We strain at a gnat. They swallow a camel. It would scarcely have been more graphically illustrated than by the repugnant chanting of abuse at black Chelsea players when they arrived at their hotel for the Napoli game. Note that the police did nothing. Here, the police at Anfield zoomed in on a single spectator for a solitary gesture.
And how did John Terry, who won’t be tried until next July, find himself charged by the Met Police and put on trial? Why, because a single spectator, on the basis of what he saw on television, decided to put in a complaint. Alas, it all supports my view that so-called Political Correctness is in essence a disease and a monument to sheer hypocrisy. And I write, as I’ve emphasised in the past, as the first senior football correspondent to inveigh against anti-black prejudice in our football; something which even brought me a death threat from some wretched little neo Nazi group.
We know that FIFA president Sepp Blatter doesn’t really care about the problem, as evidenced by his inane suggestion that players who have been involved in a racist incident during a game should simply shake hands at the end of it.
In parenthesis we also hear that the ineffable Jack Warner, once the bosom buddy of Blatter – if you doubt it, just look at the correspondence between them set out in Foul! the devastating book by Andrew Jennings – is now impugned over the mysterious disappearance of large funds which were meant to relieve suffering in earthquake-ridden Haiti.
We also know that FIFA has gladly if suspiciously awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia, despite the unending prevalence of racism in their football. Racist chants have been heard from Madrid to Porto, from Moscow to Sofia, from Naples to a clutch of other cities. Draconian attempts to eliminate such prejudice in England are no more than an ultimately futile gesture when, in so many other countries, prejudice runs riot without let or hindrance.
One returns to that farcical event at the 2006 World Cup in Germany when, in a pre-match anti-racism ceremony Oleg Blokhin, manager and ex-star of Ukraine, stood unconcerned alongside his lined-up team, only weeks after unleashing a tirade against black footballers playing in his country.
Meanwhile, for Arsenal, this was indeed a notable week; one in which their chief shareholder and virtual owner Stan Kroenke, deigned to fly in from the United States to attend a meeting. Yes, he seems loyal in his support of the besieged Arsene Wenger but what practical psychological use is that when he is several thousand miles away?
And it is surely arguable that Wenger does need support. He certainly isn’t going to get it in any valid sense from the club’s chief executive Ivan Gazidis, recently awarded over £1.7million for his undoubtedly sterling efforts in the club’s financial dealings. But when the Gunners went to Milan and disintegrated, Gazidis wasn’t there; he was on holiday. Which seems all too significantly to denote that Wenger didn’t need him.
Certainly, as he plainly flounders and his team disintegrates, he does need someone at hand. In the past, it used to be David Dein who, you’ll remember, actually brought him to the club in 1996, when halfwits in certain quarters were demanding, Arsene Who?
Dein has long been something of a controversial figure, very much a self-made man who rose to riches despite being cleaned out by an Indian partner, from humble beginnings at a stall in Shepherds Bush market.
He bought Arsenal shares when Peter Hill Wood, scion of a famous Arsenal-owning family, deemed them worthless, eventually not only parlayed himself into power but when squeezed out by the late Danny Fizsman from the hierarchy, sold the shares he then had for over £70million.
Dein is essentially a mover and shaker; and a close friend of Wenger, who surely needs him now.
By Brian Glanville