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No swearing at hendon or you are in big trouble
I cannot believe what I have read about foul language.
Whilst I totally agree that discriminatory language is unacceptable, foul language has been part of watching football since it's inception.
Are you seriously implying that if the hendon number 9 misses an open goal then shouting out for example 'oh for f...ks sake' will merit a ban?
Does this mean chanting 'the referees a wan..r' is also forbidden?
Will this also apply to the players on the pitch? Surely the same rules must apply to the players then?
If our number 3 is badly tackled will he be educated to call out 'oh flip' or 'dash it'?
Re: No swearing at hendon or you are in big trouble
Having attended many Hendon-Margate games over recent years, I can honestly say I cannot recall any incidents of foul language. Obviously it goes on but certainly no more than any other club.
We've had a similar crackdown at Hartsdown. The galling thing, of course, is that it never applies to the players (or indeed visiting fans if they are a) numerous b) a bit handy). We had notoriously foul-mouthed Craig Holloway in goal last season. I very much doubt he was ever censured by the club over his language.
Don't Leave Us Paul
I don't know Paul Butler or his friends to talk to but I think I know who he is. He is the fat loud mouthed **** behind the goal at the few games I manage to get to these days. One thing I do know is that when Paul and his friends are behind the goal they bring the nearest thing to an atmosphere at our home games that I can remember since we left Claremont Road.
Paul and his friends are probably the last young supporters Hendon FC have attracted in any number over the last 10 years. What with the websites they produced and the videos and their continued support, I think they are probably an asset to the club.
I can understand that there is quite a lot of investment at stake here and I think Simon's statement is "on message".
It ain't the swearing thats driving people away from non league football, it's the total lack of f***ing atmosphere. What most young people really enjoy is the atmosphere behind the goal. Please Paul don't leave us, if and when this new generation do appear, please encourage them to join in. I'm sure you guy's can be trusted to know what language is appropriate to use around younger people (at least when their parents are around).
Hendon FC @ Wembley - If the future looks bleak, relive the past
Can remember being a ball boy as a 13 year old some 25 years ago down claremont road and heard language I wouldnt repeat today now as a 38 year old ! Many people thought we were a "rough kind" and therefore our numbers never imcreased that much over the years. Now we have a chance to find new supporters so it needs to have a family appeal too. When the west Hendon faithful turmed up for some of the bigger games there was always disgruntled supporters back then and board members who were worried of the clubs image. Those who crossed the mark were dealt with so no different to the chairmans requeat now to tone down the swearing etc..
I found malcolm blowing the bugle as loud as he could down the ear of the oppositions goalkeeper whilst about to take a goal kick funnier than any insults thrown his way.
ive been going arsenal home and away for the last 25 years and have seen the atmosphere become non existent at the new library so it is embarrassing when its silent and 4 lads decide to swear for five minutes.
the buzz at Hendon is second to none and beats arsenal all day long. Those who got a slap at Northwood vs stones know that insults can get you into trouble...
all simon is saying is tone it down. Lets come up with more witty songs that are clean and create a hymm sheet for the future !
Re: foul language
I think we all agree that all that needed to be said is "lets tone it down a bit", especially to a group of passionate supporters of a "fans owned" club.
Unfortunately, that was not what was said and at the moment I am not sure why such a heavy handed approach was ever deemed necessary, especially as I don't see any way a club like Hendon with only a group of ever diminishing willing volunteers could ever enforce such measures.
I am really not sure what is going on here and the article in the NLP re Edgware and SJP just leaves me more confused.
Hendon FC @ Wembley - If the future looks bleak, relive the past
Re: foul language
Nail on head MD, anyone who knows me knows that I'm not unreasonable by any stretch, took issue with the condescending tone of the statement more than the sentiment behind it, and even more so by the refusal to admit it had been poorly worded and over the top once that had been pointed out even by people on the opposite side of the fence from me.
Re: Don't Leave Us Paul
I'll take that as a compliment MD, unfortunately I am never going to be in a position where I want to pay money to be condescended and spoken down to like some unruly child. For me, football is about the atmosphere, giving referees and opposition players/fans stick is part of that, as is colourful language. Obviously the club disagrees, they'd rather hear polite applause like some kind of poncey tennis match, so you'll see me at away games only, where I can say what I like without being banned (unless of course an opposition club pre-warns me that it's supposed to be like a creche)
I'll be rather amused when some kids do turn up next season, once, only to never return because they were bored stiff, and told off if they said a naughty word.
Beep Beep - all aboard the offended bus.
Re: Don't Leave Us Paul
I think you're beginning to miss the point now Paul.
This isn't about anyone being singled out. This isn't trying to stop anyone from creating an atmosphere behind the goal. All Simon is asking is that foul and abusive language is moderated. Surely that's not too much to ask is it? Like it or not, kids come to Hendon matches, and the club has a duty to provide an environment which encourages that.
I want my kids to grow up watching Hendon, I want them to know what its like to be part of something special on those occasions where the side defy the odds and the fans are united. What I don't want to have to be explaining to them is why people are using naughty words. Why should I have to do that? It's nothing to do with being part of some PC crew, or coming to games on some sort of bus for the mortally offended. It's everything to do with not having my little ones subjected to language that they have no need to hear so early in their lives.
Quite frankly, from what I've read, you seem to be unable to separate going to games and effing, blinding and c-bombing and if anyone uses language befitting an unruly child then perhaps they ought to be treated as such.
Simon and the board have worked tirelessly over the past few years to not only keep the club alive but to move it forward. Now that time has come it looks as though you're almost willing them to fail. I'm sure that's not the case deep down, but I find your refusal to work with them over this single, quite minor issue, pretty mystifying.
I have a lot of time for you, Paul, you're a decent bloke who's always good to chat to about football. But I'm afraid, on this point we are poles apart.
Maybe see you at an away match next season.
The inconvenient truth
Kids love swearing. Not that I spend much time loitering around playgrounds, but kids, among themselves, swear all the time. I think back to my own primary school days. We were filth. The jokes, in particular, made Bernard Manning seem like Marcus Brigstocke.
Re: Don't Leave Us Paul
Put it this way, if I'd turned up as a 12 year old in 1999 at Claremont Road and encountered the eerie silence that home games at Earlsmead or Vale Farm are like now, I'd never have bothered coming back. Yes, I heard all kinds of swear words from all kinds of people behind the goal and even sat in the stand, and that was accepted as part and parcel of what traditionally is a working man's sport, if anything sometimes a crowd's anger ADDS to the atmosphere, when people are fired up because of a bad decision or they feel "wronged" by something, it's only natural that a few naughty words are going to be part of that.
So when the club is ostracising it's existing supporters, who have spent a lot of money over the years, merely for being passionate about the team, it sticks in the throat.
The decision has been made, I hope your kids never have to hear any naughty words amongst the silence at Earlsmead, let's see how getting rid of the "handful of supporters who don't know how to behave" really affects the club, both financially and atmosphere wise.
Re: Don't Leave Us Paul
I think you're choosing to be ostracised rather than anyone at the club actively trying to force you out. Even if they were targeting you guys in particular, which I don't think they are as I've heard pretty shambolic language from other parts of the ground, they're certainly not doing so for your passion about the team. No-one's got rid of any supporters, you've made the decision for yourselves.
Had this statement been made in 1999, when I sometimes overstepped the mark of what was acceptable, then I would have held my hands up and taken it on the chin - found a more acceptable and positive way of channeling my energies towards supporting the team.
Re: Don't Leave Us Paul
Life will go on at Hendon without you Paul, believe it or not!
Re: Don't Leave Us Paul
Never claimed it wouldn't.
Re: No Swearing
I think I'll last about 2 games. Already planning what to do on my spare Saturday afternoons. Won't be buying a season ticket, that's for sure. Shame really. Priced out of Premier League, censored out of Ryman League.
I live a stone's throw from Wealdstone where bad language is almost mandatory. Shall I? Like f*** I shall.
Re: No Swearing
Restricted my complaints about this pathetic Draconian policy to the fans group on Facebook, because it's f*cking embarrassing, and any opposition fan looking in would be pissing themselves.
Myself, Jake Osborn and Andy Vincent have taken the decision to not attend home games at all next season, as the jurisdiction doesn't stretch to away games - Jeff, I would suggest you do the same rather than walking away completely.
