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F & A

By David B7/4/2015 14:35Tue Apr 7 14:35:07 2015In response to Re: The Twelth Man

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If the following comes over as pompous, I apologise.

I hate to admit it, but the events behind the goal (and on the pitch in the second half) yesterday afternoon disturbed me enough to give a disrupted night’s sleep. Some of the language behind the goal was thoroughly unpleasant, but not unexpected. The tension – and expectation – levels have risen significantly and I am sure the efforts of the players on Saturday carried over into Monday, especially as Wingate & Finchley had enjoyed a five-day break before the game. That said, at 2–0 up at half-time, I thought it would be relatively comfortable in the final 45 minutes. Then we conceded a sloppy goal.

Can swearing be justified? Drop something heavy on your foot, or stub your toe, and tell me “no”! It is all a matter of context. When we gave away the goal, I may well have dropped an eff-bomb, but it was no more than a quiet expression of frustration. This is the whole point. You may think this is a strange angle to take, but it is not the swearing that matters; it is how persistent it is and how far away it can be heard.

If you are five feet away and don’t hear anything untoward, then if someone lets out an oath, it doesn’t really matter – after all, football grounds are not sanctified holy places and “industrial language” will be shouted and or spoken. The Wingate & Finchley centre-half was admonished by the referee for expletives after Casey’s goal – technically, given the way they were uttered, it was a red card offence – but he wasn’t the only one and if the letter of the law was followed, then it would be rare for a match to end at 11-a-side.

Interestingly, while everyone behind the goal could hear every shout, I spoke with someone who watched the game in the stand at the Harry Abrahams Stadium and he wasn’t aware of the bad language.

However, when club directors spoke to one of those spouting the expletives towards the end of the second half, it was incredibly rude and disrespectful for the person to apparently continue a telephone call. Should the directors have held off and waited for the call to be completed? No, the issue had to be dealt with immediately. Should the “offender” have ended the phone call? Absolutely.

Almost the only time I ever use my phone when behind the goal is to give live reports to the local hospital radio station and occasionally do commentary too (as a journalist I am occasionally asked to cover matches other than the one I am at, so I will receive text messages from people at these other matches, giving me score updates and/or results, but they are intrusive so I will normally ask them to keep the texts to a minimum). Yesterday, however, I had to apologise for the language which could clearly be heard over my commentary. Maybe I should have moved away from where I was standing, but there weren’t many places where I could have stood and been able to do my commentary without interfering with the enjoyment of other fans. I must be honest, I am not sure I want do live commentary of Hendon matches if I have to apologise for the bad language coming from the terraces or stands.

With five matches to go in the League, we are on the brink of something more than special, a finish unlike anything we have enjoyed since our days as an Amateur club in the early 1970s. Infighting will not help the cause and everyone should be pulling in the same direction – that is Hendon over the finish line in first place. Please, everyone, let’s moderate the language. Think for a moment before shouting out and don’t bring the club’s name into disrepute.

Our support has grown in the past couple of weeks and that is fantastic (in steps 2 and 3 on Saturday, I think there were four games which had bigger attendances than we did). Let’s not behave in a way that stops them from coming back.


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