Last night, as everyone in Scotland must surely be aware, Slavia Prague went out of Europe with Arsenal giving them a proper going over. All across Sevco social media, this is being greeted with joy.
Even our media cannot resist itself popping open the champagne although this result was nothing to do with us and the ease with which they were finally dispatched doesn’t reflect well on the ease with which the Czech team took care of Ibrox’s club either.
Leading the ranks of the stupid was Tom English, who’s unbelievable take on it was that Arsenal had “done UEFA’s job for them.”
Which he doesn’t need to be explain, but should be asked to explain regardless.
He evidently believes an accusation of racism involving a single footballer should have been enough for the European government body to kick the whole team out of the competition.
I know this entire debate has sparked hysterical over-reaction, but that one surely takes the piss. To make an entire club, including the players who did nothing wrong, suffer for the momentary loss of sanity of one member of their team?
How exactly is that justice? How exactly does he justify it?
What none of those making similarly stupid demands appears to understand is that these incidents are so rare and isolated on the pitch that every one of them makes headlines, and if you are going to demand exceptional punishments for them then you better have a robust system which requires an exceptional burden of proof as well … you would be lucky if you got a guilty verdict ever again.
Slavia Prague, as a club, did nothing wrong here.
That has not stopped our media from attempting to demonise them.
They stood up for their player.
Every club which has ever faced a similar allegation has done the same thing.
These are not evil institutions.
Celtic was one of them. We stood by Tonev. Liverpool stood by Suarez. Chelsea stood by Terry. Elche stood by their player in the Valencia matter and they, like Celtic, have a proud history of anti-racist initiatives and standing up for minorities and the less fortunate.
If you assume that the footballers who have been accused of this are not hard-core racists – who would share a dressing room with them if they were? – you cannot fault the clubs for asking the players directly if it happened and standing by those who deny it.
Even when players are found guilty, there are often issues over those verdicts being returned on scant evidence. When Scott Brown was asked about Tonev at the time he said “we, the players, know what happened” even after the guilty verdict was handed down.
He still stands by that to this day.
In Terry’s case, TV evidence proved that he did it. Chelsea stood by their man.
In a case closer to home, Lorenzo Amoruso denied racially abusing a Borussia Dortmund player and got the full-throated support of the club. TV evidence proved he was guilty.
He then admitted that he had done it, admitted that he lied … and they continued standing by him.
So I’m moved to ask; what exactly is Scottish football’s issue with Slavia Prague, as a club?
Why are our media cheering on their exit, when they stood by their footballer until he was found guilty and then actually apologised to Ibrox and made some pretty strong commitments to going even further and trying to find some positives from the affair?
Slavia Prague behaved reasonably, and then they behaved honourably.
Yet the reaction to them, as a football club, has been an outpouring of bile and hatred.
Some of it, you have to be honest and say, is openly racist itself.
I asked on this very site whether some of the coverage of it had drifted into foreigner bashing in general and that is absolutely clear when you consider some of the reactions to the UEFA decision and to last night’s result.
The Ibrox fans don’t even acknowledge Slavia’s statement, any more than they recognise their own reeking hypocrisy; to lecture others about hatred when it’s their default position. And this proves that it’s their default position, because they are pouring their odium onto a club who’s biggest “sin” against their club was beating them so easily.
Sevco does this all the time in Scotland. They have their enemies list and it seems to grow longer with every passing day. You only need to look at their forums and blogs to see that wallow in self-pity and paranoia and victimhood and they just love making enemies.
The Scottish press aids and abets this lunatic behaviour.
The idea that Slavia might wind up back in Glasgow in next season’s Champions League has them salivating already and taking of vendettas. And for what? For the actions of one player who certainly won’t even be eligible to play in either tie!
Do the Peepul not have enough folk to hate or something?
Did Scotland run out of uppity fenians?
It must be exhausting to live like that, don’t you think? In the midst of all that hatred. You look over at the Six Counties and the explosion of violence over there and what do you see? The same thing as here, and it’s not a surprise because it comes from the same “cultural” roots. A sense of entitlement. A permanent sense of grievance.
We’ve seen what victory does to them; the scenes in George Square reminded of what that unleashes in the Sevco psyche, and we’ve seen, over years now, what emotions defeat inspires in them as well. Pretty much the same ones, if we’re being honest.
It doesn’t seem to exhaust them … but it certainly exhausts the rest of us.