Re: No Swearing
What I find embarrassing, and I speak as someone whose been guilty of it on many occasions in the past, is when you can hear someone swearing from 100 yards away. A C-bomb being detonated from behind the goal for all to hear within the same postcode isn't good. It doesn't reflect well on the club and, trying to explain to my little ones what 'they' shouted isn't that easy either.
As far as I'm concerned there's a difference between that sort of thing and effing and jeffing (no pun intended, Jeff) quietly with your mates on the terraces, and holding your head in your hands letting out an anguished scream when Anthony Thomas rattles another effort against the boardroom window.
But, is there really any need to call someone a w*nker? Is there really any need to tell someone to eff off? You can still get your point across without needing to turn into Lee Nelson. Just because swearing has been part of football since 19whenever, doesn't mean it should still be common practice today.
That said, I can only think of about two occasions where I think someone's overstepped the mark at a game I've been at in the last 4 or 5 seasons.
If people want to stay away, then of course that is their decision. I think the club has taken the right decision. It has to do all it can to stay alive, and it needs to encourage the next generation of fans. If this is what it takes to get another 20 or 30 even on the gate next season, then so be it
No Swearing Policy
I think I need to explain my earlier post. I recognise the reasons behind the chairman introducing the policy, and I sincerely hope there are lots of new supporters who could be in a position to be insulted.
Where I'm coming from is that I work hard in a mundane 9 to 5 job all week, for not a lot of pay. Football is a great way to unwind and let off steam and sometimes I can overstep the mark. For example, Hornchurch away last season would have got me a verbal warning, red card and lifetime ban all in the same 90 minutes.
So I am not criticising the policy, I am just doubting my own ability to comply. I know that not being able to articulate yourself without recourse to profanity may be seen as a sign of ignorance, and if that is me then so be it (nearly 50 years of being on the terraces may have conditioned me irreversibly).
To sum up, I am not going to walk away, I just hope I can support our wonderful club in the right way.
A final thought, some of these new young supporters might teach us oldies a thing or two about swearing.
Re: No Swearing Policy
Can almost guarantee the gate will diminish once again this season, that's without the club ostracising it's long-serving supporters for people that may or may not turn up.
Re: No Swearing Policy
It's one of the most patronising and sanctimonious things I've ever heard about.
Has England become such a pathetic country that one of its amateur football clubs now adopts the new liberal worldspeak where any slightest thing that could cause offence to anyone should be clamped down on?
Is this really the same country that produced the likes of Benny Hill, Kenny Everett, the carry on films etc?
not sure about this however I personally think this is about hurling abuse at the top of our voices(yes I have been guilty of this myself)rather than a reactory moan about an incident we have witnessed.my concern is who will administer the punishment if we use stewards as some clubs do will they react in the way as when we complain at away games by ignoring it completely.i agree we in our new area need to be a family club and keep swearing at a minimum but think that what is proposed is un-enforceable.as for not attending home games this is a little over the top and will affect the clubs finances come on chaps the club needs each and everyone behind it.think the agm could be a long one.
The position myself and others are now in, we dare not attend home games for fear of being chastised like a naughty child, and further along, banned. Why would anyone want to choose to pay their money to be in that position? The club has shot itself in this foot with this frankly laughable statement, and you're correct, it will affect the club's finances, as well as even further reducing the vocal support for the team.
I really think there's been some overreaction to the statement.
But it's not my place to judge the decision of others - they must do what they see fit.
What I would urge anyone feeling miffed, upset and put out by the statement is to speak to Simon about it.
I agree with John in that perhaps there is an over-reaction to the message from Simon. I assume that the message does not relate to swearing within general banter that takes place at matches but relates to the few occasions where, for some supporters, the level of swearing was deemed to be way over the top.
Paul and Rupe, you may not agree with it but surely you must accept that, at times, supporters can be offended. If you agree then surely you must accept that the Club has to address the situation. Which is more important, a few supporters having the freedom to swear as much and as loudly as they want to or have other supporters offended bearing in mind, certainly in the future, a family environment wants to be established. To my mind, it is a no-brainer.
foul language - is it necessary ?
Have a look at the average age of your supporters - 50+ I'd guess.
It's the same at lots of other non-league clubs.
Ever wondered why ? Well, would you take your kids or grandchildren to a match where foul language is the norm ? Probably not - well there are plenty of others like you. The small crowds just emphasise the use of the language. So young kids don't get the habit (or joy even) of watching their local team.
So gates dwindle away as we hold silences from time to time for the departed stalwart supporters.
Carry on as we are and there will be no Hendon FC in twenty years.
A family-friendly atmosphere at games is just good business sense. Foul language doesn't help create that.
Re: foul language - is it necessary ?
I think the lack of young supporters stems from the lack of atmosphere
10 years ago I was that kid along with my brothers (all younger btw) and we were by no means alone as the you gets on the terraces hearing a lot of stuff that one would seem inappropriate. But guess what I'd heard worse at school or just walking down the road and the same is true now
What stopped a lot of the lads I grew up with coming back as the years went on is they simply lost interest
The people we have to appeal to is the younger generation, scolding them for letting their hair down in the weekend is not the way to do it IMO
The young ones of 14-15 will come with their mates as a day away from mum and dad and a chance to be a lad for a bit and go to a game
I understand there are those who want to bring even younger kids along and fair dos but if you took them to any ground in the country and sat in the family stand you'd still hear what you'd expect at footy, curse words.
Maybe I've just been to proper hooligan grounds though ( QPR Fulham leyton orient among them)
I think the reason this has wound a couple of us up as much as to has is there was never this concern when we started out and now it's us who are the bad guys despite being the product of our habitat (Saturday afternoon on the terraces being a big part of that)
It is a shame that we've had to make the hard decision not to attend home games but as has been said I work hard all week and choose to sped my time and money going to games and I don't want to be spoken down to by those who were the ones who helped shape the type of fan I've become
I don't feel welcome at home games and so I shan't attend them but will go to away games as Gary and Fred and the lads on the field deserve my support so I will give it where I can
Re: foul language - is it necessary ?
I don't disagree, Jake, that there is generally a lack of atmosphere at the majority of home matches. However, I don't think creating an atmosphere requires bad language to go with it.
Bad language may have been accepted as the norm in the past (although, speaking from personal experience I was always pulled up when I overstepped the mark - rightly so), but that doesn't mean it has to be part of our future.
You've made your decision, and I respect that. See you no doubt at an away game before too long.
Re: foul language - is it necessary ?
At least now I will be able to take my kids and stand behind the goal again, like the good old days.
Re: foul language - is it necessary ?
A balance is vital in this argument. I have been embarrassed to hear a tirade of four letter words screamed at both players, officials and even supporters at certain games. One cup final (London Senior Cup against Tooting) at Met Police was a typical example of unacceptable behaviour. I am sure that a few muttered swear words are not what this issue is really about. That should not and would not result in any banning order. More to the point, I cannot accept the right of any supporter to scream foul language, without any fear of reprimand.
Re: foul language - is it necessary ?
It seems that some supporters actually prefer the freedom to shout obsenities than to watch Hendon playing at home !
That's sad. I hope they will reconsider. Do they all swear loudly at home, in front of family ?
If the Board ensures good publicity for their strict 'family friendly' initiative in the local press, radio etc. it is to be hoped that the stay-away dissidents will be more than replaced by new supporters, brought along by by their parents/guardians.
A few seasons back I took a potential sponsor to games at Aylesbury and Slough but they quickly ruled out linking their product with both clubs after they heard the foul language from the crowd, certain players -and the management on the bench !! Handled well, the no-swearing rule, if supported by all at Hendon, could attract new sponsorship interest.
It's worth a try - it will be interesting to see if attendances rise or fall this coming season.
Re: Naive Sponsors.
Now I'm the very last person in this Pathetic Excuse for a Nation to raise an eyebrow at the cotton wool cocoon of bockmist in which some people can seemingly live their lives without ever encountering reality... but I can't let that go, mickeygee.
A potential sponsor turned up at a football match and was shocked & appalled to hear foul language?
Come on! Spill the beans!
Which religious order did the nun in question belong to and where did the order in question get the money?
Re: Naive Sponsors.
