Please Kick "Vile Abuses" Out Of Football!

Premier League managers have joined the widespread condemnation of the disgraceful chanting that marred Manchester United’s Carling Cup win at Leeds on Tuesday night.

West Yorkshire Police are continuing their investigation after fans from both clubs traded taunts at Elland Road over the Munich air disaster and the fatal stabbing of two Leeds fans in Istanbul 11 years ago. So far, 14 men have been charged for various offences including indecent or racial chanting, and police are studying CCTV footage to try and identify other culprits.

Sunderland boss Steve Bruce witnessed the Munich chants for himself during an eight-and-a-half-year career at Old Trafford, and he admitted on Thursday that knowing survivors such as Sir Matt Busby and Sir Bobby Charlton made the abuse even more hurtful.

"The worst one I’ve ever heard remains the one about Munich. It was particularly poignant for me when I played for Manchester United, actually bumping into people like Sir Matt and Bobby Charlton who had lost colleagues and good friends in the disaster. Personally, I think there is a line that should not been crossed by either set of fans. How do you stop it? I don’t know. I’m not sure it’s a question for a manager, although I’m all for banter in the game," said Bruce.

Past tragedies have brought out the worst in fans for decades but Merseyside police chief Bernie Swift still believes that the atmosphere in stadiums is far better than the 1980s, when racism was the big issue. United, who have asked fans to help track down the perpetrators at Elland Road, have had similar problems in the past with another of their great rivals, Liverpool.

There have been references to Munich countered by taunts over the Heysel disaster where 39 Juventus fans were killed as a wall crumbled. Anfield boss Kenny Dalglish, who played in that fateful 1985 European Cup Final against Juventus, insists it should be driven out of the game for good.

"There is no room in football for chants that are in poor taste in any way, shape or form. They don’t do the home team any good and they don’t do the opposition any good, either. The authorities have made it clear that they won’t be tolerated," said Dalglish

However, Wolves manager Mick McCarthy fears it will be difficult to stamp it out altogether.

"I don’t have any idea how you stop the abuse. I hear some chants from the stands and I turn to colleagues and ask them whether they’ve heard it. Often, they don’t but I’ve heard horrible stuff shouted about me, my players and their wives. I honestly don’t mind if people take the mickey out of me. Banter is absolutely no problem, but some of it really is horrible," said McCarthy.

Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers believes the only solution might be to teach a new generation of  fans that such behaviour is unacceptable, in the same way that football has tackled racism.

"All you can do is try to educate them, especially the younger supporters coming through. But I don’t think there is much you can do to stop it. It’s the same at Celtic and Rangers with the sectarian chanting – there will always be certain minorities who do that," said Rodgers.

Source: Associated Press

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