TV cameras should focus on identifying racist Hammers

ROY PILOTT
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012

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OPINION: The FA has told ESPN it will investigate anti-Semitic chanting by West Ham fans during the club's 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on Monday.

That was the intro on a Soccernet.com page this week.

The story also reported a West Ham season ticketholder nicked outside White Hart Lane for racial abuse had been banned by the club. But what difference will this investigation make? Sod all.

Until West Ham are prepared to reveal the names of fans they have banned, and until there is some robust reporting of cases surrounding these racist thugs, the mass chanting will continue.

At present, the names of only a handful of yobs ever make the media. Yet cameras could identify masses of them. Given the influence sports bodies have over TV coverage - they won't let you see pitch invaders, for example - it's a no-brainer that they could make a major impression on the behaviour of fans.

They don't because, in my view, they don't care enough.

They are not the only ones who sit on their hands.

Recently a video was posted in which a pre-schooler sung an obscene song about a player. He was coached by the adult taking the video. We heard about the incident, but that was the end of it. No one unmasked the adult, who clearly was not fit to be alone with the child.

It is also significant that police cautioned two fans for making racist remarks following the Spurs-Hammers match, but did not charge them.

West Ham showed some contempt for the issue too. "During the 46 games in the Championship last season, West Ham United had zero arrests for racism or violence, so we are surprised to see such reports today, " the club said.

By midweek, manager Sam Allardyce was a bit more forthcoming on the issue of abusive chanting, but his initial comments were: "What do you want me to say? If I didn't hear it I can't condemn it can I?"

Well, actually, yes he could - he simply chose not too.

Yet one of their own players, Israeli international Yossi Benayoun, said he was "very disappointed to hear some of the songs and it was embarrassing".

Police are also "investigating" the case of a moron at Sunderland who was snapped gesturing at West Brom's Romelu Lukaku. The bloke's picture has been all over the internet, so I should think police might be able to identify him eventually, and we'll learn that he's a lovely wee lad who has black friends too.

On the subject of supporters who are a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic, travelling Arsenal fans chanted "you don't know what you're doing" at Arsene Wenger last weekend. It's suggested Wenger will have £40 million (NZ$77.6m) available to spend in January.

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Which brings me nicely to Joey Barton's latest effort. "Perhaps I shouldn't say it, but I'm maybe a little too intelligent to be a footballer," Barton has told a French newspaper. But he went one better by putting on a French accent when talking to reporters after the match. Barton later wrote: "In my defence, it is very difficult to do a press conference in Scouse for a room full of French journalists".

Troublesome Newcastle striker Nile Ranger was a shock inclusion in the squad who lost to Southampton last weekend . . . Portsmouth want Joe Jordan to be their next manager . . . Social networks report "Posh Spice" has been looking at schools in west London, so it's "Golden Balls" for QPR.

Abel Tarrabt could make an unlikely move to Old Trafford following Harry Redknapp's appointment at Loftus Rd. The Moroccan is a precocious talent, but something of an enigma. We all know what happened last time a player like that became available for Sir Alex.

Manchester City may blow rivals out of the water by offering a fortune for Crystal Palace starlet Wilfried Zaha . . . New Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez says he expects Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole to leave in the summer . . . Mark Clattenburg has been given his whistle back and Chelsea say they "regret" not giving more consideration to the allegations of racism made against him, before releasing statements.

Dave Sexton, ranked one of England's finest coaches and a former manager of Manchester United and Chelsea, has died aged 82. Sexton's spell at QPR took him to within an ace of the league title in 1976.

On the move:

Loan, Alan Hutton Villa-Nottm Forest, Alan Tate Swansea-Leeds, Alex Smith Fulham-Orient, Angus MacDonald Reading-Torquay, Blair Turgott West Ham-Bradford, Bradden Inman Newcastle-Crewe, Cameron Gayle West Brom-Shrewsbury, Conor Clifford Chelsea-Crawley, Curtis Good Newcastle-Bradford.

Weekend fixtures:

England, Sunday (NZ time), West Ham v Chelsea, Arsenal v Swansea, Fulham v Tottenham, Liverpool v Southampton, Man City v Everton, QPR v Aston Villa, West Brom v Stoke, Reading v Man Utd. Monday, Norwich v Sunderland. Tuesday, Newcastle v Wigan.

Scotland Sunday, Kilmarnock v Celtic, Hearts v Aberdeen, Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Hibernian, Motherwell v Ross County, St Mirren v St Johnstone. Monday, Dundee v Dundee United.

- Taranaki

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What is your boss' attitude when you want to watch early-morning Fifa World Cup?

He/she pulls up a chair, shouts breakfast.

Doesn't join, but is happy for us to watch and cheer.

Hard to tell, so we only glaces at TV.

Manager prowls around with whip in hand.

Absolute no ... some have received formal warnings.

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Related story: Cut football supporters some slack

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