I don't think anyone was "shocked & appalled" AA - you made up that bit yourself !
The client was ex-army and knew one or two swear words before he ever went to non-league football !
I don't know if you're in business yourself, with a brand to protect etc., but if you are, then you are playing devil's advocate and, if you're not, you probably wouldn't understand their rationale anyway.
Their money would have been good but they were just the wrong company for non-league football.
Sorry if you think that naive.
That's the real world - ask Luis Suarez or even Rolf Harris about their disappearing sponsors !
By the way, what is 'bockmist' ? - Never heard the word before.
re: Naive Sponsors
I used to work for a couple of advertising agencies in the 1980s... before my moral fibre implant operation.
"Shocked and appalled" is the traditional phrase used in outraged letters by "Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells" in spoofs of the stereotype.
I fully understand the rationale. Were I in charge of a company of any sort, I wouldn't let it within a million miles of anything to do with association football.
The naivete of the prospective sponsor was in remotely considering any variety of senior association football as a vehicle for promoting a respectable company... as opposed to promoting a loan shark or repo company, a bookie or on-line casino, a purveyor of narcotics, a Gang-Bang Holidays franchise, a foreign semi-state firm from a nation high on Amnesty International's hit-list or - heaven forefend! - a bank.
I'd imagine 98% of the adult population would associate football with atrocious behaviour and foul language. That someone would get so far as to check-out the proposed theatre of propaganda could be said to demonstrate commendable professionalism. However, that anyone who didn't want their brand connected to laddish or loutish behaviour would have ever remotely considered football sponsorship as a vehicle defies belief.
I'm constantly perplexed as to why RockStar Games - makers of Grand Theft Auto - doesn't sponsor a football team.
Paddy Power adores association with loucheness - and loutishness - as do most lager producers.
Respectable companies, as you point out, almost always wish to protect their brand names from association with the mentality found in football. That's why almost none of them sponsor clubs.
"Bockmist" - literally "billygoat s**t" - is the word used in some parts of Germany in instances where we'd use "bulls**t"... or "Bother!" if we're watching Hendon. It just came to mind while watching Brazil's performance last night.
I am tempted to post a proper reply to this thread, but I'm not sure I have three hours to spare!
Re: re: Naive Sponsors
Excellent response Mr. A.
Like Mark Lawrenson, I suspect you don't really like football do you ? !!
Trouble is that without sponsors, V.P.s or rich people with different priorities to my own, there probably would be no football worth watching. If foul language deters those benefactors, would-be supporters and their kids too, something needs to be done about it. Hendon seem to be trying an initiative. It could, of course, backfire.
It's always irritated me that Barclays see fit to pour money into the pocket of Wayne Rooney et al.
Running on the pitch
Never mind all this b****x about bad language....are there any restrictions on running on the pitch...? ;-)
Am I the only one baffled by, in particular, Paul and Jake’s opinions on swearing. What I cannot figure out is why, for them, it is so important to be able to swear as much as they like having no regard for the impact on spectators in their vicinity. Directly related are:
1. As Hendon fans they are prepared to not attend home games if they cannot swear as much as they like. Surely, as fans, supporting their team is more important than curbing invective. Baffled.
2. They say that they will just be going to away games where they hope to be able to swear as much as they like. Hendon are clamping down on swearing as spectators can be offended. Don’t Paul and Jake realize that, at away games, spectators will be just as offended – particularly true on the south coast where there are family atmospheres. Don’t they care about potentially offending people just so they can swear. Don’t they also realize that any offence caused becomes a slight on Hendon FC. Do fans of any club want to lower the profile of that club. Baffled.
There are in the Daily Mirror online a couple of articles directly related to the swearing debate. Ian Winwood is a proponent and Darren Lewis an opponent. See
where Ian even concedes that “Had I realised that sitting in front of me at Ashton Gate was a 12 or 13 year old boy, I would not have said what I said. And for that, I am sorry.” At least he has some regard for the people around him.
Paul & Jake, could you please explain why, without regard for spectators around you or the potential impact on Hendon FC, it is so important for you to be able to swear as much as you like. I really am baffled.
The point is not that we can turn up and swear as much as we like as you have intimated
You very clearly have missed the point
It is the fact we shouldn't feel unable to show a bit of passion in which a swear word may pop out
We are not proposing that we can go and just shout the c word for 90 mins but nor are we going to go to a game and simply stand there quiet for fear of offending
The point is it's football and more so it's sport and when your passionate you can forget yourself sometimes and people shouldn't be punished for passion
I've put this idea to several work colleagues who play and watch a variety of sport all thought I was joking and dismissed the idea as a joke ( this included my cricket pals who said you'd have more of a chance of asking the lads to play naked than stop em from dropping eff bombs when frustrated or angry)
Also from the general consensus on this message board we haven't been wanted at games from some time I wish I had been informed sooner I would of saved a great deal of money and time over the last ten years
I really don't think the issue is "It is the fact we shouldn't feel unable to show a bit of passion in which a swear word may pop out ". if any of the 3 of you had bothered to discuss this issue with someone you may have found that out, instead of this big drama!
"Also from the general consensus on this message board we haven't been wanted at games from some time I wish I had been informed sooner I would of saved a great deal of money and time over the last ten years! please tell me how you managed to twist things into this? people have actually tried to reason with you all but you do not want to hear it.
Yup - the issue isn't about individuals, it's about language.
Offence is taken not given. If people choose to be offended, that's their own choice.
I will attend away games and not homes for the simple reason that at away games I have not been threatened with being banned, for behaving exactly the same as most of the adults did when I was attending games as a kid. I could have easily jumped on the offended bus back in the Claremont Road days when I first attended games in 1999, but I accepted that anger and foul language is part and parcel of a football match atmosphere, if anything a bit of anger ADDS to the atmosphere.
Further to that, I do not feel comfortable paying my money to be condescended to, and the official club statement was both condescending and downright ungrateful to those people who have supported it financially for a number of years. Therefore, I don't feel comfortable financially supporting the club, and have cancelled my Snowball number and will not be renewing my Trust membership.
Is it any wonder that there's only one club in the area that's growing attendances year on year, including getting kids through the door, and at that club swearing is pretty much mandatory and they can behave like hooligans, cause trouble (far worse than us saying a naughty word or two) and usually get away with it.
The way the club have approached this non-issue has backfired already, and will do even more so when kids do turn up, never to return because the atmosphere is more akin to that of a morgue than a football match.
I've never shied away from explaining any opinion or any decision I've ever made, so I'm not going to start now, so I hope that answers your questions.
"Offence is taken not given. If people choose to be offended, that's their own choice."
This is not correct, Paul. The Collins dictionary definition of "to give offence (to)" is "to cause annoyance or displeasure (to)". This is surely what Simon's message has done to you and your solution is to walk away by not attending home matches. Now if you give offence to anyone, would you expect them to walk away or to stand up for what they believe in?
What does behaving like this achieve Paul? I am genuinely curious. How has this backfired on the club?
It has clearly backfired on the club, unless it was the club's intention to cost itself revenue and vocal support at home games.
The language is part of creating an atmosphere, it takes place at every football match I've ever been at, no coincidence either that some of the best atmospheres have been amongst the sweariest as well. It isn't a deliberate thing "I'm gonna go to the game and swear at everyone" but more that I would get so emotionally involved in the game and passionately wanting the right result that self control becomes difficult. I wish someone had done this in 1999 and then I'd have never bothered coming back, I didn't jump on the offended bus as a 12 year old hearing people swear, its part and parcel as far as I'm concerned.
There will probably be a lot less swearing involved in the away games I go to now, for the simple fact that I care a lot less about the club, the results, or anything else to do with it, thanks to how the club chooses to speak to it's long serving supporters.
There are other ways of going about things you disagree with.
Please take a look at points 8 and 9 of the attached
These FA requirements apply to clubs and supporters "whether on its own ground or elsewhere".
Just something to think of. Wasted journeys can be long and expensive.
As I have said elsewhere, this is not about stopping anyone from having fun, bantering with the ref and/or the opposition and creating a passionate atmosphere. This is about eliminating the sort of non-stop vile language that has, occasionally, been heard at Hendon games recently and which will not be tolerated in future.
I'm happy, as ever, to speak to any individual or group of supporters in person at any game and will, of course, also be happy to do so at the upcoming AGMs.
