There was a time, when Sol Campbell was playing at Arsenal, when we’d all sing the song that starts (in its recorded version) “Hey Baby, I wanna know…” The second word was changed.
The club made a big fuss about it and said anyone who sang that naughty little song any more would be kicked out and have their membership removed. The club won, and we shut up… until that final moment when Tony Adams scored the last goal in the 4-0 win (the famous picture where he turns arms wide to face the north bank – indeed to face me – nice one Tony).
We’d won the league, the players went off, and in the interim the DJ helpfully played some music while we waited for the guys to come back on, lift the trophy and stroll round the pitch.
Yes the DJ helpfully played some records. Including, “Hey Baby, I wanna know…” and 38,000 gooners as one took up the song we had all been refused the right to sing. As one of the coppers at the time said, “We couldn’t arrest all 38,000 of them”.
Personally I am not sure that this song, which refers in one word to the Totts Jewish origins is that offensive, but I fully recognise that I have no ability to understand what it is like to have been Jewish during a time of persecution, torture and extermination, nor to have been born into a family where that happened. So, I concede – if that song is offensive through its one word, I’ll back down.
But backing down is not something fans of the Totts will do. Their behaviour towards Campbell since he left the Totts has been atrocious in the extreme – and has been undertaken not by a small band of nutters but by virtually the whole of the away support.
The Sweet FA who claim to “run” our game has now been asked to act following a police complaint the behaviour of Totts supporters against Sol Campbell at Portsmouth on Sunday.
Hampshire Constabulary said they couldn’t do anything because of the “sheer number of people involved” in the chanting. These people were all Totts supporters. The FA has said it is “awaiting reports from witnesses and officials at the game”.
However even the dozy FA now understands that it has been contacted by the police. A Hampshire police spokesman said: “Our officers at the game were aware of the problem but it was not feasible to make arrests in that kind of huge crowd situation. So no arrests were made.”
It will be interesting to see what the FA do. They have made a big fuss about what is said and sung at games in Croatia, and protested that Croatia only gets fined trivial amounts for the behaviour of its supporters. Will it act any differently this time?
It will, in my opinion, be a defining moment. If the FA do not act, and act in the sort of way that they have demanded UEFA act over Croatia (expulsion from the competition is one of the things that has been demanded for Croatia), then they are saying, “when away supporters are gathered, and there are too many involved in the chanting for the police to touch, we won’t do anything much.”
If that is the statement they make, it will be the most interesting statement the FA has made for years.
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 4 – referee variations
- The final transfer rumours: 3 new names to make 66 players tipped for Arsenal
- What the media won’t tell you about football, part 3 – referee home bias
- The real live facts that the media won’t ever touch (part 2)
- Could this be the best PL season ever for Arsenal in terms of goals?