An unwelcome storm has hit Barnsley FC this week, in the shape of the alleged abuse aimed at Billy Sharp, during the recent Keepmoat clash between Donny and the Reds.

Let me be very clear from the outset, I was unable to attend the game in person and I am not attempting to provide any witness account or third party version thereof.

Writing on subjects such as this alleged incident has also been an area I have vehemently avoided in the past, regardless of the cynical ability it may have to create debate and web traffic. But as a parent and football supporter, I feel compelled to add some of my thoughts and would welcome your feedback.

Latest reports suggest that a very small minority or an individual amongst the Barnsley FC support began a disgusting chant aimed at Sharp, but were immediately silenced by fellow Reds fans.

Accounts from the Doncaster Rovers management, directors and Billy Sharp also suggest that any offensive chants were not heard.

As I cannot provide a personal account, the story has already been widely reported and perhaps that it's best that I leave further detail to others.

Turn the clock back only two months, when Sharp appeared at Oakwell, in the season's first encounter between the sides and personally I can vouch for the warm welcome and sympathy extended to Sharp, by the vast majority of Barnsley fans. A gesture acknowledged by the player himself and one that was NEVER to be reported nor did it make any appearance on Forums.

Whilst this does not exonerate one potential individual or others, if they were responsible of such a sickening and abusive act, the earlier events should be seen as testament to the good will, feeling and human nature of the majority of Barnsley folk. The community seems to be being demonised.

This next concept certainly belongs in another post, but there are many questions now being raised in general about fan behaviour and the protection of players, even within our club itself, recently from Keith Hill.

Others have addressed the fact that imprisonment is in their opinion, the only solution for any guilty culprit, again referring to the Sharp incident.

Will we see an end to Leeds United's use of "Munich" references directed at Manchester United fans as a result?

The Celtic/Rangers sectarian divide is equally publicised too.

Both are highly emotive scenarios which can not be aggregated as better, worse or irrelevant to the Sharp incident or the wider debate.

Personally, I wish to extend my sympathies as a father, husband and a football fan to Billy Sharp and his family.

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Ian Wilkinson

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Anonymous said...

"Will we see an end to Leeds United's use of Munich towards Man Utd fans?"

What about your chav fans openly wearing Galatasary shirts and doing the cut throat actions to Leeds fans?

The police stood and did nothing. This also happened last year at Oakwell as I (a Leeds fan) sat amongst these so called football fans.

Don't have a cheap pop at Leeds United just because your football club has come under scrutiny for the way a few morons behave.

Anonymous said...

I attended the Barnsley v Doncaster game at Oakwell earlier this season and reported one of our fans in the Ponty End (row and seat number) for racist abuse aimed at one of the Doncaster fans.

Nothing was done.

I'm often embarrassed by those who attend Barnsley games and hope that the increased press attention will make Rowing (and others) take the behaviour of a minority of fans seriously and address it.

To the Leeds fan. Cheap shot? Explain that to the many people of Barnsley who have constantly endured your disgusting chants against the likes of Barnsley's Tommy Taylor and Mark Jones. Victims in different circumstances! Speak up Anonymous, stand by your claims then, but don't deny Leeds fans have not been guilty of disgusting, ongoing, mass behaviour

Anonymous said...

To Wilky, Nice try at trying to change the argument which is about Barnsley fan/s singing about Billy Sharps dead baby. As I said before it's your club that's under scrutiny not ours. Leeds United have been banning morons for years for singing about munich and other disgusting chants. In other words its time for Barnsley football club to act and not hide. I could go back to the monkey noises made at Oakwell in the days when Noel Blake and Vince hillaire played for Leeds but we're talking about last Monday.

I think you've missed the spirit of the article, and the references linked. IF indeed this did occur, it was an isolated incident, by a small minority or perhaps one individual, if reports are to be believed.

I do not condone the behaviour and stressed also in the post that in making comparisons, they were "emotive scenarios which can not be aggregated as better, worse or irrelevant to the Sharp incident or the wider debate".

As a Barnsley supporter, I felt compelled to extend my sincere sympathies to the Sharp family, reflecting my personal feelings, as perhaps many other Barnsley fans would wish to do. We're a decent club and a decent community!

Perhaps you could re-read the post? The real debate belongs to perhaps another, as yet unpublished post.

Roberts said...

It is quite apparent that, in an age of mass information & communication, many people appear to have lost the use of their critical faculties.

To the ranks of the gullible who believe everything they read in the tabloids, we can add the cohorts from twitter, Facebook, etc., who believe everything they read on the internet, particularly if it's been retweeted by some vacuous "celebrity".

Acting on a lack of evidence that would make a kangaroo court blush, they cannot wait to spill their bile in the name of decency, despite lacking either that or common sense themselves.

For in their rush to condemn, this self-opiniated & self-righteous mob do not care on whom they trample. As a result of their witchhunt, Billy Sharp had to suffer some muckraking journalist question him about a comment he could never have heard.