Re: Please take a look at points 8 and 9 of the attached
Thank you Simon. That is precisely the issue here. Non-stop vile language is distasteful and totally unacceptable at any football match.
In addition to which,
if you look at the ground regulations that are printed in many club programmes and pinned up around many grounds, you'll find a clause pertaining to foul language. Earlsmead has a whacking great sign about language right by the turnstiles.
Re: In addition to which,
Noticess requesting the cessation of foul language and the possible banning of perpetrators has been published in Hendon programmes for many years; I recall seeing such notices in programmes back in the early 1950s!
Obviously I don't have every home programme to check, but I would guess that it's probably occurred at least twice in most seasons since 1950.
Such notices also appear in other clubs' programmes. Now I know that most people don't buy a programme and therefore won't see the notice when published, but almost every club has one or notices posted inside and/or just outside the ground, and, as John says, such notices include a clause that refers to foul language amongst other things.
Simon's original request is basically no different to the notices that have appeared in our programmes for more than 60 years, except that he chose to publish it on the website.
Re: In addition to which,
yes john it does but at no ground I have been to has it been enforced.as to paul yes bad language is part of the game and as you say a club down the road do seem to let things go.however I think I can trust myself to have a couple of beers and control the tone of my foul and abusive language so that someone at the other end cant hear me.i like having banter with the opposition players and fans(as at lewes where the lights went out)but to put being able to shout obscenities above supporting Hendon fc never.sorry you and jake feel the way you do but I do think a democratic vote of trust members would come down on the side of the club on this issue.
...In addition to which...
I'm biting... though not in the Luis Suarez sense.
Biting in a Luis Suarez sense is unacceptable.
Leg-breaking tackles are acceptable in a World Cup.
Threats to deny the impoverished citizens of your country one of their few pleasures by striking if not paid exorbitant bonuses - in hard US cash, naturally - ditto.
Paying your win bonuses to "terrorist" organisations is also unimpeachable conduct.
As are diving and denying it... and attempting to get fellow professionals sent-off by feigning injury.
Openly calling a referee a cheat must also be permissible because three World Cup coaches have done it in the past month. (Do libel laws not apply in football?)
Rioting when your team loses is OK as well.
Drives away sponsors.
Drives down sales.
Totally unacceptable during a World Cup. It may even be "offensive."
Rather like "foul language."
I'm biting anyhow.
This is unlikely to be a brief post. (Admit it: you're all shocked by that, aren't you?)
For reasons from the "compare & contrast" school of essay-writing - and because Paul Butler has mentioned them - That Mob in Ruislip will be likely to feature prominently in this - though there's almost no contrast at all in the way either board operates.
I'd say the "foul language" moratorium has been badly handled.
With such a small support base, it's debatable whether an announcement that would inevitably be seen as both patronising and pompous was necessary, though Simon may well be getting hacked-off with repeatedly having to ask fans face-to-face to tone things down.
A process of official written warnings and statutory suspensions of pre-determined length does smack of the type of officious and time-consuming bureaucracy of which the Parasitocracy in charge of This Pathetic Excuse for a Nation is fond.
Images of the Bottom Inspectors in "Viz" spring to mind.
Let's open with the matter of "swearing" and "bad language"... and what constitutes it.
I'd assume the "f-word" would be on the banned list.
Excuse me while I just make a quick Google search for Kenneth Tynan...
Well I never!
It appears Mr. Tynan was not the first person to use the "f-word" on TV in this country.
I'd have done my pieces if I'd been on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" and that had come up
Brendan Behan, a man whose alcohol consumption would make Shane McGowan seem a logical candidate to lead next week's Eid prayers at the end of Ramadan, seemingly used it as long ago as 1956, though he was so drunk and slurring so badly that scarcely anyone noticed.
A manual labourer in Belfast also used it when interviewed live on local TV a few years later.
Does anyone see a pattern emerging there?
I certainly hope not.
The Irish are no more likely to either drink to excess or use "foul language" than anyone else.
Nor are they more prone to committing acts of violence.
Of any sort.
As this evening and tomorrow in Ulster will demonstrate.
"Racism" is not an accusation to be shrugged-off lightly in this day and age. In common with "causing offence", guilt or innocence is not determined by the intention of the accused or the opinion of either those on the bench or those in the jury room; it's based on the subjective opinion of the accuser.
Totalitarianism tends to work like that.
It isn't very culturally diverse.
Kenneth Tynan used the f-word not as an expletive, but in a debate on censorship, which largely focused on theatre and entertainment. This was in the days when the Lord Chamberlain was effectively God, with arbitrary powers to ban anything scheduled to be performed in a theatre, for any reason... especially if it was considered "offensive."
The Lord Chamberlain's powers were revoked only after Baron Cameron Cobbold, the incumbent in the late-1960s, blocked a proposed West End opening for "Hair" - a new musical which had been extremely successful in the USA.
Tynan's words in the "offending" sentence were:
"I doubt if there are any rational people to whom the word 'f**k' would be particularly diabolical, revolting or totally forbidden."
From my viewpoint, when applied to the inhabitants of This Pathetic Excuse for a Nation fifty years later, that sentence would ring just as true if it was curtailed at the word "people."
It goes without saying that questions were asked in the House of Commons. 133 MPs signed a censure motion and the BBC was forced to apologise.
Mary Whitehouse - of whom more soon - wrote a letter to Her Majesty.
Tynan was clearly talking about context.
I, along with other posters on this thread, would hope the matter of context will be considered in Hendon FC's ban on "foul language."
There's been no official response to those queries on context, however - at least not on this thread.
What varieties of the "f-word" might be banned?
Would an Irish "feck" or "fecker" - the latter generally deemed more or less permissible in what passes for polite society in Dublin - be acceptable?
How about the original German "fick" - from which the Anglo-Saxon comes?
Is anyone "offended" by the logo of that amusingly-named and well-known fashion chain, which probably has an outlet on a high street near you?
Tynan was against this type of censorship because he viewed it as illogical and arbitrary.
It's hard to disagree.
I'd assume that fifty years ago an on air "God damn!" would have brought a scarcely less outraged - and almost certainly a more sanctimonious - response.
A "God damn!" would have provoked more ire in reactionaries than the "f-word" a generation earlier.
Is "blaspheming" covered by the new Hendon FC initiative on "foul language"?
If not, why not?
There are religious fans on here - though I doubt those of genuine faith are amongst the more easily "offended."
Will "blaspheming" be banned if someone claims to be "offended" by it?
At about the time of the Tynan outburst, Mary Whitehouse diligently sat at home with her abacus and endured a whole episode of "Till Death Us Do Part."
I don't recall how many times Alf Garnett was alleged to have used "bloody" in the twenty-eight minutes or so between the opening and closing titles, but Mrs. Whitehouse did a lot of bean-flicking on her abacus. The number of times she flicked her beans was well into three figures. Somewhat excessive for twenty-eight minutes.
Large numbers of people were "offended."
Mrs. Whitehouse was by no means the only person to whom the word "bloody" was unacceptable half a century ago, but it's now regarded as "offensive" by almost precisely nobody.
Would "bloody" be worthy of a written warning under Hendon FC's new disciplinary code, should someone claim to be "offended"?
As some words gravitate down the list of shocking expletives and epithets, others progress upwards.
The "c-word" has advanced rapidly... though I find it hard to understand why "coloured" should be considered so "offensive."
A noun for female genitalia has also made impressive advances.
When Peter Cook & Dudley Moore's talking heads routine, "This Bloke Came Up To Me", first saw the light of day, the "f-word" was probably seen as being equally offensive to the "c-word."
Precisely why the "c-word" should have been elevated to its current plane is a matter for sociologists and - more relevantly - psychiatrists. The elevation of the "n-word" is even more worthy of the shrinks' attention.
Samuel Pepys used variations of the "c-word" quite regularly in his diaries, written 350 years ago.
"Cunny" was his favoured variety. (Straight sex was de rigueur in the days preceding "cultural diversity.)
Is "cunny" on the banned list?
Is it more offensive than the "c-word"?
Is it less "offensive"?
Does Equalitist doctrine demand that they be treated as Expletives of Equal Merit?
