After what had been a brilliant display by Chelsea on Sunday, I was a bit put out to get home and see so much focus on what had been happening off the pitch to be honest. Of course, I’m on about the whole Anton Ferdinand v John Terry battle that took place in the crowd – except it wasn’t a battle because it barely reached ‘bitch-slapping’ proportions from what I could hear.
Evidently I need a visit to the GP for some wax removal though, given Matt Lawton (Daily Mail) heard a ‘deluge of abuse from a large section of home supporters before, during and after’ the game. This, according to Lawton was ‘shameful, even if QPR’s fans gave Terry some stick too, some of it directed towards the Chelsea captain’s family’. So, the way he heard it then was pretty heavy from our point of view but let’s quickly skirt over the visitors behaviour because it clearly doesn’t matter.
Henry Winter (The Telegaph) took a similar stance, feeling the taunting from the home support was embarrasing and again, whilst acknowledging JT was “occasionally vilified by the away support”, Winter believed “the abuse of Ferdinand was the more persistent.”
Of course, in suggesting any different, I’ve no doubt I’d be accused of defending the Chelsea support, or even condoning it – but that’s never been my way. I’ve never travelled on a bandwagon just for the ride and I’ve no intention of climbing on board one now. I don’t get the point of booing Ferdinand and still don’t see it doing anything but damage to a situation that’s distasteful enough already. Having said that, it’s bloody irritating to read it being reported as anything more than six of one and half a dozen of the other, because from where I was sitting – and I’m sure my hearing is perfectly sound – that’s how it was.
Yes, some Chelsea supporters chose to boo Ferdinand (I’m not sure about any alleged ‘chanting’ but I 100% didn’t hear any) but why gloss over the fact QPR persistently sang about JT? And I’m not talking ‘He knees you in the back’, because I’m sure none of us give a toss about that particular rush of blood to his head, much less opposition singing about it – he fucked up and he’ll pay for it more than anyone, that’s life. I’m talking about completely unecessary singing about his family that hasn’t got anywhere near as much attention – in fact, Lawton’s ‘even if’ reference to it, actually excuses it. So does their behaviour become more acceptable because JT is considered to be racist off the back of what, at the moment, is an allegation? I wouldn’t have thought so.
Fair play to The Sun then (washes mouth out), who focus much more on the real attraction being Torres, mentioning any crowd activity briefly as “a squalid sideshow” – not complimentary but not exactly one-sided either. The Mirror don’t mention it at all, again concentrating on our performance, whilst The Independent say “the booing of Ferdinand by some Chelsea fans was unpleasant” yet clearly acknowledge “there were some unfortunate chants from elements in both the home and away support”.
Of course, this’ll just sound like a pointless whinge – but the point is there’ll be a court case, so the vultures will get their day trip to crow over. We’d just played QPR off the park and whilst we’d have been proud of that game any weekend of the year, to have done it after an even more incredible performance midweek to take a place in the Champions League at Barcelona’s expense, really deserved to get the full focus of the press. They happily slate any of our supporters who voice their opinions on the matter and yet they continue to give it column inches – with their own slant on it of course.
The bottom line is, irrespective of what the minority choose to do in the stands, on the pitch Chelsea are doing a bloody great job right now and the majority would rather concentrate on that. So maybe it’s time the press – and anyone on their bandwagon – left the judging to the magistrates?