For example, one of the chants was "I'd rather be a Paki than a Turk".
Not very pleasant - whilst it may seem relatively harmless to some, the negative connotations of the term "Paki" within Britain should be taken into account - it is not just an abbreviation of "Pakistani".
The thing about this is that English football has actually led the way in reducing racism on the stands. The "Kick Racism out of Football" campaign has been highly successful, monkey noises at games are now extremely rare, and most fans regard it as utterly unacceptable, which is why the reaction (from the FA
I mean, not the fans - no excuse for them) to the abuse Emile Heskey got in Slovakia was so strong. Racism exists in all societies, but this has actually been a success story, doubtless added to by so many black players appearing for England or Britain in so many sports. British society has come an awful long way in the last 40 years, but unfortunately we cannot seem to get rid of those ignorant types who continue to plague the game, particularly when England play abroad.
The lightness of the sentence will doubtless be reflective of the "first offence" nature of the problem, but UEFA
hardly help the matter by appearing to place more emphasis on the pitch invasion (by about 80 fans - hardly a mass incursion) than on the racial element.
I don't know about anybody else, but I'm absolutely sick of this. The country's name gets dragged through the mud yet again, by those same cretins that always do it. I don't know, maybe more extreme measures have to be taken. One newspaper columnist made the point that it won't be until David Beckham leads the whole team off the field until opposing national anthems are heard in respectful silence, or if there is any obscene chanting, will the message get through. Maybe a message that England will automatically forfeit every match where there is trouble will do the trick - although that of course would just incite opposing fans to start it. Either way, and though it pains me to say it, something like this needs to be considered, or it is just going to go on and on.
Idealistic? Probably, but it has gone way past the point where it can just be explained away.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.