"Foul language" appears to be an area into which words come and go, governed by the type of stringent logic, thought processes and controls normally associated solely with the UK Border Agency.
Speaking of the UK Border Agency and all things foreign, why is it that almost all "foul language" and "offensive" words seem to originate in dialects that came over 'ere from north-west Germany and the southern extremity of Scandinavia?
"F**k", "c**t", "a**e", "s**t" - they're all indisputably of Anglo-Saxon derivation.
There was a time, many centuries ago, when they were in common usage. At least amongst the peasantry and tradesmen.
The only exceptions seem to be "bugger", which is Norman-French - i.e. Scandinavian - and "sod", which is presumably of Hebrew origin.
Are there any of the many words derived from either Greek or Latin, pertaining to either bodily parts south of the waist or to acts in which the nether-regions are used, that are deemed "foul language" or "offensive?
If not, why not?
Think about it.
Yes, I know most of you are English and, as such, thinking doesn't really come naturally - far better to say "Yessir!" or fall in line with the herd, or base your reactions on emotion - but you're supposed to be culturally diverse. One doesn't get more culturally diverse than an Englishman thinking.
If Anglo-Saxons were members of the colo... er, sorry... members of the "pigmentally challenged" community, they might justifiably scream the "r-word."
I doubt there'd be many folk claiming to be "offended" by "foul language" then, would there?
It does seem to me that campaigns to root-out "foul language" are generally based on a cocktail of self-delusion and a yearning for a less sophisticated era of widespread innocence. There's more of an aura of helplessness & hopelessness about them than auras of either frustration or genuine authoritarianism.
It seems to me, in the genuine sense of the word, pathetic.
The genie left the bottle on "foul language" a long time ago. It's hard to believe that any child in London could reach their first day at primary school without having heard just about every "naughty word" in the dictionary.
There are examples of this type of tokenist and delusional behaviour in other fields.
Rolf Harris has been mentioned by Mickeygee.
Some rozzer went through several thousand "pornographic" images on the Rolfer's computer. (The things they do to protect society, eh?) Around thirty of these images were possible "child pornography." One has to laugh, given that Harris was already bang to rights, that e-mails flew - slowly, in all probability - between Scotland Yard and various ex-Soviet states to find birth certificates confirming that the models were over eighteen.
Huge numbers of teenage girls these days may open their legs at thirteen, catch chlamydia at fourteen and throw bastards at fifteen, but we must protect children from exploitation... by making it illegal for mothers of three kids to get their norks out for artistic poses until their eighteenth birthday.
If anyone reading this has a retro "Page 3" pic of a sixteen or seventeen-year-old Samantha Fox, Maria Whittaker, Debbie Ashby or Gail McKenna on their laptop, they're technically guilty of possessing "child pornography."
It's one of the laws of human nature:
"The greater the need to punish the evil, the lesser the ability to correctly identify the evil."
It's an almost exact law of inverse proportion.
It doesn't apply solely to adherents of ideologies that style themselves "religions."
The thing I find most laughable about all the Equalitist Parasitocracy's attempts to censor "unacceptable" language is their own appalling lack of command of English. They are never remotely capable of defining any of the things they wish to ban. This tragicomedic situation commenced with the disgraceful MacPherson Report.
Four morons were paid a king's ransom to define "racism." They failed abysmally, copping out with: "Anything perceived as racist by a victim or any other person." The quartet should have head their sizable fees withheld and been placed under collective house arrest until they did what they'd been paid to do.
We've subsequently had laws on "religious" hatred that make no attempt to define "religion."
The Lord only knows how many laws on "incitement" - again lacking any definition of the offence - we now have to endure.
Plenty of laws concerning things that are "offensive" are also on the statute books - once more lacking anything that might be remotely considered an acceptable legal definition in the USA.
I left school at fifteen without a qualification to my name - and I wasn't in class for much of the time I was supposed too be - but, by the Lord Harry, I think I'm sufficiently adept at use of my own language to be able to define "racism" or "religion." The question of whether I could define either in a manner that would allow the arrest of "Nasty Evil People, Not At All Like Me", for doing things almost identical to practices I indulge in myself - without running the risk of having my own collar felt - is another matter entirely... at least if the definition has to appear "fair" and has to give the illusion of applying equally to all citizens and "communities."
Perhaps someone on here might like to give us a definition of what they consider "foul language" to be.
A definitive list of words might be useful.
And let's avoid MacPhersonisms. "Anything people consider to be offensive" is not an acceptable definition.
If ten Dutchmen from various backgrounds agree on something, it's a reasonable indication that the thing might be true. Conversely, if 10,000,000 Englishmen agree on something, it's an indication of nothing more meaningful than that one of the Englishmen shouted the thing very loudly. Probably in a "Received Pronunciation" accent.
There is no more brainless, spineless and overwhelmingly ovine nationality on this planet.
David W. is one of the more intelligent and usually rational fans on here. Maybe he'd like to enlighten us as to what he considers "vile language" to be.
The suggestion that such language is unacceptable to the majority of football fans is laughable.
One of the last occasions I endured Match of the Day, probably more than a decade ago, featured a game that I seem to recall was at Southampton. As the visiting keeper prepared to take a goalkick, the traditional low murmur began. As it approached a crescendo, as the keeper approached the ball, the camera zoomed-in on a small group of fans. In the middle of the screen was a woman who must have been about seventy. She was joining the roar with enthusiasm.
"She's not, is she?" asked Barry Davies.
The septuagenarian let rip an "Aaah! You're s**t!" that put those around her to shame... or not, as you may hold.
Barry Davies let out a little laugh - half amused, half embarrassed - and left it at an "Oh, dear!"
I doubt if Barry Davies's attitude to "foul language" at football matches has changed over the past fifty years. His attitude to "racism" certainly hasn't. Unlike that of every other press box veteran, all of whom had difficulty spotting bananas or hearing monkey noises in the 1970s - when Mr. Davies managed to detect them - but who hear the slightest whisper with a "racist" inflection these days.
One of the things that makes this new Hendon FC code somewhat comical is that all examples of "foul language" that I find remotely unacceptable - contextually - come from players.
It's a while since I looked at the Laws of the Game, but I would assume any "foul language" should be deemed worthy of a yellow card and any directed at match officials should result in an instant red.
Players being carded for "foul language" is something that almost never happens.
At a game a few seasons back, I was standing next to a bloke with a couple of nine or ten-year-olds in tow. Right in front of them, a player rebuffed a colleague's persistent requests for a quick, short throw with a rising chant of, "F**k off! F**k off!! F**k off!!! F**K OFF!!!!"
He was playing for Metropolitan Police FC.
I've heard several players call linesmen and referees a "c**t" in recent seasons without sanction.
Even at Grosvenor Vale, some of the old gits have been roused to bellow "Language!" at the occupants of the away dugout on a few occasions.
Personally, I would be in favour of referees adhering to the letter of the law and brandishing a straight red.
Football, however, has far bigger problems on the field, never mind off it.
"Won't someone please think of the children?" is a phrase I can't look at without seeing Maud Flanders.
I'm not having a pop at John Rogers or anyone else for bringing school age or pre-school-age kids along, but it's not something I'd consider appropriate.
My view has nothing to do with swearing.
I only once took any of any of my ex's kids to an association football match. I considered QPR v. Oxford, when both were just about down one April in the late-90s, safe-ish ground for an 8-year-old girl, though only if her mum came along as well. They lived close to the ground and I was getting badgered persistently.
In every other case, with every other ex, I've refused any request from kids to take them to football. As I've said, swearing had nothing to do with it. I did not - and do not - consider a football match an appropriate environment for a child... especially if there was a chance I might end up with the sprog on a semi-permanent or even permanent basis.
Rugby Union was a different matter entirely. I have no problem taking kids to professional rugby games.
What went for football also went for motorcycles. If I ever arrived at an ex's premises on a bike, I'd park it around the corner and stick the helmet in the topbox so the kids didn't see it.
Not something I'd want kids to get into.
Just because I do something doesn't mean I'd want kids to copy me. I don't believe that's hypocritical.
I would be somewhat mortified if any child I knew ever saw me riding a bicycle as a cycle courier - and I never rode on the pavement and almost never skipped lights. "Don't try this at home, kids."
I also fail to see what a small child can gain from watching football at a young age.
