No place for racism at Vale Park

No place for racism at Vale Park

OVF editor Rob Fielding applauds the fans who reported racist chanting at Vale Park and agrees with the club that fans engaged in racist chanting should be booted out.

Rob Fielding writes…

I applaud the proper Vale supporters who reported the racist chanting last weekend. They are proper fans…

Since I opened the OVF forum for business many years ago, one rule has remained in place. That is that “racist, sexist, sectarian, homophobic, threatening, trolling (posting deliberately disruptive messages), harassing or obscene messages and/or images are not permitted…”

I am personally strongly opposed to any discrimination on OVF and we do take action should we spot any. We actively support both Kick It Out and Show Racism the Red Card and I have been in communication with both groups about anti-racism measures in recent years.

But I’m not trying to score points by telling you OVF’s stance against discrimination. After all, I would expect that having read the above, you would think “I would hope so” because surely it’s what you’d expect from a sensible, fair-minded person.

And considering myself sensible and fair-minded, I applaud the proper Vale supporters who reported the racist chanting last weekend. They are proper fans. I also back the club with their strongly worded statement that “Port Vale would strongly urge supporters who enjoy taking part in racially-motivated abuse not to attend games.”

I think Norman Smurthwaite is completely correct to try and boost the attendances at the ground. Bigger crowds equals more signings on the pitch.

Alongside families and younger fans, who are hardly going to be encouraged following recent news stories, there is the ideal of Vale becoming a key part of the local community. And I would imagine that a key part of that approach is to align the club with all aspects of the community including encouraging ethnic minorities (who may have been put off in the past) to attend games. How is that going to be achieved when the club is in the back pages of the national press over stories of racist abuse? How can the club be presented as a community ideal when a small minority are heaping shame on Port Vale?

I wonder if any of those idiots involved in the chants are the same people imploring the club to make new signings? I wonder if they can comprehend that their actions in giving the club a bad name is more likely to decrease the revenue we need to add new players rather than encourage more people to come to the club? I doubt it. No doubt they will moan, no doubt they will claims it’s “harmless fun” (it’s NOT) and no doubt they will blame everyone but themselves if the FA takes action.

Perhaps the only way the racists will ever learn is if they see the consequences of their actions…

And it certainly seems that the football authorities are taking the chants very seriously. Earlier this week, a national newspaper claimed that the FA could punish the club by closing the Railway Paddock. It’s a move that many would consider harsh, but if it teaches the offending fans a harsh lesson – that racism is not to be tolerated – then perhaps it could be the right approach. Perhaps the only way the racists will ever learn is if they see the consequences of their actions.

Please remember, it’s not compulsory to join in a chant. I took an active decision to not chant those awful Clayton McDonald songs last season as I felt they were at best distasteful and at worse misogynistic and disrespectful to the Ched Evans’ victim.

I expect that others may disagree on the McDonald chant. After all, we are all individuals. We can make a personal choice. But while that is true, there are some values that are universal and I hope that next time a racist, homophobic or insulting chant takes place you will join me in not taking part and better still, reporting it to the authorities.

We all love the beautiful game, let’s work together and stop people ruining it by thinking before we chant.


If you have any information relating to Saturday’s alleged chants, please email phil.mayer@port-vale.co.uk. Any information offered will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

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