In his piece, Rob Holmes has made a compelling case at the level of the ‘victim’ of just why Leeds United supporters should cease the needless and unrelenting Dave Jones chants, and in doing so has offered some timely insight into the court case saga in the hope that at least some fellow supporters will take a more considered approach into tomorrow’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday.
While I agree wholeheartedly with Rob’s sentiments, I like most supporters hold strictly partisan sensibilities, and as such I also hold other concerns; reservations regarding the implications that such a continuation hostilities on the terraces may have for the club off the pitch in the longer term, and most pressingly for the destiny of our season on it.
I should make clear that I have no issue with the abuse of visiting teams, players and official inside the unforgiving arena of the football stadium, where after all no quarter (within reason) should be given in the pursuit of victory. If that means intimidating the opposition to the advantage of your side, all well and good; if that means singling out individuals for abuse on the grounds of misdemeanors on or off the pitch, then, great; as Rob touched upon, many players, the likes of Ryan Giggs, Ashley Cole, Darren Ferguson, Marlon King and Lee Hughes to name but a few, have all faced the wrath of the Kop for the sins of committing morally repugnant acts in their personal lives, indeed some lesser lights (Gary McSheffrey, anyone?) have been similarly crucified, merely for the lesser crime of simply being s**t!
To hell with the FA, UEFA and FIFA and their ‘goody goody’ notions of cleaning up the game – football is tribalistic, competitive and often trades on a degree of hatred. Sanitation to the ‘nth degree’ would signal another death knell for the match day experience that many of us are already mourning the passing of. However, the crux of the matter lies in the fact that in each case (especially that of Gary McSheffrey) the guilt of the individual is not in question. In Dave Jones’ case, a High Court judge has ruled to the contrary.
Yes okay, so he called us “vile animals’ – I GET THAT!!! But seriously, for such a significant section of a fan base renown for celebrating others’ hatred of it, to be still acting as if mortally offended by Jones’ remarks 6 months on, is prissy in the extreme, if not utterly pathetic. Many of these same people, are those responsible for the Jimmy Saville chants – ironic or not they may be intended as, the hypocrisy is clear. I dare say most of that number who find themselves rubbing their hands at the arrival of Dave Jones, ready to vent their indignation following the ‘offence; caused, are doubtless amongst the number who were proudly announcing the fact that “We all hate Leeds Scum!” was being sang with vigour, just 15 minutes into the Manchester derby, only a few days ago.
Chanting about Dave Jones doesn’t work on any level whatsoever. If people construe some half-baked excuse that he deserves the chant on the grounds of what he called Leeds fans, then they’re simply confirming that they’re incapable of taking the higher moral ground and as such are not one bit better than Jones…and at least his words were, at least partially in his defence, spoken in the heat of the moment, rather than with the benefit of 6 months reflection. Should others choose to spout off as they assert to be a higher beacon of knowledge than the British Justice System, or even worse, simply as they find it funny, then they are quite simply, idiots.
By all means, give Dave Jones stick tomorrow (if you can pick him out on in the West Stand), but why not just keep it in the bounds of moral decency? God knows, it isn’t as if there’s a lack of material there – have a go at his ridiculous comments trying to attribute the chants as being a form of racism, make references to his adultery, bring netball bibs with you…he’d simply have no comeback for any of those actions. It’s a football stadium, it’s a derby match: everyone understands the culture.
Step over the line again though and you can bet a fully prepared Jones will be rather more measured in his responses to the press afterwards, then there’ll be no hiding place, no slanging match to detract from events; another press field day where the name of the club and its supporters are dragged through the mud.
But hey…and this is the most troubling aspect in many ways of the whole Dave Jones affair: why don’t those of us who need to, just get over ourselves? Maybe concentrating on backing our team, instead of obsessively chanting about a man who has little regard for us? Is a figure who’s so insignificant and risible on the whole, really worth even having a second thought for?
I’ve been to the majority of Leeds matches home and away this season, and albeit the players have done little to inspire us, it’s become a depressing rule of thumb now that in the quieter moments of games, when the side are really in need of a lift, although the crowd may muster the odd “Marching on Together”, “We All Love Leeds” and the occasional “WACCOE”, more often than not we get subjected to the wholly predictable and depressing spectacle of supporters chanting again about another club’s manager.
It may serve well, many of those who continue to chant about Dave Jones to remember the predicament the club is in; by chanting about Dave Jones, we will not lift the team, it may represent noise but certainly can’t be construed in any way as support. If any side were to be inspired by the chants, it’ll be a Sheffield Wednesday side who are currently performing exceptionally well for the man in question.
Fail to beat Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United are just one poor midweek result against Burnley from staring head-on towards the abyss of League One again. It’s critical that it is the home side who are inspired tomorrow, not the visitors, that any attempts to get Dave Jones chants off the ground are drown out by other, more supportive, pro-Leeds chants. Mercifully, this has been protocol for many years whenever some drunken imbecile has tried chanting about Munich, so why not do the same for this?
If you want to grasp onto any remaining claim of the moral high ground, if you value the outsider’s perception of our club (at a time remember, when we’re still desperately seeking big name investors), and more than anything, if you desperately want the 3 points tomorrow and to provide the best possible welcome to Brian McDermott, then the message should be clear:
***K DAVE JONES! SUPPORT THE TEAM!!
Tomorrow marks the beginning of a new era in the dug-out. Hopefully in the stands, we can draw the line under another.
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