Tag Archives: behaviour

Mario Balotelli to take Manchester City to tribunal over 340,000 fine

Furious Balotelli takes on Man City in tribunal over 340,000 fine for bad behaviour

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UPDATED:

09:23 GMT, 16 December 2012

Mario Balotelli has edged himself closer to the Manchester City exit door after deciding to take the club to a tribunal in a bid to overturn a 340,000 fine.

The controversial Italian striker was docked two weeks wages after a string of breaches of discipline.

And Balotelli will appear before an independent two-man panel in London on Wednesday.

Doubts: Roberto Mancini's relationship with Mario Balotelli is strained

Doubts: Roberto Mancini's relationship with Mario Balotelli is strained

The 22-year-old insists the fine was undeserved and is prepared to risk paying the five-figure cost of the hearing should he lose.

Having already appealed unsuccessfully to the club, Balotelli felt he had no option but to take further action.

But his latest move is likely to alienate him even further at the Etihad Stadium with even long-time supporter Roberto Mancini beginning to have doubts.

Jump to it: Mancini said Balotelli has to work harder

Jump to it: Mancini said Balotelli has to work harder

The City boss dropped Balotelli from his squad to face Newcastle yesterday and revealed: 'He was at home only because he needs to work.'

That followed the fall-out from the Manchester derby last weekend when the former Inter Milan player stormed down the tunnel after being replaced by Carlos Tevez in the second half.

How Sir Alex Ferguson"s bedtime habits set standards at Manchester United

How Fergie's bedtime habits set standards at Old Trafford

By
Patrick Collins

PUBLISHED:

22:23 GMT, 15 December 2012

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UPDATED:

00:26 GMT, 16 December 2012

In more than a quarter-century of intense public scrutiny, Sir Alex Ferguson has successfully resisted every intrusion into his private life. Yesterday, in the month of his 71st birthday, he offered a glimpse of his domestic habits.

In the wake of last Sunday’s remarkable Manchester derby, he went to bed with his head spinning. ‘I just couldn’t sleep,’ he said, ‘and at about four o’clock in the morning I gave up trying, got up and watched a video of the whole of our game against Manchester City all over again.’

The tale is worth recording because it is the nearest thing to a bedroom revelation that Ferguson will ever provide. It also tells us something about the nature of a hopelessly driven man.

Driven: Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Driven: Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Carried away by the excitement of
United’s victory, it seems he found it difficult to ascertain where his
team had fallen short of his standards.

He was, therefore, left with no
alternative but to watch the entire match through the small hours of a
December night. And was it worth it Indeed it was. As he explains:
‘With the help of the video my suspicions were confirmed. In the second
half we were giving the ball away too easily.’

Try to think of another major football
manager, past or present, who might regard that as perfectly rational
behaviour and only Bill Shankly springs to mind. It was Shankly, of
course, who took his wife to watch Huddersfield Reserves on their
wedding anniversary. Truly, the west of Scotland breeds single-minded
football men.

Happy days: Ferguson celebrates victory over Man City with Patrice Evra

Happy days: Ferguson celebrates victory over Man City with Patrice Evra

I doubt that Sir Alex lost any sleep
last night, since Sunderland were dispatched with the minimum of fuss.
But he seemed perceptibly irritated by United’s lack of ruthlessness,
their failure to bury outclassed opponents in dramatic fashion after
scoring twice within the first 20 minutes.

They may be six points clear at the top but such laxity could cost them dearly on more difficult days.

He did not criticise, of course, since
that is not his way. But he did mention that Wayne Rooney ‘might have
scored four’, and his failure to do so may provoke some pertinent
questions.

That ferocious work ethic, that
refusal to be satisfied, underpins everything Ferguson has achieved in
the game. After all these years, he has achieved the status of an
institution, to the extent that a match day at Old Trafford without his
looming presence seems almost unthinkable.

His name infiltrates every
conversation along Sir Matt Busby Way. From the shop called Legends of
Fast Food, featuring portraits of Cantona, Giggs, Rooney; all men whose
names are synonymous with sausage and chips. To the stalls selling
United car stickers, baby bibs, woolly hats. To the man pleading with
the passing public to buy red and white wrist bands for 1: ‘Listen,
I’m nearly giving ’em away!’

The old North Stand is now the Sir
Alex Ferguson Stand. There is a statue which bears a passing resemblance
to somebody who looks a bit like Ferguson. At times, the whole place
takes on the appearance of a shrine to the great man.

The temptation to coast, to relax, to
bask in past glories could be considerable but it is scornfully
rejected. For the focus is always on the future, of cups and titles
still to come.

