Last week one of the most established and venerated web sites related to Arsenal closed down for a while.
The reason, as far as I can understand, was that the site had criticised an Arsenal supporter. This supporter had then got upset, and had contacted both the people who run the site and the firm that hosts the site to say, unless you take down this posting I will sue you. The site obliged.
Now I didn’t see the post, and I make no judgement about its content. My point is that if you take an active involvement in something like football you have to take what you get. The language of the supporters is what may be known as “the language of the street” – and different rules apply. That is part of the tradition: football is different, just as rock n roll is different, the theatre is different, and the swimming pool is different. Each environment has its own norms, and if you don’t like the norms of that environment then don’t go there.
I can no more legitimately ask everyone in the ground not to swear at a football match, than I can demand the right to throw vegetables at the stage because that is what they did in the Elizabethan theatre.
One might scream abuse at the opposition players and supporters, and the ref – but then be quite civilised if meeting them in any other circumstance.
My point is, in football in general, and at Arsenal in particular, there’s a certain amount of live and let live to be had. I’m sorry it broke down this week.
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