Azzurri Gio...
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Recent incidents have put me in the horrible position of agreeing with the likes of Neil Warnock and, even worse, Kenny Dogleash.

The uproar regarding the middle finger gesture of the Kopite cheat is laughable, and brings to mind a couple of situations I've witnessed at Goodison.

I remember Joey Barton getting 90 minutes of tremendous abuse from the fans in a match against City. By my recollection there were more songs aimed at him and his family than there were in support of the Blues. I don't really see anything wrong with that as he rates quite highly on the list of the Premiership's most hated players.

At the end of the game, as he turned away after saluting the City fans, he lowered his shorts to the Everton fans that were still in the ground as he walked from the pitch.

Surely a comic gesture, certainly one that made me laugh, but to some of our fans you would have thought he'd knocked someone to the ground and kicked them in the head. Complaints were made to the police by these "offended" fans and there followed the usual farcical inquiry by the FA.

Funnily enough, when they were putting in their complaints, none of the fans mentioned the foul mouthed abuse they had hurled at Barton, obviously believing that a momentary flash of bare buttock was far worse than anything they'd done.

In another game, this time against United, the evil Neville brother was waiting to take a throw in when he made the fatal error of replying to some of the abuse being hurled at him.

The crowd went berserk. How dare he swear in front of youngsters, (after all, this was by the Family Enclosure).

I don't know what he said, but I'm sure it wasn't as bad as what was said to him by the irate man, sat between his young daughters/granddaughters, who stood up and let fly with every swear word he knew, and some he'd just made up, while his face got redder and redder until it looked like his head was about to explode.

All of his hatred, along with that of several other parents and grandparents, was caught perfectly on the television cameras for all the world to see. Then, these same people complained to the police that Neville's behaviour set a bad example to the young children around him.

It would be funny if it wasn't true.

I've found it really hard to defend players I hate like Barton, G.Neville, and particularly the cheat from across the park, but if we're going to give them stick for the full match, (and yes, I'll admit to doing it myself), surely, with the possible two exceptions of Carragher throwing a coin back into the crowd, and the infamous Cantona Kung Fu kick, players have the right to reply.

What ever happened to not dishing it out if you can't take it ?

I've listened to ex players and managers with their "holier than thou" attitudes all condemning Suarez for this latest episode, and once again the "players are role models" argument is getting trotted out. Why we hold up overpaid, disloyal cheats as role models for our kids is beyond me.

By all means worship them as footballing gods if they play for your team but, before pointing the finger at opponents and whingeing to the nearest policeman, maybe we should take a look at our own behaviour.  Are we actually setting the example that we expect of these professionals?  The example that we want our kids to follow.  And surely the influence of a family member sitting next to you is greater than that of someone you only see from the stands for 90 minutes on a Saturday? 


Comments about Right To Reply
Made me laugh thinking about Cantona's assualt on that spineless gimp - a definite 'top 10 football moment', along with Steve McMahon's '1 minute to go' rallying gesture to his team-mates just before Arsenal did the scum to win the league with the last kick of the match at Anfjord. As for footballers setting an example - not remotely interested in their behaviour unless it's illegal: let's expect them to entertain not educate. Final point - Gio, you liked that Barton pants-dropping incident, didn't you?!............ nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more x
Fred, Stockport, 10:46 AM 16/12/2011
Surely the real issue here is two wrongs don't make a right? Individuals in high profile positions have a resposibility to behave in a proper manner. personally i don't agree with all the abuse thrown out to players - I certainly wouldn't like it happening to me in my job! But sometimes players do things deliberately? Many fans hurl abuse in the heat of the moment; players often do it after the final whistle because if they did it before they would be sent off so in their case there is a degree of pre-meditation.
Scousedutchman, wirral, 9:11 PM 15/12/2011
You make the point well. Certainly in the case of Barton when his gesture was obviously made as a joke. Would those same individuals that complained of the players' conduct have brought the abuse hurled by their fellow fans to the attention of the police or the FA, I think not. Being a gob shite is fair enough up to a point, but there is no excuse for being a hypocritical gobshite!
Fitzy, Wolves, 2:38 PM 15/12/2011
Excellent point Gio. Just because somebody gets paid £50k a week doesn't mean they're devoid of emotions. I'm surprised they don't react in the same manner that Neville, Barton and Suarez did more often
Ryan, Crosby, 12:20 PM 15/12/2011
It's a fair point Gio. Well made.
Inchy, Bristol, 11:21 AM 15/12/2011
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