Sweet dreams: United are six points clear of City at Christmas

Sweet dreams: United are six points clear of City at Christmas

His current work is as impressive as
any he has done. The team are not remotely the equal of Ferguson’s best
United sides but they are proceeding like a runaway train. He used to
speak of the importance of being ‘in touch at Christmas’. Instead, they
are six points clear.

Mention the fact to Ferguson and his
mind flickers back some 15 years, to the season when they were
overhauled by Arsenal. Never relax, he preached. Bad things can happen.

And yet, he had seemed in high good
humour when he appeared yesterday, hurrying along with that urgent,
short-stepping stride, pausing to greet some disabled fans, signing
programmes, glad-handing all round.

By contrast, Martin O’Neill, once touted as a possible successor, slipped in almost anonymously.

For the entire 90 minutes, Ferguson
never once left his seat to storm the touchline. Goals were greeted with
an excited little clap or a satisfied grunt. Chomping relentlessly on
his gum, he concentrated intently; smiling when his side passed with
bright urgency, glowering when goals were squandered or runs went
untracked.

When it was over, he rose from his
seat, shook the hand of O’Neill and walked briskly back along the
touchline, offering the crowd six brief claps of his hands, and a
further detonation on reaching the mouth of the tunnel.

He was not satisfied, not even
particularly pleased, but that was another match over. On to the next
one, and the one after, and the one after that.

At 70, Alex Ferguson is still looking restlessly forward. Even at four o’clock on a winter’s morning.

Michel Platini considers appeal against Serbia punishment for racism

Platini's not fine with Serb sanction! UEFA chief considering appeal against lenient punishment

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UPDATED:

23:55 GMT, 14 December 2012

UEFA president Michel Platini is considering an appeal against the fine administered to the Serbian FA after being embarrassed by his own disciplinary panel.

European football’s governing body were fiercely criticised on Thursday after only fining the Serbian FA’s 65,900 for the racist behaviour of their supporters during the Euro 2013 qualifier against England Under-21s in Krusevac eight weeks ago.

Platini is expected to make a final decision once he returns from the Club World Cup in Japan and read the full report into the game in Krusevac but the fact he is contemplating appeal shows he feels the UEFA’s Control and Disciplinary body were too lenient in tackling racism.

Too lenient: Michel Platini is considering an appeal against the weak sanctions

Too lenient: Michel Platini is considering an appeal against the weak sanctions

Abuse: Danny Rose claims to have been subjected to monkey chants

Abuse: Danny Rose claimed to have been subjected to monkey chants

The Football Association, who are
waiting to see whether they can appeal the suspensions that were given
to Steven Caulker and Tom Ince, were furious after the findings were
made public and their anger was mirrored throughout the English game.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor
said: ‘This is a totally inadequate fine which sends a very poor message
out to the football world.

‘I intend to write to Michel Platini
expressing our dissatisfaction and will be asking UEFA to exercise its
powers to appeal against the wholly disproportionate punishments imposed
against Serbia.

‘In addition, we will strongly support
the FA in their appeal against the decision to suspend Steven Caulker
and Thomas Ince.’

Caulker received a two-match ban, which puts his place
in next summer’s Under-21 European Championship in doubt, after being
caught up in a mass brawl and Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas
admitted the news had hit the central defender hard.

‘I am not sure if I am in the right
position to reveal the decision of another body, but probably the FA
will do that (appeal) – I think they are entitled to do it,’ said
Villas-Boas.

Anger: Rose reacts to the racist taunts

Anger: Rose reacts to the racist taunts

‘They have shown disappointment with
the decision and I think they are going to take it forward in various
different ways which I think should include trying to put right what is
wrong in Steven's sanction. It is a waiting game now what the FA
decides.

‘I spoke to the player him and he is
very, very disappointed. I spoke to Stuart Pearce, too. It’s difficult
to take after what I heard (happened at the Serbia game) from Steven,
Danny (Rose) and Adam Smith, and what they went through.’

Liverpool
manager Brendan Rodgers, whose midfielder Jordan Henderson captained
England in Krusevac, echoed those sentiments and expressed disbelief the
fine was 15,000 less than the one administered to Denmark striker
Nicklas Bendtner after he took part in ambush marketing.

Ugly: The end of England U21's win over Serbia was marred by clashes

Ugly: The end of England U21's win over Serbia was marred by clashes

‘I felt for all the England players
and staff who were there,’ said Rodgers. ‘It is bitterly disappointing
to say the least. But I also think it shows the remarkable progress that
has been made over the last 20 years here. UEFA gave a fine that is a
slap on the wrist.

‘The sanction is not too dissimilar to
someone showing a sponsor on a pair of pants. I thought it was poor
really. But it is up to them.’

