You could say Sol Campbell has never been my favourite player in football, largely down to my North London roots, but I can’t help but feel that he and the large part of the nation had been duped by the BBC in their scaremongering of what football fans can expect had they stepped foot in Poland and the Ukraine this summer. I personally have never known an international tournament pass off with so little trouble and full credit to both nations for their handling of the Euros.
Of course Panorama have past form don’t they, in the selective material they provide you with and I do wonder how deep they actually had to dig in order to come up with the footage that they used. If they want to find incidents of brutality and other dark sides of football then I reckon I could deliver them enough material for them to put on a feature length special, on any given weekend in English football. Are they really that naive that they think crowd trouble and in some instances racial abuse doesn’t exist in England? I truly believe they have a lot to answer for with that documentary, especially when families of players refused to travel to support their loved one for the fear of trouble. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be pleased to know that a hotel TV was where his dad watched his International tournament debut, in what was arguably his biggest game in football to date. Thousands of other England fans also refused to travel in light of their revelations.
I’m not saying what we did witness was acceptable, in fact it was utterly despicable, but to tarnish two nations’ football supporters by generalising them as perceived bigots is completely wrong and out of order. The English supporters that did travel came back with nothing but positive stuff to say about the host nations and the way they were treated. Many saw it as arguably one of the best international trips they had been on, largely down to the lack of trouble and the past victimisation supporters have had to suffer at the hands of police and the authorities on their respective travels. I suppose the likes of the Beeb wouldn’t be interested in reporting this positive aspect of football, as there is nothing that can be dramatised or any negative aspect to report. Maybe recent events will ensure Panorama keep their nose out of football once and for all – given their catalogue of non-revelations they have produced in the past.