I was once lumbered with my godson on the eve of his fourth birthday. I had bought big sis and her boyfriend, amongst others, tickets to watch Wasps in an important Heineken Cup game. I wanted to go as well, so it was unavoidable that the three-year-old had to be dragged along, though this was against my better judgement. He quite liked the wasp mascot and seemed to grasp some of the explanations about kicking the ball between the posts or getting it into the bit at the end of the pitch. He was tolerable until almost half-time, but got almost insufferably grizzly before the break. I couldn't blame him. Promises of a post-match trip to Toys Are Us and the Early Learning Centre at Watford's Harlequin shopping mall were only partly successful in placating him.
Maybe it's because I trust my sister's parenting abilities more than those of the collection of ex-junkies, borderline alcoholics, animal rights weirdos and sundry nutters I tend to get involved with, but I did take my nephew to football - starting when I got lumbered babysitting for him when he was seven. He was already a football fan. (Manchester United sadly - his absent father probably to blame.)
His first game was at Fulham, newly purchased by the Phony Pharaoh and in Division Three. I also took him to QPR, Brentford (including a feisty game v. Cardiff) and Barnet over the next few months - I was not going near a ground in the Premier League - but he decided to stick with Fulham and I took him regularly.
One Sunday, I got lumbered with him in unfortunate circumstances. The unfortunate circumstances were that I was going to a game at Pompey. The Hampshire natives were a mite restless back then, due to "boardroom upheaval", and they're not the most impeccably behaved fans at the best of times. I don't recall the opposition, but it was someone unthreatening. I still had reservations.
He loved it.
A half-eaten flying hot-dog splattering a linesman with ketchup as it struck a glancing blow.
Screams and shouts.
Including plenty of "foul language."
It was pretty clear he thought he'd made a mistake in deciding to support Fulham. However, even at the age of eight, he knew Portsmouth was a long way from home and the he couldn't really change allegiance. (Sorry, Steve!)
He did often guiltily ask, "Are you going to Portsmouth again soon?"
I bought him a scarf the next time I took him to Fratton Park and he loved his odd subsequent visit to Pompey, but he grew out of it by the time he was ten or eleven.
He obviously stayed with Fulham as they surged up the leagues. I haven't mentioned Pompey to him for well over a decade.
He's was a quiet kid and he's not a rowdy adult.
I agree with Jake and Paul that the "No swearing" initiative is far more likely to keep kids away than to attract them to sterile games of sub-standard football which, to a far greater extent than the whited sepulchre of the Premier League circus, are utterly meaningless.
Kids these days get bored easily. Seventh-rate football is unlikely to enthrall.
Most "new-style" adult fans don't attend for the athletic ability and skill of the players, so it's hard to imagine kids will be captivated.
On to the topic of attracting those new fans, which is an intriguing one.
As you will be aware, two London non-league clubs have bucked the trend by greatly increasing their attendances in the past few seasons.
They might be said to have done it in diametrically opposite ways. One by recruiting extreme "old-style" football fans; the other by recruiting extreme "new-style" supporters.
In reality, they've both almost certainly done it precisely the same way: flying by the seat of their pants.
The extreme example of new-style "fans" have flocked to Dulwich Hamlet.
It's not an apocryphal tale that many of Dulwich Hamlet FC's "fans" pitched up for the final game of the season last April with no idea that the club most likely needed three points to remain in the top five and make the play-offs.
Many of their (almost exclusively white, male, middle-class, bearded) hipster student types do not turn up at Edgar Kail Way to watch football. They know next to nothing about the game.
They have a pre-match bevvy at a student bar or from a carry out. They bring along their International Brigades / Palestine / Toscana / Che Guevara / Soviet Union / Yugoslavia / ANC / Brigate Rosse flags and banners. (None of these "offend" anyone, obviously.)
They get in for a £5 student rate.
They sing inoffensive ditties... which don't contain profanities.
In a convivial environment that doesn't see them risk being "Blair Peached" by the modern day equivalent of the SPG.
I have no idea how Dulwich Hamlet have quadrupled their gates inside three years.
I have no idea where the extra 450-500 fans per-week that have materialised since they lost the play-off final to Leatherhead in 2011, a season when they usually pulled fewer than 200, have come from.
I doubt if the Dulwich Hamlet board has much idea either.
I certainly doubt that any other club could achieve an attendance boost by attracting hipsters to football, though.
Even though staggering numbers of new "fans" have arrived, significant new sources of financial backing have not.
Despite the notable lack of obscenity on the terraces, nor have many children. I scarcely saw any when watching them play Enfield Town at the back end of last season.
The extreme old-style fans have pitched-up at That Mob in Ruislip.
The average gate at That Mob in Ruislip includes an infeasible number of children. The majority of these are the offspring of middle-class fans. The parents don't have a huge problem with swearing.
The board at That Mob in Ruislip certainly has next to no idea who many of their new fans are or how they really got them.
Though they've put thousands of leaflets and fixture cards through local letterboxes, attempts at finding out how many of the new fans have been attracted by these have proved fruitless. Nevertheless, gates have trebled inside five years.
In the early days of their exponential growth, the "edgy" factor attracted many. Uniquely, That Mob in Ruislip have created an atmosphere recognisable to the fan of the 1970s and 1980s. You know that already.
Fans fed up with being told to sit down, not sing, not carry flags or thermos flasks and being generally ripped off and taken for granted by the Multinational Insolvent Trading Conglomerates of the Premier League and Championship, are attracted to what they recognise as a traditional British football club.
With "foul language."
It goes without saying that, in an ideal world, quite a lot of the practices that attract some of the new support to That Mob in Ruislip are things most of their directors would probably rather do without. We don't live in an ideal world.
In the early days of their expansion, a number of the new fans were people with respectable track records as hooligans. Such fans were clearly attracted by the "edgy" factor and the air of menace which occasionally descends at Wealdstone matches. Some were agog that one or two of the things they witnessed could still be going on at a football stadium in the 21st century.
Recently, though, the newbies have increased more rapidly.
Large numbers of season ticket holders at Watford, QPR, Fulham and Chelsea are turning up when their "real" teams play away. Not much is known about a lot of them.
A discernible contingent of disaffected Hayes supporters has arrived. Ditto.
Ruislip locals with no previous Wealdstone FC connection are backing the team in increasing numbers. The club doesn't have a great deal of idea about them either, in spite of several attempts at research.
Evasive blighters, are fans.
As with just about everyone else who has got into the habit of regularly visiting Grosvenor Vale, they are almost certainly attracted by the partisan atmosphere, which includes profanities and "offensive" comments, even if two-&-a-half years of almost unbroken success has seen the "edgy" factor diminish to the point where it's rarely in evidence at all.
Some fans who've scarcely been to a game since Lower Mead departed have recently resurfaced. Several of these do not attend church on a regular basis. The "edgy" factor is rarely too far away from some of them.
Like Hendon, That Mob in Ruislip are trying to attract new support and "investment."
The demographic of the market being tapped is the same as that Hendon FC is looking at.
They have people on the case.
The universal view is that most prospective new "investors" will not be sympathetic to the "traditional" behaviour exhibited at Lower Mead and at the odd Wealdstone away game in recent seasons.
"Offensive language is not acceptable" placards have been plastered all over the ground.
Many fans - almost all the hardcore and probably an overall majority - find these insulting, patronising and somewhat comical.
It was extremely comical that these placards went up after reports of "homophobic" and "racist" comments in a game v. Whitehawk. Unbelievably, leaflets warning against "homophobic" and "racist" abuse were handed out at the turnstiles in the next home fixture... against Kingstonian and their arch-PC and easily "offended" supporters.
The alleged comments were mild in the extreme. The "homophobic" comments were no worse than I've heard when Hendon played Whitehawk and the alleged "racist" remark was misinterpreted.
Given that, as Paul Butler says, several incidents that might have seen rulebooks propelled by the FA at the speed of light in the direction of Grosvenor Vale have been efficiently swept under the carpet, this was laughable. It got the club some adverse publicity.
Promotion to a new division may bring unwanted problems and more adverse publicity.
The "Do not touch the glass! Do not approach the glass!" rule when Wealdstone are in town is well understood in Ryman circles. It is not so well understood by lairy locals elsewhere.