Flashpoint: England striker Marvin Sordell in the tunnel

Flashpoint: England striker Marvin Sordell in the tunnel

QPR boss Harry Redknapp added: 'We've got
to stamp down heavily on any forms of racism in sport. There is no
place for that in any walk of life and I think they got off very
lightly, haven't they I don't think they really sent out the message
they should have sent out.’

Lord Herman Ouseley, chairman of Kick It
Out, has called for matches to be stopped if there is racist chanting
from the crowd. Ouseley, 67, stepped down from his position on the FA
Council on Friday because he believes football is taking a backward step
with regards to tackling racism.

That's pants: Denmark's striker Nicklas Bendtner was fined 80,000 for showing bookmakers' logo

That's pants: Denmark's striker Nicklas Bendtner was fined 80,000 for showing bookmakers' logo

Shocking: Rose was distressed after the ugly scenes marred the match

Shocking: Rose was distressed after the ugly scenes marred the match

The punishments as they stand

The Serbia Under 21 nation team ordered to play their next UEFA competition home match behind closed doors.The Football Association of Serbia was fined 80,000 euro.Serbia
fitness coach Andreja Milunovic was suspended from all football-related
activities for two years, the second of which is suspended for a
probationary period of three years. Serbia
assistant coach Predrag Katic was suspended from all football-related
activities for two years, the final six months of which are suspended
for a probationary period of three years. Serbia's Goran Causic suspended for four UEFA national team competition matches.Serbia's Ognjen Mudrinski suspended for three UEFA national team competition matches.Serbia's Filip Malbasic was suspended for three UEFA national team competition matches.Serbia's Nikola Ninkovic was suspended for two UEFA national team competition matches.The disciplinary proceedings opened against Serbia player Aleksandar Pantic were dismissed.The FA has received a warning for improper conduct by its team (more than five cautions).England's Steven Caulker suspended for two UEFA national team competition matches. England's Thomas Ince suspended for one UEFA national team competition match.

Chelsea fan accused of "monkey" taunt at Danny Welbeck will face no further action

Chelsea fan accused of aiming 'monkey' taunt at Welbeck will face no further action as CPS claim there is 'insufficient evidence'

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UPDATED:

16:04 GMT, 13 December 2012

No further action will be taken against a man who was arrested on suspicion of racist behaviour following Chelsea's League Cup win over Manchester United, Scotland Yard said.

Pictures taken during the October 31 fourth-round tie at Stamford Bridge appeared to show a fan making a 'monkey' gesture.

A 28-year-old man was arrested over alleged racist behaviour. United striker Danny Welbeck appeared to be the target of the alleged abuse.

A CPS London spokesperson said: 'We have thoroughly reviewed the evidence in this case in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.

No action: The Chelsea supporter will face no further charges after appearing to make a racist gesture

No action: The Chelsea supporter will face no further charges after appearing to make a racist gesture

Taunt: Chelsea supporter Gavin Kirkham will face no further charges after appearing to make a racist gesture

'To bring a charge for a racially
aggravated public order offence we need to be able to prove in a court
either that an individual’s gestures demonstrate hostility towards the
victim based on the victim's membership (or presumed membership) of a
racial group, or that the offence is motivated (wholly or partly) by
hostility towards members of a racial group based on their membership of
that group.

'It is our decision that, having
looked closely at video footage, an image of the incident and witness
statements, the evidence does not demonstrate this to the standard
required for a prosecution. There is therefore insufficient evidence for
a realistic prospect of conviction and we are therefore not bringing a
charge against this individual.'

Other fans in the crowd were
interviewed and CCTV footage has been examined but 'a decision was taken
with the Crown Prosecution Service to proceed with no further action,'
the Scotland Yard spokesman said.

He
said: 'The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) takes any allegation of
racist chanting and/or behaviour very seriously and if any matters are
brought to our attention they will of course be thoroughly investigated.

'The MPS routinely
work very closely with football clubs and partner agencies to monitor
behaviour to ensure public confidence and safety.'

Peter Herbert, chairman of the Society of Black Lawyers, told Sportsmail: 'We are surprised and very disappointed with this decision. We will be taking this matter up with the CPS and also the Metropolitan Police in due course. This decision is not in the public interest and they need to be held to account for it.'

Earlier
this year, Chelsea imposed a lifetime ban on a supporter who admitted
racially abusing former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba.

Sunderland fan accused of racist monkey gesture against Romelu Lukaku is arrested

Police arrest Sunderland fan who allegedly aimed racist 'monkey' gesture at Lukaku

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UPDATED:

13:17 GMT, 28 November 2012

Police have made an arrest 24 hours after launching an investigation into an alleged racist gesture towards West Brom striker Romelu Lukaku at the Stadium of Light.

Northumbria Police confirmed a 21-year old man was in custody after being arrested on suspicion of racially or religiously aggravated intentional harassment.

