Football FanCast columnist David Mooney feels it time that homophobic chanting was wiped out of the game.
At the back-end of 2008, Niklas Bendtner started a trend that resulted in a
series of wolf-whistles and comments regarding his private life. The reason? He
had started wearing pink boots.
And, quite clearly, if you wear pink boots then you must be a friend of
Dorothy’s. After all, no heterosexual male would ever be seen dead wearing
anything that is pink. Ever. Except when they are seen wearing pink items of
clothing, obviously. You can’t go around including those incidents.
I infrequently post on a few football forums. And there’s an unnerving
situation regarding what has been described as ‘football’s last taboo’. In my
experience this is something that is symptomatic of some – most importantly,
not all – of any team’s fans.
One of the suggestions I’ve seen for new football chants floating about one
forum goes as follows (I’ve edited it
slightly to remove strong language and I’m not going to give the username the
individual who posted it):
His hairband proved that he was
He sucked off Stevie G today
He takes it up the ******* rear
The dirty little Spanish queer
Fernando Torres Liverpool’s number 9
Depending on which team were singing it at the time, would depend on how
many people were hearing it. But, I guarantee that at every Premiership game
this season – not just the ones involving Liverpool – have been attended by
fans who aren’t heterosexual. And can anybody truly believe that any gay man or
woman wouldn’t be offended by that?
There would be whole sections of football fans at any stadium that would sit
there and let others sing it. And not because they won’t do something about it,
but because they see nothing wrong.
If it was shouted at a black player because of his skin colour, would
everybody deem it acceptable? Of course not.
Football fans come in all shapes and sizes – males, females, gays,
straights, bisexuals, black, white, old, young, and Martian, to name but ten.
The difference sexuality has compared to the rest of those qualities is that it
isn’t necessarily overtly clear.
And my point is, you don’t know who you’re offending when you open your
mouth. But, and this is quite an important distinction, I’m not saying
is that you shouldn’t crack a joke about, say, speed limits because there might
have been someone nearby who lost someone in a road accident. That would be
But, there’s no reason whatsoever to make a joke about a person’s sexuality
– whether you know it or not, because all of the 92 football league clubs’
players can’t be straight – just as there’s no reason to make a joke about
somebody’s race or gender.
I don’t know if Niklas Bendtner is gay, straight, or whatever. But what I do
know is that he is well within his rights to wear pink boots and not have his
sexuality brought into the mix because of it.
You’d think that, in 2009, I wouldn’t have to write something like this. And
I originally wasn’t going to write it, because when I actually think about it,
I don’t truly believe that most people care about the sexual habits of others.
But it’s when I see people responding to homophobic chants as ‘very funny’ or
‘absolutely quality’, I didn’t feel particularly comfortable with just ignoring
And if you’ve read this so far and think I’m ‘one of those PC-gone-mad
nutters’ who is ‘trying to stop us having any fun’, then grow up. PC exists to
protect minorities from needless abuse, not to stop you singing. Every football
team has non-offensive chants that get the atmosphere going, so you might as
well sing one of them. Then everybody’s happy.
There are gay footballers in the Premiership. I don’t know who they are,
obviously, but with the number of people who play in the league, statistically,
it’s virtually a certainty that they’re there.
And if people truly didn’t think there was anything wrong with being gay,
then there would be, firstly, some openly gay footballers and, secondly, no
reason to shout such abuse. After all, the footballers would have no fear of
taunting from the crowd and the crowd wouldn’t see the point in taunting
We’ve stamped out racism to a very high
degree – I certainly don’t hear more than one racist comment every two or three
seasons. So let’s, now, stamp out homophobia. It isn’t acceptable.