot to answer for peaple are basically compassionate and usually help other human beings when in need,example is when there are any national disasters the British give generously.The lack of investment by this government in schools,housing and other social services will mean that the poorer in society will bear the burden when the demands are made on these devices which a large influx of refugees will demand.So do not disparage everyone who shows some concerns.

  • Pat

    Yes Seydlitz, the money Britain has spent on bombing other countries or selling weapons to those who do could have been spent on schools, hospitals and homes in this country.

    A win win situation – the people in those other countries do not have to flee them to escape war, and the people here have a better standard of living.

    The only losers are the arms manufacturers and the people who make a fortune out of the economic subjugation of other countries.

  • Robert this has everything to do with football.

    Seemingly I need say no more to develop the point because you said no more to develop your contrary view. It doesn’t get us very far, does it?

  • M18CTID


    Thanks for turning this into a game of top trumps and using it as another stick to beat City and Chelsea up with while at the same time showing a complete lack of self-awareness as to which part of the world Arsenal’s main sponsor is from. Otherwise, we could’ve actually had a mature debate about this and agreed that many states could be doing more, including Russia, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai, but not solely them. After all, it’s fair to say that our own country and some of our allies have indirectly fuelled what’s been going on in Syria and other countries.

  • proudkev

    Humanitarianism. Interesting.Is being ‘human’ in todays world really something to be proud of?

    I often visit social media sites or read online News stories and it never ceases to amaze we how ignorant and abusive people can be. This is people with a wide cross section of views and opinions not a particular group. Some of the ‘words’ written in the comment sections leaves you wondering where it all went wrong.

    Where is the decency, where is the respect?

    Take the sports pages. The so called sports journalists just criticise people and create hostility. We all remember the pictures of Graham Taylor, the then England Manager, when his head was turned into a vegetable. That was the start of the daily bullying and harrassment he and his family had to suffer. It was all great fun for the hacks and their editors. Disgusting.

    Rarely do you read an actual match report, much of the article is aimed at criticising someone. You only have to switch on Talksport to find yourself immersed in neanderthal presenters trying to goad fans into picking up the telephone to abuse a manager, another club or other fans. Players are routinely abused, several of our players have been turned on; not long after Ozil signed reporters like Neil Ashton were writing columns about Ozil ‘nicking a living’. The entire football world knew we had built a stadium and were trying to pay it back while also extending our loan to pay for the redevelopment of Highbury. They knew this was at the same time as trying to fight off rich investors. Yet the ‘News’ was all about our lack of trophies, a countdown clock as each season extended our barren trophy run. An agenda to drive negativity and conflict, which conveniently avoided any recognition of the true reasons.

    In fact, instead of Arsenal being seen as the good guys for trying to compete against foreign owners ramping up wages and transfer fees and losing their best players, the opposite was true.

    Just a simple example of how thos who are supposed to ‘report’ the news, do nothing of the sort. They are not interested in news or factual content. They are only interested in being disrespectful, provoking argument and debate but ultimately creating a culture of blame and abuse.

    This behaviour has set a trend, the results of which are often clearly visible on social media.

    I once commented on a blog, very politely but with an opposing view that was clearly unpopular. Within minutes, my parentage was questioned and I recieved a few words that to me are off limits. Those firing the insults had no idea whether or not I was a child or a female, I am neither, yet they were happy to scream foul language at me. More worryingly, others joined in. My crime? Daring to have an alternative opinion.

    We have become morally corrupt.
    Much of this is driven in the way the media behaves and the examples set by politicians of all parties.

    Away from the sports pages, the same is true of all aspects of the News. Most of it is factually incorrect, the agenda is what comes first.

    We had Piers Morgan and the ‘fake’ photos of our troops. He knew the pictures were fake but so what, he didn’t care so he published them – its good for selling papers. It may be a lie but thats all acceptable as far as journalists are concerned.

    Then the phone hacking and the Milly Dowler voicemail.

    How low can you sink?

    We are constantly lied to. By politicans and the media. This whole issue over immigration, refugees, economic migrants etc could have been avoided if people faced facts. Twenty years ago predictions were made by independent think tanks, that were ignored. In fact our own broadcasting arm and the Labour governement at the time, deliberately mislead us. They have admitted it, they deliberately ignored the contradictions to their own output because they didnt want to debate the subject. The same has happened in Rotherham recently. Again, the admitted nthey suppressed the truth and allowed other children to suffer because it did not suit their ‘political agenda’.