He is being interviewed, pending possible charges, following an incident that cast a further shadow over football’s image in a season that has lurched from one controversy to another.

Gesture: The fan can be clearly seen making what appears to be a monkey gesture at West Brom's Romelu Lukaku as he celebrates scoring his side's third goal on Saturday

Gesture: The fan can be clearly seen making what appears to be a monkey gesture at West Brom's Romelu Lukaku as he celebrates scoring his side's third goal on Saturday

After scoring his side’s third goal,
in a 4-2 win over Sunderland on Saturday, on-loan Chelsea marksman
Lukaku was photographed celebrating against a backdrop of a fan
appearing to make a monkey gesture at him.

It caused an immediate outcry, with
Northumbria Police swiftly beginning the task of identifying the fan and
Sunderland making it clear they were ready to co-operate fully with the
authorities’ investigation.
Sunderland are understood to have been informed of the arrest and are
waiting to hear whether charges will follow before commenting.

They stressed after the incident,
however, that they employ a policy of zero tolerance towards any
instance of racist or anti-social behaviour and are ready to implement a
ban, if anyone is found guilty of abusing Lukaku.

Investigation: Police in the north-east have launched an inquiry into incident, following a complaint from another supporter

Investigation: Police in the north-east have launched an inquiry into incident, following a complaint from another supporter

It is the latest unsavoury episode to
blight English football and came on the same weekend as West Ham
followers were accused of taunting Tottenham fans with anti-Semitic
chants at White Hart Lane.

As Sunderland chiefs consider their
next step, they were urged to take stringent action by Ged Grebby, of
Show Racism the Red Card, who said: ‘This sort of gesture at football
matches was something we never thought we would see again.

'When people do these sort of things,
you have to take action against them. If anyone is found guilty, we will
be asking the club to ban them. It could be a three-year ban.’

Shamed: This Chelsea fan caught on camera making a monkey gesture (bottom left) was later identified as Gavin Kirkham

Shamed: This Chelsea fan caught on camera making a monkey gesture (bottom left) was later identified as Gavin Kirkham

West Ham will punish minority – David Gold

We will investigate from top to bottom and the minority will be punished

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UPDATED:

22:40 GMT, 26 November 2012

Like many of the people around me in the directors’ box at White Hart Lane I didn’t hear or see any of the reported inappropriate behaviour during Sunday’s game with Tottenham. If I had then I’m sure I would have been mortified.

We have a clear stance towards any kind of discriminatory behaviour at West Ham — it will simply not be tolerated.

David Sullivan and I are leading an investigation from the top of the club to establish exactly what happened.

Warning: David Gold promised action will be taken by West Ham

Warning: David Gold promised action will be taken by West Ham

If we can identify any individuals who have acted inappropriately they will be sought out and banned by the club as part of our zero-tolerance policy.

We genuinely believe we have some of the best supporters in the country and we will not let a minority of fans — no matter how small — affect the reputation of our great club.

We are a club that promotes tolerance and inclusion of people from all backgrounds, race and religion.

Just a quick look around our boardroom table would tell you that.

I am very proud of my Jewish heritage and have always been made to feel welcome at West Ham since I started watching them as a young boy back in the 1950s.

Disgraceful: West Ham fans allegedly sang ant-Semitic songs on Sunday

Disgraceful: West Ham fans allegedly sang ant-Semitic songs on Sunday

That wasn’t always the case growing up in the East End and I know first-hand how difficult dealing with prejudice can be, which is why I feel so passionately about promoting inclusion in society today.

At West Ham we feel very passionately that every supporter should be made welcome at the Boleyn Ground, whatever their race, religion or nationality and we are keen for our club to carry on taking the lead in promoting tolerance and inclusion of people from all backgrounds and cultures.

We must not let the tens of thousands of supporters who follow our club in exactly the right way be overlooked by Sunday’s events.

West Ham fans" anti-Semitic chants at Tottenham disgraced football

Chanting 'can we stab you every week' and mocking the Jews killed in Nazi gas chambers… West Ham fans' despicable behaviour at Tottenham disgraced football

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UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 26 November 2012

The bile-spewing West Ham fans who baited their Tottenham Hotspur rivals because some of their number had been stabbed by a Nazi mob could take a couple of lessons in history.

First, they could acquaint themselves with the famous image of Bobby Moore and Pele embracing in 1970.

The icon of West Ham and England was rated by the greatest footballer in history, the man with whom he is pictured swapping shirts, as the finest defender of them all.

Disgusting: Sections of the West Ham support brought shame on their club with their chants at White Hart Lane

Disgusting: Sections of the West Ham support brought shame on their club with their chants at White Hart Lane

What the West Ham fans were chanting

'Viva Lazio'

'Adolf Hitler, he's coming for you'

'Can we stab you every week'

Joy, warmth and respect abound.

