DCSIMG

Save the testosterone for your facial fuzz, MK Dons vs AFC Wimbledon should be about football

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editorial image

THE 1980s was an era of majestic moustaches, writes Craig Lewis.

Think Tom Selleck, Lionel Richie, Hulk Hogan and legendary Aussie cricketer David Boon, said to have consumed a mammoth 52 cans of beer on a flight from London to Sydney prior to a victorious Ashes tour.

And the world of football was blessed with its fair share of facial hair wearing heroes – not least Liverpool’s John Aldridge.

The successor to another wearer of top lip fashion, Ian Rush; Aldridge blasted 26 league goals in the 1987-88 season, adding another three in cup competitions for good measure.

Liverpool’s regular penalty taker, he hadn’t missed a kick all season when he stepped up to the spot at Wembley on May 1988.

But the FA Cup is all about fantasy and dreams coming true. Aldridge’s penalty was saved by Dave Beasant and a team that had been playing non-league football only 12 years earlier won the world’s most prestigious cup competition.

Liverpool fans aside, the world of football celebrated the rags to riches story of Wimbledon FC.

And if the club’s latest incarnation should beat its arch enemy MK Dons in this year’s FA Cup, the ‘football family’ is likely to be equally happy.

I wouldn’t begrudge them that. The move of Wimbledon to Milton Keynes is controversial at best, downright robbery at worst.

The success of AFC Wimbledon and their supporters in building themselves up into a football league club is a fairytale to compare to that of Beasant and company.

But what is upsetting is how this fixture has once again shown what a partisan and vicious lot football fans can be.

Following the draw one AFC fan thought it apt to Tweet me to describe all Dons fans as ‘mongs’.

Among the Tweets sent to our newspaper’s feed were:

> ‘Plastic club, plastic fans and you should have started from the bottom instead of raping another club’

> ‘We’re the Dons, not your scum from Milton Keynes’

And let’s not for one second think the abuse comes only from AFC Wimbledon fans. After MK Dons beat Cambridge City 5-1 to progress to the Second Round, one ‘fan’ found it necessary to celebrate by looking forward to a game against the ‘numpties’.

Mongs. Rapists. Scum. Numpties.

Are these terms really acceptable? However much you feel you have been wronged, can it ever be right to refer to fellow human beings in this way?

Especially when these people are simply other football fans, who pay their money at the end of a long week to watch a game.

Yes, a game. Dare I say it, it’s only football.

Sadly this is indicative of the way a number of football fans behave.

Of course, most are law-abiding, peaceful folk who want to lend some support to their team.

But it is no coincidence that unlike virtually any other sport on the planet (rugby, cricket, athletics, American football) football fans are segregated.

Just look at some of the incidents in the last few week if you don’t think football has a problem.

> Chelsea fans booing Rafa Benitez from the first seconds of his tenure in charge of their club, all because he used to manage Liverpool.

> West Ham fans goading Tottenham supporters with chants of ‘Adolf Hitler, he’s coming for you’ and making hissing noises to symbolise the gassing of Jews in the Second World War.

> The same club’s fans being targeted by Lazio’s ‘ultras’ during an away match in the Europa League. Two Spurs supporters were stabbed.

And before those people who know me, and know I’m a Tottenham fan myself, lambast me for choosing two examples relating to that team, let me say that their supporters have plenty of blots on their own copybook.

Sol Campbell and Emmanuel Adebayor anyone?

So my real wish for Sunday’s game between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon is that football fans on both sides behave with dignity and respect.

By all means criticise Pete Winkelman and MK for the way the club came here.

By all means defend your side and your city against a football club that doesn’t actually play in Wimbledon itself.

But, please, is sensible, adult debate too much to ask for?

It would be nice if the ‘football family’ could stop acting like a spoiled child and show a bit of maturity on Sunday.

And if you can’t do that maybe you could use all that extra testosterone for a better use.

Give the game a miss and emulate those ‘real men’ from the ‘80s by growing a moustache – it’s never too late for Movember.

 

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