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Kick It Out?

Submitted by on September 20, 2017 – 7:33 pmNo Comment

(Image: AFP) By Johny Helzapopin

In a week where Romelu Lukaku has scored again for Manchester United, continuing his blistering form since his arrival from Everton, off-field issues have overshadowed what all United fans should be focusing on.

The Kick it Out Campaign contacted Manchester United in response to a song sung by a small section of United’s support referencing an over large penis allegedly belonging to the in-form Romelu Lukaku. They claim, rightly, that referencing the size of a black man’s penis reinforces a racial stereotype, and has been met with characteristically hyperbolic whinging from a lot of football fans about the various nuances of what is and isn’t racism.

Whilst not being perfect in regards to action taken against racism around football (Rio Ferdinand spoke publicly against the charity following racist abuse against his brother by the England Captain John Terry), Kick It Out has a years-long track record of highlighting and campaigning against racial abuse in football. Manchester United fans should listen to their calls for this song to no longer be sung.

My initial reaction to the song was to cringe, shortly followed by the second-hand embarrassment that I’m part of the same fan base that continues to sing such lazy tropes. I’m not going to pretend United fans don’t have form for this kind of song: Djemba-Djemba’s “12 inch member” is an obscure fan favourite amongst United away followings, we’ve all heard various songs about Ji Sung Park eating dogs, and fewer people will be familiar with a bizarre chant about Shinji Kagawa’s relatives bombing Pearl Harbour, the latter capping off an awful away at Goodison Park; David Moyes’ last game in charge. Littered with Hillsborough songs I left the match a good 15 minutes before the final whistle, such was the level of hysterical offensiveness some United fans like to carry themselves with.

I’m not going to sit and pretend I haven’t sung some of these songs and worst when caught up in the atmosphere at a game, but it’s time we collectively grew up as football fans. It’s not just Manchester United who choose to sing the most offensive songs they can to get a reaction from hated rivals; Spurs fans, Chelsea fans, Emanuel Adebayor, Liverpool fans, Brighton fans, the list goes on and on for supporters and players being both a victim and a perpetrator of racism, homophobia, and a litany of songs glorifying various disasters. This is a football wide problem and I’d hope Manchester United, with a proud and varied songbook, could rise above the childish and sometimes offensive to sing a tribute to our players that they can appreciate.

The defence of the song has come from various people online, hilariously exemplified by @MUFCsongs off Twitter. Quite what the need or the desire for an official statement released by the group (I suspect this isn’t a group but one sofa masturbator tweeting out of a box room in Hyde) today was, but they’ve written ‘TM’ in their username, so have placed themselves officially at the forefront of this shitstorm as spokespeople for Manchester United fans, whether anybody likes it or not. I would like to take this opportunity to say I will donate to a GoFundMe for someone to actually officially trademark “MUFC songs and chants” and sue the absolute bollocks off them for copyright infringement if anybody has the time to pursue such an action. Their incoherent rambling in the excruciatingly embarrassing official response has only served to highlight the wider issue of football fans not exactly being pioneers of political correctness (if I hadn’t lost a lot of the potential audience before uttering that term they’re long gone now).

In their rambling, incoherent yet ultimately hilarious response they point out other chants haven’t received Credit: Gordon Floodsuch a reaction. “Are the Ji Sung Park chants also racist?” Yes, yes they are lads. They seem to flirt around the issue of the fact that maybe we have sung problematic songs for a while but never actually make the connection. The official statement goes on to criticise Stoke City fans for singing ‘Delilah’, which is somehow some kind of anthem for violence against women, some no mark United blogger for singing about former United superstar Bebe being homeless and Paddy Power for employing him. At no point does this crusade for moral superiority contain any self-reflection. United songs and chants do manage to make a great point about white journalists not being the moral compass for black issues, but this is diluted by their assertion that the comment came from a fan on their page who states that “he was black and was not offended at all”. Quite how much faith we can put in this is up to the reader, but it seems to me that the likes of Kick it Out are more on the pulse of this particular issue than either white journalists or some of the more prominent internet United groupies.

MUFCsongs finish by saying that until Romelu Lukaku himself comes out against the song, thus publicly having to plead with his own supporters to stop racially stereotyping him, that we all should sing this song about his “hypothetical body part”. Now, I’m not a doctor but I’m pretty sure Romelu Lukaku’s penis is not ‘hypothetical’; the length of the penis in question is indeed the assumption we’ve all been forced to make. As a rallying cry though I’ve seen better.

All this is not a call to stop abusing opposition fans and staff. By all means, continue to abuse Steven Gerrard for not being able to win the league, or West Ham fans for being the most badly dressed tragic wankers that aren’t the England supporters band in the country. We’re supposed to be better than all this. This could be the turning point in United’s support that is much needed. No longer singing songs about opposition managers being paedophiles, going on the piss with club legends who drank themselves to death and left a grieving family behind to find their misery dismissed, or glorifying in the dozens of deaths of opposition supporters. I’d love it if Manchester United fans collectively went to Brighton and abused their supporters for being small-time meaningless little Englander bumpkins instead of subjecting them to the same abuse every other fanbase brings to the South Coast, but I won’t hold my breath for that day just yet.

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