Second, and more gravely, they may wish to consider the horrors of the Holocaust, the mass extermination of two-thirds of Europe's nine million Jews.

They were men, women and children for whom there were no tomorrows. Many arrived on trains to be gassed to death.

Forgive the stark reminder but what other recourse is there for those too young to know – or perhaps too callous to care – among the latest group of football fans to besmirch the name of a proud club and our national sport

Too young to know We are perhaps being too kind here because only last week – not in the middle of the last century – Ashley Mills, a 25-year-old Tottenham fan, was the most severely injured of 10 compatriots who were subject to an unprovoked act of violence while drinking in the Drunken Ship pub in Campo de Fiori, Rome, ahead of his club's Europa League tie with Lazio.

Heard around the world: West Ham fans' chants were highlighted by Sky Sports News

Heard around the world: West Ham fans' chants were highlighted by Sky Sports News

Heard around the world: West Ham fans' chants were highlighted by Sky Sports News

No gas chambers this time but knuckle-dusters, knives, baseball bats and broken bottles. How we have moved on since Hitler committed suicide.

The Ultras – renowned hooligans in the Eternal City – had come 50 strong to make an anti-Semitic attack against Tottenham, with their traditionally Jewish heritage.

Two men, both fans of Lazio's neighbouring club Roma, were arrested and charged. In celebration of the foregoing hate-crime, West Ham fans, who were said to number hundreds rather than dozens yesterday, chanted 'Viva Lazio'.

They hissed during the game, imitating the Holocaust gassing.

They chanted: 'Adolf Hitler, he's coming for you.'

Tottenham, who won 3-1, asked: 'Can we play you every week'

The tasteless response from the away end: 'Can we stab you every week'

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome where Spurs fans were attacked this week

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome where Spurs fans were attacked this week

Y-word: Spurs fans call themselves the Yid Army

Y-word: Spurs fans call themselves the Yid Army

The morons may be a minority in football crowds, as apologists always tell us, but they are too big a minority to be waved aside as an unimportant sideshow. The lessons of the last few weeks and months tell us that.

For all the immense progress that has been made over the last 30 years to dispel the worst of the right-wing hooligan element from our stadia and to welcome women and children into what was once an intimidating machismo bastion, the fact is that a base element who would not be tolerated in other walks of life find expression in the anonymity of the football crowd.

I stress the word football deliberately. You would not find this kind of racist conduct from the striped blazers in the Lord's Long Room to the hooped shirts at our rugby league grounds, even though much drink is regularly consumed at both ends of sport's class spectrum.

I would also emphasise that this is not a total evisceration of football. Many, many thousands cheer their clubs on passionately while never contemplating any sort of race or religion-based barbarism.

Indeed, many West Ham fans will curse Sunday's offenders, whose thuggish antics appal their sense of innate decency.

We are talking about the kind of
decency that is not of the headline-grabbing variety generated by the
Society of Black Lawyers, who are in danger of making a mockery of the
situation by objecting to Tottenham fans calling themselves the Yid
Army.

I would rather those supporters did not use the Y-word but that is their business and, anyway, I detest political correctness.

But back to football. We only need to look at recent events to know that the game is apt to throw up anti-social chants.

Derby day: Not all West Ham fans at White Hart Lane were involved in the offensive chanting

Derby day: Not all West Ham fans at White Hart Lane were involved in the offensive chanting

There
are Liverpool fans goading Manchester United fans with aeroplane
gestures. That last happened at Anfield on September 23, 2012.

The 21 who died in the Munich air disaster perished on February 6, 1958.

United
fans retorted with: 'Always the victims – it's never your fault' just
as they had the previous week in their 4-0 win over Wigan.

The background to the victims ditty was the Hillsborough tragedy of 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

But what gave this oh-so-witty exchange topicality was the release a few days earlier of the Hillsborough files that incriminated the police and finally exonerated Liverpool fans of being complicit in their own demise by being drunk and ticketless.

Not always off the pitch: The Premier League has been rocked by race rows such as the one between Chelsea captain John Terry (right) and Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand

Not always off the pitch: The Premier League has been rocked by race rows such as the one between Chelsea captain John Terry (right) and Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand

In vain, Sir Alex Ferguson had led the calls for the long-awaited report to mark an end to the unsavoury chanting excesses that have long accompanied one of football's great tribal rivalries.

We are also aware of Manchester City's Munich runway song. And of Liverpool fans booing the National Anthem at Wembley before the FA Cup Final in May.

And of John Terry, the then England captain and still captain of Chelsea, calling Anton Ferdinand a black ****.

Arsene Wenger, the cerebral Arsenal manager, is so regularly taunted by paedophile chants that he has learned to block them out.