There are quite likely to be several Connie South clubs with lairy hangers-on that may well fancy some tomfoolery when a large contingent of Wealdstone fans turns up.
The first Saturday Jolly Boys' Outing will be to Gosport.
Risen through the leagues quickly, dodgy area, new followers, local pro team with an A-list firm.
Bound to have a few lairy locals in tow.
Gosport was the one fixture I'd have wanted tucked away on a cold Tuesday night near Christmas. At least Pompey are at home that day.
I'll probably be on an espionage mission elsewhere, but I'd like to go.
The board at That Mob in Ruislip doesn't know who a lot of their new fans are. Or which way they'll be scampering should things go off. They sent out a fairly detailed questionnaire to ST purchasers - and to other regular fans - two seasons back. In spite of repeated requests to return the forms, it didn't got much of a response. (No "offensive" jokes about literacy rates, please.)
And Hendon FC thinks it has problems dealing with Paul Butler.
Knowing their own fans is not something most clubs are good at.
Guessing the preferences of potential recruits to the terraces is more difficult that gauging the mood of existing supporters.
I doubt if anyone at Hendon FC has taken a poll of residents in NW9 to see what their views of "foul language" might be.
It's possibly the the most interesting aspect of the "No swearing" regulation: the questions of whether the Hendon FC Board knows very much about its existing fans and how confident the Hendon FC Board is that a target audience of prospective new fans is out there.
Will a "No swearing" policy produce a net gain or a net loss in attendance terms?
Having lived on Townsend Lane, admittedly more than 20 years back, I'd be extremely doubtful that a target audience exists in the locality of Silver Jubilee Park.
In fact, I'd be slightly more doubtful on the viability of Townsend Lane as a base for a "Community Club" than I am on the similarly doubtful viability of Camrose Avenue, having lived in a street almost opposite the site of Barnet FC's "The Hive" in the late-90s.
If both Barnet FC and Hendon FC switched codes and took up cricket, hockey or kabaddi, things might look more promising.
Almost all board members, at almost all clubs, have nothing more than a vague idea who their fans are. Nor do they have any more of a notion as to what those supporters' preferences might be.
Let's take the two "swingeing devastations" - I don't think that's too strong a phrase - of Hendon FC's support base since the turn of the Millennium.
Can anyone say with any confidence what really caused them?
What tipped the balance in the decisions made by so many regular fans to stop watching Hendon FC?
The first of these mass desertions came in the summer of 2001.
I'm not looking up the stats, as I vaguely remember them. Owing to bad weather and the Claremont Road pitch, Hendon FC played four home league games in the five months between October and February in the 2000/01 season. Eleven home league games were slated from the first week of April until that season ended on the first Saturday of May. (Only ten took place, as the Harrow Borough match wasn't played.)
The previous few seasons had seen steady average gates that were something in the 340-370 area. These were respectable upper-mid-table campaigns with good cup runs. With the team again in mid-table in 2000/01, several of the April home games attracted gates of around one-third of the normal attendance. David Ballheimer's reports are in the Greensnet results archive, for anyone who wants to check the figures.
In late summer 2001, it became obvious that a good 25% or 30% of what had been regarded as a regular and reliable fanbase the previous season had permanently disappeared. Average gates dropped down to 250 or so. This took everyone associated with the club by surprise.
Who were the missing supporters? Why didn't they return? Where did they go?
I don't know. I'd be surprised if anyone on the current Hendon FC Board did either.
I'd guess they simply got out of the habit of attending a football game on Saturday afternoons. Kicking the habit didn't take that long.
"Watching football - is it necessary?"
Probably not, Mickeygee, probably not.
The last season at Claremont Road - 2007/08 - saw an improved average gate. I think it was 274. The five games played in NW2 in August / September 2008 all attracted well over 200 fans.
I remember the Special General Meeting to sign the groundshare agreement with Wembley FC. I remember who asked the question in the Q&A, "What reduction in attendances do you expect as a result of the move to Vale Farm?"
I remember who asked the next question, which was more or less the same question.
Simon looked mildly irked as he twice answered that the Club expected no significant reduction in attendance.
I expected no significant reduction in attendances while the Club played at Wembley and Harrow.
I was wrong.
Again, what was viewed as a relatively minor factor, in terms of its impact on the habits and behaviour of fans, resulted in a drop of more than 30% in attendances. A lot of fans were presumably locals who would take a 15-minute walk to a football game but who didn't fancy a couple of buses or the Piccadilly Line.
I don't know that, though.
I don't know who they were, or where they went on Saturday afternoons once Hendon FC left Claremont Road. I doubt many of them ever came back. I doubt if the Hendon FC Board knows who they were either.
Which brings us to the attraction of Association Football for prospective "fans" who currently don't attend matches, or who may not even like football.
The astounding thing about the rise of football's popularity isn't the undoubted success the game has had in attracting people who didn't like football. It's the fact that possibly the majority of the TV Era fans - including those who go to stadiums - still don't really like football. They know little about the game and have no interest in it, other than as and when it affects their club. Those in stadiums miss the first ten minutes of the second half to buy a burger - or a prawn sandwich - and sneak out five minutes before the end to dodge the traffic.
They attend merely as a relatively safe form of ritualistic tribal affiliation.
Dulwich Hamlet have remarkably reeled-in a lot of these fish, albeit from serendipitously trawling waters that contained a strangely exotic species.
I doubt if any existing "new style" fans watching games elsewhere are going to switch their allegiance to either Hendon FC or That Mob in Ruislip.
One does not require a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Master's from Leicester University's football studies department in order to grasp the situation that, in a depoliticised and irreligious society, football has become the opium of the people.
In an environment where anyone showing signs of dissent from Equalitist ideology will quickly be ostracised from polite society, being a football fan is laughably viewed as being an acceptable form of tribal affiliation. It's harmless... at least to politicians. So long as a hundred or rozzers are on overtime to ensure that no harm is done.
Obviously, being a modern football fan involves submitting to just about every facet of the totalitarian mindset, but if it's in a stadium, rather than on the streets, the powers that be feel safe.
Cheer them to rafters. Excuse every leg-breaking tackle; every dive; every professional foul.
Abuse them at every opportunity. Shout, "Get up you ****!" if one of them breaks a leg.
For good measure, scream at the officials as well.
People feel comforted that they can still enter an environment where morality and the need for any variety of objective thought is not only unnecessary but positively frowned on.
That genuinely scares me.
Unlike "foul language" and "offensive" words.
A "new style" Premier League fan may switch his support for team to team seamlessly, as the clubs involved no longer represent anything meaningful in terms of a community base or a style of play. They're scarcely even a brand name.
It must be pointed out that Association Football is not an activity which the few remaining civilised "communities" in This Pathetic Excuse for a Nation have any genuine desire to be associated with.
Imagine the black population in this country was more than double its current size. Imagine that there was not a single black player amongst the almost 4,000 professional footballers. Hard to envisage, isn't it?
Yet one sector of society, representing around 7% of the population, has, so far as I'm aware, precisely no representation in the ranks of professional players. Around one child in fifteen in the UK attends a fee-paying school. That figure hasn't changed much during the lifetime of the current generation of players. Since Adam Virgo retired last September, I believe there isn't a single ex-public school footballer playing professionally in the UK. For most of Virgo's career, he was the only one.
Why might this be?
We are no longer in the era where a competent lawyer or surgeon earned substantially more than a footballer.
Why has no British Jew played professionally since Barry Silkman retired almost thirty years ago? There always used to be a handful of Jewish players scattered around the leagues.
Why are there almost no Indian professionals?
I'd venture to suggest that people from these sectors of society - possibly the only three relatively substantial demographic groups that still retain both a sense of identity and a level of self-respect - regard the business of football with distaste... at best. At worst, I'd say it was viewed with downright revulsion... regardless of Prime Ministers recalling sitting on the Gallowgate End in the 1960s.
Rightly so, in my opinion. There's no more morally or ethically bankrupt industry on this planet than football.
Civilised people may like watching football as a sport, but they don't want to be associated with either its infrastructure or its business practices.
There's a big difference.
Some members of these communities may enjoy a quick hand shandy whilst watching "Debbie Does Dallas." That doesn't mean they'd be keen on their daughter starring in a sequel.
Nor would they fancy publicly supporting such an enterprise.