    The truth is inconvenient. So they lied and accused those who presented facts they did not like of being members of some ‘ist’ or ‘ism’. The same is true of our intervention in Iraq, another lie.

    The truth is far too inconvenient. Much of this suffering could have been prevented if we were told the truth and allowed to make informed decisions instead of political ones. Until News generators, reporters, politicians and the media start treating us all with the respect we deserve, nothing will change. Stop lying, treat us like adults and provide both sides of an argument, fairly.

    People are being wrongly encouraged to risk their lives because nobody has the guts to face facts and tell the truth – because the truth is too inconvenient. False hope is given to people. The system is broke. Tough love is needed or more people will suffer. But tough love is unpopular. It is much more popular to tell people what they want to hear and make them feel good about themselves. Show people sad pictures and sell News. Don’t tell them these sad events would never have happened had the truth been told and tough decisons made.

    Everything is driven by agendas. Nobody is interested in sticking their heads up and saying something people don’t want to hear or accept. The inconvenient truth is not a popular view, so nothing is going to change. Say something unpoular and the media will turn on you and drive their agenda to encourage abuse.

    It does not matter if it is sports news, current affairs or world news. Until those responsible for the political decisions and the News output stop this obession with their agendas and started treating us as adults; and with the respect we deserve, nothing will change.

    Confucius once said: “Respect yourself and others will respect you.”

    That is as true today as it ever was.

  • Zedsaunt

    The exhibits and displays every hundred yards or so in the centre of Berlin last May for the 70th Anniversary of Nazi surrendour were heartbreaking, compelling, and forced you up against the wall. There was no escape. This is where the world finished, this is what people had to endure.

    All roads lead to Auschwitz when you stop treating people the same way you wish to be treated yourself.

    I found the stickers, graffitti – ”We Welcome Refugees” everywhere around Berlin on walls, benches. It’s great to see that welcome in football, great that there is such a forum as Arsenal Untold where reality can be acknowledged.

  • Goonermikey

    All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    Edmund Burke

  • All that is necessary for me to be able to stop cutting and editing posts is for people to read the guide to posting on the home page

  • Menace

    M18CTID – I’m not letting the Emirates off. I hope all the fans make our humanitarian feelings move our sponsors, owners, shareholders into making a difference for peace.

    Ordinary families should be able to live at home within their culture & natural roots without having to run the gauntlet of money grabbing evil. It is surprising that so many are ungrateful for the support once they are comfortable.

    I do look at the overall situation not just at the symptom of the issue.

  • M18CTID


    Thanks for the response and clarification and apologies if I came across as a little prickly. Anyway, I found this interesting read as to why the gulf states aren’t seemingly taking enough refugees in:

  • Pat

    The US has only taken 1519 Syrian refugees since 2011. Compare that with the over one million taken in by tiny Lebanon. The US feels it is so far from the centre of conflict that it can behave as it likes without feeling any negative effects. No wonder it freely unleashes war in this region. A year of the US bombing ISIL has not hindered its spread one bit, in fact it is stronger than ever.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This is from a fellow AKB . A gift unopened ?

    Buddha was well known for his ability to respond to evil with good. There was a man who knew about his reputation and he traveled miles and miles and miles to test Buddha.
    When he arrived and stood before Buddha, he verbally abused him constantly; he insulted him; he challenged him; he did everything he could to offend Buddha.
    Buddha was unmoved, he simply turned to the man and said, “May I ask you a question?”
    The man responded with, “Well, what?”
    Buddha said, “If someone offers you a gift and you decline to accept it, to whom then does it belong?”
    The man said, “Then it belongs to the person who offered it.”
    Buddha smiled, “That is correct. So if I decline to accept your abuse, does it not then still belong to you?”
    The man was speechless and walked away.

  • omgarsenal

    I live in a country of immigrants and first generation citizens and am proud to say that the political parties opposing the current government (which has maintained a deafening silence about this issue) have both stated they will spend millions to bring in 40,000 refugees over the next 4 years. I have also lived and worked in the Middle East and know that the vast majority of Syrians and other Muslims are dignified and non-violent people who will work hard and add much to any country’s growth and prosperity. there may be a few ISIS moles and snakes in the lot BUT they will soon be found out, if not by the national security agencies, then by the Muslim community itself.
    There are no clean and comfortable dividing lines between sport,life and politics anymore despîte FUFA and EUFA’s best efforts……….racism, sexism, Xenophobia, and chauvinism are all alive and well in FUFA and EUFA’s domain.