In light of this background are we surprised by yesterday's anti-Semitism

Well, Michael Henderson, the prominent sports writer, quoted in his book Fifty People Who Fouled up Football a prison doctor-turned-writer called Anthony Daniels, who observed the worst kind of football fan supporting England in Rome, of all places: 'They think of their savagery as a kind of democratic virtue, a proof that they do not hold themselves above the common man.

'Hence their surprise, outrage and disbelief when they are treated by foreigners as the most degraded specimens of humanity they have ever encountered.'

Seems so long ago: But this picture of Bobby Moore and Pele at the 1970 World Cup is much more recent than some of the things the West Ham fans were singing about during the match at White Hart Lane

Seems so long ago: But this picture of Bobby Moore and Pele at the 1970 World Cup is much more recent than some of the things the West Ham fans were singing about during the match at White Hart Lane

What to do beyond the well-meant but inadequate tactic of placing a phone number in match-day programmes and inviting people to phone in anonymously to report misbehaviour they witness

One answer is to dock points from the offending fans' team. It might work but is that unfair on the clubs who themselves scorn the rogue elements among their supporters as much as any of us

Still, it may be worth a try, not least because levying a fine is a largely meaningless sanction in a sport oozing with monopoly money.

Requiring the police to do their job properly would seem another massive advance. Why did they not make a few hundred arrests yesterday

Of course, we know the practical impediments to doing so, but should not a new standard, intolerant of craven misbehaviour, be imposed

Or perhaps we should just show the morons that picture of Moore and Pele. Hopeless romanticism, no doubt.

Failing that, let us explain to them the horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau and tell them about Himmler and Heydrich and Eichmann.

And ask them if they still find their little joke so hilariously funny.

Arsenal and Tottenham vow to stamp out yobs

Shop a yob! Arsenal and Spurs strike text message pact to kick abusive fans out of ground

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 16 November 2012

Arsenal and Tottenham have vowed to stamp out yobbish abuse by threatening offending fans with instant ejection.

They have warned that any supporter identified by text message as using anti-social language could be immediately kicked out of the north London derby at the Emirates Stadium.

Supporters who witness abusive behaviour, including foul, racist or anti-Semitic language, have been asked to send a text message to 67777 with the insulting chant and the offender’s row and seat number.

Watching brief: Arsene Wenger will lead his Arsenal side against Tottenham at the Emirates

Watching brief: Arsene Wenger will lead his Arsenal side against Tottenham at the Emirates

The texts will be relayed straight to the stadium’s control room so that the perpetrator can be dealt with at once. He or she will be spoken to by a steward and, if the offending persists, could be removed from the ground.

The text system, although only occasionally used by fans, enables supporters to know that they can report abusive behaviour without fear of retribution — and see an immediate effect.

Arsenal and Tottenham issued joint statements reminding supporters that such behaviour during the match will not be tolerated. The Metropolitan Police will also be handing out leaflets before the 12.45pm kick-off, while Tottenham advised their fans that any flags and banners would be checked before they are allowed to enter Arsenal’s stadium.

Flags of an ‘overtly religious, sectarian or political nature will not be permitted and may be confiscated’, the club said.

Tottenham fans have been criticised by the Society of Black Lawyers recently for calling themselves the ‘Yid Army’, while former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor and Gunners boss Arsene Wenger were taunted when the sides met last season at White Hart Lane.

On the ball: Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal during a training session

On the ball: Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere of Arsenal during a training session

Arsenal and Tottenham have worked together ahead of north London derbies for a number of seasons and Spurs officials will also meet with police and representatives from Kick It Out next week to discuss ‘how to collectively eradicate anti-Semitism from our footballing community . . . both inside and outside stadiums’.

The clubs’ joint statement added: ‘A north London derby is always a special occasion and we hope Saturday’s match will be remembered for both the action on the pitch, as well as the positive support for both teams off it. All fans should be aware that breaches of stadium regulations — including anti-social behaviour — will not be tolerated.’

Wenger said: ‘We have to deal with the crowd. That’s our job. We are professionals. You have to understand the crowd wants you to win and you have to deal with the fact that they’re not always happy.

‘That’s where you see the personality and the sense of responsibility of the player. My biggest desire is to see our fans happy.’

In discussing Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s wonder goal against England this week, Wenger also made a pertinent point about his own side’s chances today. He said the Sweden striker was ‘in the zone’ when he scored his magnificent fourth goal.

Tottenham's William Gallas

Tottenham's Gareth Bale

Skills: William Gallas (left) and Gareth Bale prepare to visit Arsenal on Saturday

‘It shows you how important it is to get that confidence in our sport,’ Wenger added, ‘to just do things with a freedom of spirit without any handbrake.’