"Glistening Glands Films"......... "In association with Sue, Grabbitt & Runne LLP"........ "& M. Bullens-Chaser & Partners"......... "Proudly present"........... "A Russ Meyer Production"........ "Caligula II"
I don't expect to see a sequence of title cards of that nature introducing a movie at a cinema any time soon.
If anyone thinks the reason polite society takes a dim view of football are centred on the language used by spectators, they're entitled to hold that view and to voice it.
However, I could double the length of this post by listing practices and conventions that are endemic in football that would be regarded as repugnant to almost all sections of society.
Many of those practices are not found in any other sport.
Arguably the most off-putting of these is the financial model football clubs adopt.
As I've said on Stonesnet - to the annoyance of some - "investors" in non-league football teams are actually "donors."
They are handing over a gratuity.
They have no realistic prospect of any return on their capital.
Club "sponsors" are basically lining the pockets of the seventh-rate mercenaries who turn-out for the 1st XI. Their money will end up with players, not providing facilities for youth or community football programmes. There are avenues through which money can be channelled by those wishing to support youth and community football. Senior football clubs aren't amongst them.
This is the only country in Europe where players at this level get paid anything other than expenses. In most other countries, many players at this level would be coaching kids alongside turning-out for the 1st XI. Not here.
This situation is why clubs play in their own stadia, rather than slot into a continental model where clubs play in grounds owned by the local authority. Local authorities will not hand ratepayers' money to the likes of Mark Nicholls or Jefferson Louis.
Arguably first amongst the other obnoxious practices is the way the factory system at professional clubs treats kids on their books.
A youth on the books at Surrey CCC or Harlequins RUFC will be put under pressure from the club to succeed in their academic studies. A youth on Chelsea FC's books will be pressured to drop GCSEs and go for lesser qualifications, in order to spend more time on football. Qualifications of Equal Merit, obviously... though no employer would agree.
As I've said, most of the cheating, willy-waving, lack of respect for officials and general behaviour by players on the field is not replicated by participants in any other sport. Those sports where players do practice one of the more unsavoury traits of soccer professionals - for example, baseball and Aussie Rules allow umpire-baiting to a greater degree than soccer - feature them as "stand alone" cultural discretions; not as an all-inclusive package deal.
Respectable people do not wish to be involved in association football.
Foul language is further down the list of reasons why than "driving whilst uninsured" was on Peter Sutcliffe's rapsheet.
As for quoting the FA's regulations on "foul language"... come on, guys!
There is no more unthinkingly orthodox apostle of Equalitist ideology than the FA. They'll do anything to curry favour with either the government or any self-righteous mob.
They won't actively pursue the policy until the self-righteous mob screams... which the self-righteous mob seems to have done at Hendon FC.
The FA's latest self-righteous regulation is banning all gambling on football by all semi-pro players from August 1st. Even though no allegation of match-fixing this century has involved players betting on games.
It's purely a "Something must be done!" move.
They might as well ban players from having a glass of wine with their evening meal as a measure to curtail drunken driving. Hendon FC has at least two players who bet on Ryman Premier games every Saturday and almost certainly many more who gamble on professional football.
Yet no player, manager or club official has raised any public objection to the draconian policy.
The same applies to the FA's self-righteous "Something must be done!" regulation on drug-testing. There is precisely nothing performance-enhancing that would be detected in a sample taken when a player's been dragged away from being with his kids at the park or the zoo on Monday morning, or away from a lunch with his wife on a Friday afternoon, that wouldn't have shown-up if he'd been asked to piss in a bottle in the dressing room at 5:15 on Saturday or 10pm on Tuesday. Yet the FA cynically abuses WADA's anti-doping code in an attempt to deter recreational drug users.
Hugely inconvenienced players don't raise a whisper at a policy that has no impact on its officially stated raison d'etre.
Anyhow, that's more than enough of a rant for now.
I don't believe a prospective football fanbase of ex-members of the National Viewers and Listeners' Association is out there. Either in South Harrow, Kingsbury or elsewhere.
In spite of the publicity the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has gained from Messrs. Stone & Parker's amusing musical and their willingness to embrace said production, I doubt the Mormon Tabernacle Choir have become sufficiently at ease with wider society that they'll triple Hendon FC's attendance by turning up en masse at Earlsmead to sing the Greens to victory.
If Mickeygee's tale of potential sponsors being either unaware of football culture or unfazed by it until encountering "foul language" is taken at face value, then I'm wrong.
In some ways, I'd like to think I am.
Somehow, I doubt it.
At the moment, what springs to mind when considering that possibly apocryphal tale is Michael Palin and his "Lion Tamer" hat.
I might be popping along occasionally this season.
I do like a spot of glory hunting, as Paul H. sagely observed.
I glory hunted at Maidstone precisely twice as often as at That Mob in Ruislip last term and I feel there'll be fewer glory-hunting opportunities in HA4 during 2014/15.
Margate look a tempting side to follow in the coming campaign.
May see you soon.
Well, that's that thread finished then. (nt)
Re: Well, that's that thread finished then. (nt)
Spot on, and rather amusing as well, as ever, AA.
I had things to do yesterday morning, but intended watching a game on the South Coast, in the unlikely event that I escaped on time.
I ended up near Paddington at 1:30. Ducking into the station I was surprised to see I was just in time for the last train that would get me to Burnham v That Mob in Ruislip. (It's a two-mile walk to the ground.) I'd had no intention of going to that game.
I decided to count the offensive words.
Thirty minutes in, there were six or eight "f-words", bellowed in rapid succession, at a volume between Fordhamesque and Butleresque, which ended with someone being offered "outside" in the stand.
I was not in a position to see the stand. Stereotyping obviously dictated that I assumed it was a Stones fan, though I was puzzled, being unable to recognise the voice and having done a lap of the ground in the first five minutes and not seen a single Stones reprobate in the sizable away contingent.
The guilty party was connected to Burnham in some official capacity. Dressed in cricket whites and a blazer and didn't look as if he'd be able to knock the skin off the proverbial rice pudding. He got free burgers for himself and a colleague at HT and seemed to have calmed down. Midway through the second half he was off again, screaming a couple of "f-words" and slating the chairman before storming out. Weird! No other swearing at all in from spectators.
On field? Two mild "f-words" from Burnham players and a loud "f-word" from Wealdstone's trialist keeper.. which was possibly justified, as the defence had just made David Luiz look like Franco Baresi.
I shall be counting the profanities at all games until the start of the season... though I have just booked to attend Rangers v. Hibernian on August 5th and I may lose count at that.
Here are some comic gems to cheer you all up.
Good, aren't they?
Now I do genuinely hope you succeed in the "No swearing" initiative. I'd quite like football as a whole to clean up its act on many fronts... but be prepared for some mickey taking along the way. "The Mongol Majority" was coined by a wag yesterday.
Re: Profanity count.
I'm hoping to be at the Rangers-Hibs tie on August 5th as well, how you getting up there?
Re: Rangers v. Hibs
I'm booked on the first train up at the ungodly hour of 05:30 on the Tuesday morning.
Coming back Wednesday evening. I think that's on the 17:30 from the Central.
£29.50 singles for both legs.
Still £29.50 singles available on the 05:30 Euston train and still £29.50 singles back on the 17:30 and 18:40 (last train) departures from Central on Wednesday.
I haven't sorted a hotel yet.
Megabus at £9 each way did not appeal.
What end are you sitting in?
I assume I will be penned into the corner of the Broomloan Stand, though I've not been to Ibrox for a while.
Paul will probably be in the Copland Road Stand, but may go somewhere else in a half-full stadium with creative pricing.
He supports Rangers. I... er... don't. As you know. But I will but him a drink if I see him before the game. I'll buy you one as well if you're up there.
Alan - drop me a PM via the Lowestoft forum with your mobile number and I'll endeavour to meet up either before or after the match...
...I'll buy the solids - you can do the liquids (or vice versa)
Alternatively, e-toko (at) talktalk.net will find me on my PC.
Re: Rangers v. Hibs
Think I'll be on the Megabus depending on if my mate's coming with me. Ticket prices coming soon for that one, reckon £15 should suffice, £21-£29 for league games at Ibrox against the Edinburgh pair, not too ridiculous, £19 everyone else.
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