SARAH VINE: The Chelsea fan accused of calling Raheem Sterling a black c*** has shown my son the ugly face of the game he adores
- One fan caught on camera allegedly racially abusing midfielder Raheem Sterling
- The man has since been identified as Colin Wing, 60, a father from Beckenham
- In his defence, Mr Wing claims he called Mr Sterling ‘Manc c***, not a black c***’
Since he was the smallest boy, my son, 14, has had a passion for football.
Where it comes from is not clear (neither I nor his father are known for our sporting prowess); but his capacity to play, watch, discuss, think and dream about the so-called beautiful game is seemingly infinite.
Football keeps him fit, it means he’s never bored (providing there’s a ball around) — and acts as a useful bonding currency at school.
Why do I mention this? Because he’s a Chelsea supporter. And it’s been a sad week for Chelsea fans.
One fan was caught on camera allegedly racially abusing midfielder Raheem Sterling
Their thrilling victory against the mighty Manchester City was soured by the shameful behaviour of a minority of fans, one of whom was caught on camera allegedly racially abusing midfielder Raheem Sterling.
The man has since been identified as Colin Wing, 60, a married father of two from Beckenham.
In his defence, Mr Wing claims he called Mr Sterling a ‘Manc c***, not a black c***’ (as if one were better than the other).
But the truth is, it doesn’t matter whether the abuse was based on colour, religion, sexuality or postcode. It shouldn’t be happening at all.
And yet it does, all the time.
Raheem Sterling later told police he was aware of being racially abused at Stamford Bridge
In fact, it’s fair to say that football is the last bastion of the kind of appalling language and thuggish behaviour that would not be tolerated in any other arena.
The public — and the Football Association — may like to kid itself that the bad old days of hooliganism are dead and gone; but the truth, it seems, is that the same old hatred now simply comes in a different guise.
Witness an incident a few weeks ago, as my son was on his way to a match with his dad.
In the street, in broad daylight, a fellow fan — well-dressed in tweed cap and Barbour — shouts at my husband: ‘Oi, Michael Gove, you’re a traitor!’
At first they assumed it was a disgruntled voter. But no.
The abuse took on a nastier tone: ‘Gove, you scumbag, you’re nothing but a Jew-lover, a Zionist stooge, you just do whatever the Jews tell you to do,’ shouted the man, his face red with fury.
Neither this gentleman, nor Mr Wing, conform to the accepted stereotype of the football thug.
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Mr Wing lives in a £500,000 house and (it has been reported) used to work for BT. He is — or was until it was revoked — a season ticket holder. And those don’t come cheap at Chelsea.
The supporter who abused my husband, meanwhile, would not have looked out of place at a golf club. Outwardly respectable, middle-class men; inwardly seething with fury at imaginary enemies.
Borne out of ignorance and fear, their spittle-flecked venom has no place in modern Britain. Except, it seems, on the football terraces.
That is the shameful truth about football in this country, and it is one that both individual clubs and the Football Association must urgently address.
They need to make it crystal clear that such attitudes are not welcome in the game, and will not be tolerated.
I understand perfectly that part of the culture of football is about tribal team spirit. But I do not want my son supporting a team whose fans tolerate — maybe even relish — such abuse of any kind.
It’s not fair on the individuals concerned — and it’s not fair on the millions of young people who, like my boy, idolise the great sport of football and its many heroes of all cultures, creeds and colours.
Lights, camera, baby!
It’s delightful, naturally, that Harry and Meghan are expecting their first child.
But someone should tell Meghan that she doesn’t have to use every available photo opportunity to remind us of the fact, by cradling her ‘bump’ while affecting a suitably saintly expression like some sort of latter-day Madonna-with-child.
It’s lovely that you’re pregnant, my dear, but please hold the ham. You’re not in Hollywood now.
Meghan Markle cradling her bump while on stage at The Fashion Awards 2018
Sorry, Harry’s not man for me
Harry Redknapp deserved to take the jungle crown, not least for his obvious devotion to Sandra, his wife of 51 years (together left).
It was a lovely thing to behold, of course, but I couldn’t cope with having a massive man-baby like Harry around the place.
Because, as he himself says, that’s their dynamic: ‘She treats me like a baby. She does everything. I can’t cook. I can’t make a coffee. I can’t do nothing.’
If that’s what makes them happy, so be it. Me? I’d find it intensely infuriating.
Harry Redknapp with wife Sandra Redknapp after being crowned King of the Jungle
Fiona Bruce, 54, is preparing to take on the biggest challenge of her career, having just landed the Question Time job.
She’s fit, healthy and has never looked better — even when snapped out jogging . . . gasp, without any make-up!
Certainly, I doubt Dimbleby looked any better when he took the job at around the same age. Then again, being a man, he would never have been ambushed by snappers hoping to catch him off-guard.
I guess some things will never change.
Fiona Bruce keeping fit having just landed the Question Time and taking over from David Dimbleby
Cruel truth of the sister act
According to a new study, women are just as likely as men to discriminate against other women in the workplace.
Researchers at New York University found that when asked to put forward a candidate for a role requiring ‘brilliance’ and ‘intelligence’, women were more likely to choose a male.
This doesn’t surprise me at all. The meanest person I ever worked for was a female magazine boss. Anyone who thinks a workplace — or a world, for that matter — run by women would be a utopia of sisterly solidarity is utterly deluded.
I’m all in favour of a cheeky tipple at Christmas, but even I draw the line at Marks & Spencer’s Porn Star Martini, which comes pre-mixed in a can, price £2.
Hasn’t the nation’s favourite family store got enough problems without trivialising smut in cocktail form? And how are we, as parents, supposed to warn children of the dangers of pornography when M&S is peddling this stuff in its grocery aisles?
I’m all in favour of a cheeky tipple at Christmas, but even I draw the line at Marks & Spencer’s Porn Star Martini, which comes pre-mixed in a can, price £2, writes SARAH VINE
What’s wrong with Kirstie Allsopp getting her nanny to wrap her children’s Christmas presents? She’s a busy, successful professional.
No one bats an eyelid if a man asks his PA to do his Christmas shopping, so why should it be any different for a woman?
At least Kirstie’s honest about what it takes to juggle a career with a young family. So many women in her position love to pretend they do it all themselves.
Kirstie gives credit where credit’s due — and stops the rest of womankind feeling like a failure.
What’s wrong with Kirstie Allsopp (pictured on Good Morning Britain last month) getting her nanny to wrap her children’s Christmas presents? She’s a busy, successful professional, writes SARAH VINE
Roger Lewis, biographer of Peter Sellers and Anthony Burgess and the author of the wonderful Seasonal Suicide Notes (the perfect antidote to all this moronic festive cheer), sends me his latest round-robin.
‘This year has been as enjoyable as a urine infection of unusual virulence,’ he begins. Thank you, Roger, for capturing the mood of the nation so succinctly.
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