How desperately Arsenal could do with an injection of that Zlatan swagger, that ‘freedom of spirit’, against Andre Villas-Boas’s team. Ibrahimovic, after all, was the striker who had the audacity to tell Wenger he ‘didn’t do auditions’ when he visited Arsenal’s training ground as a teenager, turning down an opportunity to practise with the first team before eventually joining Ajax.

But instead, Wenger’s side must deal with the anxiety of a crowd unnerved by just two victories in five home league games so far this season.

Tottenham have finished below Arsenal throughout the Frenchman’s time in charge but Tottenham come to the Emirates a point and a place above them in the Barclays Premier League table.

Injury doubts over Olivier Giroud (hamstring) and Mikel Arteta (hip), who were both assessed yesterday, do not help Arsenal’s cause, either, while players such as Theo Walcott (hip), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Bacary Sagna (leg) also face fitness tests this morning.

Chelsea monkey gesture man banned from Stamford Bridge

Chelsea monkey gesture man banned from Stamford Bridge

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UPDATED:

23:52 GMT, 6 November 2012

A man arrested over a claim that a racist gesture was made to a footballer during a Chelsea match against Manchester United has been banned from Chelsea's ground pending the outcome of the police investigation.

A Blues spokesman said: 'Chelsea Football Club has banned a 28-year-old man from Stamford Bridge pending the conclusion of a police investigation into a possible racially aggravated public order offence.

'The man is not a current Chelsea FC season ticket-holder or member.

Banned: Gavin Kirkham will not be allowed into Stamford Bridge pending the result of the investigation

Banned: Gavin Kirkham will not be allowed into Stamford Bridge pending the result of the investigation

'Chelsea is co-operating fully with the police as they carry out their investigation.'

Gavin Kirkham was arrested on Monday after attending a west London police station by appointment.

Scotland Yard said he was held on suspicion of a racially aggravated Section 4a Public Order Act offence.

He was later released on bail until November 29.

Detectives have been investigating a complaint regarding alleged racist behaviour at Stamford Bridge on October 31 during Chelsea's Capital One Cup win over United.

Toby Flood: I felt guilty about what went on at the World Cup

Flood: I felt guilty by association with what went on at the World Cup and just wanted to walk away from the game

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 3 November 2012

Had it not been for the realisation
after weeks of soul-searching that he was still in love with rugby, Toby
Flood would not be running out on Saturday for England to face Fiji at
Twickenham, but watching the game on TV as a prematurely retired player.

Flood, with 50 caps to his name, may
be the most experienced man in Stuart Lancaster's new-look England
set-up, but so disillusioned was the Leicester and England stand-off by
events both on and off the field during last autumn's Rugby World Cup
that he admits he nearly walked away from the game.

'The World Cup made me question
whether it was all worth it,' said the man who will command the pivotal
position in England's four autumn Tests, beginning with Fiji on Saturday.

Dejected: Toby Flood reacts to defeat in the 2011 Rugby World Cup

Dejected: Toby Flood reacts to defeat in the 2011 Rugby World Cup

'It made me ask myself if it was something I really wanted to do. I was very disillusioned. I wasn't enjoying my rugby, my form dipped and, looking back, it was pretty scary. All I knew was that I couldn't go through what I experienced during and after the World Cup again. I could easily have walked away from the game.'

The fact that he did not was down to the advice of those closest to him and as a result of watching the likes of Charlie Hodgson and Owen Farrell play for England in the No 10 jersey during this year's Six Nations tournament.

'I sat down and spoke to a great deal of friends and peers about how I felt,' said 27-year-old Flood.

Bad behaviour: Manu Tuilagi's jump into Auckland harbour was symptomatic of England's problems at the Rugby World Cup

Bad behaviour: Manu Tuilagi's jump into Auckland harbour was symptomatic of England's problems at the Rugby World Cup

'I also spoke with my family and they all told me I should carry on. But what proved to be the catalyst was watching others play in the Six Nations in place of me.

'I'd just come back from poor form and then injury and I didn't really get a look-in during the Six Nations. My passion for the game had deserted me and I was trying to rediscover the love. For the first time since before the World Cup I felt that knot in my stomach watching the Six Nations.

'I wasn't jealous of any individuals. But I realised I missed that moment of elation, five minutes after the game is won, when you sit in the dressing room, look across at a team- mate and smile. Any player who has retired will tell you. That's what you miss more than any other part of the game.'

Flood 's World Cup depression was understandable. On the field England fell in the quarterfinals to France after an appalling first-half display, while off the field the squad became embroiled in a series of incidents that cast doubt on their discipline and maturity and led, ultimately, to the resignation of manager Martin Johnson and a cull of senior players under Lancaster's new regime this year.

'Having played in the 2007 World Cup final and having loved the experience so much, I knew how badly we blew it last year,' said Flood.

'We had a path to the final via France in the quarter-finals and Wales in the semis – teams we had beaten in the Six Nations and summer World Cup warm-up games,' said Flood. 'But we didn't attack the opportunity with anywhere near enough vigour.

'And, of course, off the field it didn't exactly go to plan either. On a number of occasions there were situations that were poor from the individuals concerned. I'm fully aware of what we did.'

Flood is as far removed from the testosterone-fuelled goldfish bowl of professional rugby as can be imagined.

Back in business: Toby Flood in training with England ahead of the test against Fiji

Back in business: Toby Flood in training with England ahead of the test against Fiji

He does not fall out of taxis in the small hours nor tread the red carpet at film premieres.

He does not chase publicity and is happiest simply chewing the fat with members of the front five from his club, Leicester, over a coffee, or gardening, or, as he did last week, visiting Paris with his girlfriend, Sally, to take in some of that city's cultural attractions.

'When I first picked up a rugby ball and ran with it, I did it for the enjoyment of the game,' he said. 'Nothing's really changed. When I am playing, I accept that I am in the full glare of the rugby-following public, the game in general and the media. But I don't do this to be a celebrity or to be on the front pages of the papers. I don't want to be recognised. I just want to play rugby to the best of my ability and lead my own life away from the job.

'That's why I enjoy the company of the Leicester props and locks so much. It may look strange, a “pretty boy” back hanging out with the engine room, but they're honest men in the way they approach their job and their lives. As a rugby player, I can't do something like go skiing even if I wanted to. So instead I find things to do to escape from the goldfish bowl of professional rugby. That's why I enjoy gardening or fishing and walking my black Labrador. '

Two of a kind: Toby Flood (right) and the man he replaced as England fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson

Two of a kind: Toby Flood (right) and the man he replaced as England fly-half, Jonny Wilkinson

Nowhere was the attention greater, or less welcome, than at the World Cup. Flood said: 'I didn't want the full glare of publicity or to be made to feel guilty by association with what went on in New Zealand. The world I found myself in, with seemingly the eyes of everyone on us, was one I don't want any part of.'

Some of his England colleagues have had to change their ways following the fall-out from the World Cup.

Not so Flood, which, when you realise who mentored him during his embryonic rugby days up in Newcastle, is perhaps unsurprising.

'I grew up watching and then being taught how to play rugby by Jonny,' said Flood, feeling – rightly – no need to add the surname of Wilkinson.

'I watched how he went about his business, both on and off the field. He understood the ways of the modern rugby player long before most others and it rubbed off on me.

'When I got back last year from the World Cup, I asked myself whether the squad, at any time, understood how difficult it could be for us, or realised just how much scrutiny we would be under.

'The answer is clear, which is why so many aspects of the World Cup left me analysing my own behaviour on and off the field and my desire.'

Twelve months on and so much is different. England are now under Lancaster's guidance, they finished a creditable second place in the Six Nations with a much-changed and vastly younger team, and then returned from South Africa with two narrow defeats and a draw.

And Flood is back in the No 10 jersey, although with the likes of Farrell, Freddie Burns and even George Ford at Leicester seemingly snapping at his heels, his position still seems far from secure.

'That goes with the territory,' he said. 'The irony isn't lost on me that for a man who doesn't like the spotlight I play at 10. Sometimes I wish I played at six. Not that it's easier, but what you do, good and bad, doesn't get noticed by 90 per cent of the people.

'I like the challenge and I don't spend a moment worrying about others playing better than me. After a while it's not about a good game here and there, it's about narrowing the gap between good and bad games to the point where you reach a consistent level at Test match standard.

Rivals: Charlie Hodgson (front) and Owen Farrell are among several fly-halfs challenging Toby Flood

Rivals: Charlie Hodgson (front) and Owen Farrell are among several fly-halfs challenging Toby Flood

'I'm not saying it doesn't hurt if you get dropped, as I was for Jonny in the World Cup, but Test match rugby today is not just about the 15 who start, nor even the 22 who run out for the game, but the 30-odd in the squad, because at any given moment you will be required to take your chance. If it all ended today, I'd be very happy with what I've achieved. I'm more concerned by my evolution as a person than as a rugby player.'

Which is why Flood will be in the City of London on his day off this week, doing work experience with an insurance broker, and why last week he was coaching at a school in Wimbledon.

'I hope I have another five or six years in rugby,' he said. 'I'll take my coaching badges but I just want to see what else is out there. There's a lot of life to live, isn't there'

And with that, the reluctant star of English rugby headed off to catch his train to Paris where, for now at least, he can enjoy his off-field anonymity before the maelstrom of Test match rugby once again engulfs him.