Football chiefs must tackle racial abuse on Peterborough’s pitches

Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
Thornton on Thursday column with Peterborough Telegraph's deputy editor Nigel Thornton - peterboroughtoday.co.uk
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Local football is not for the faint-hearted. Until you’ve been chased around a pitch by a borderline psychopath who, despite having a criminal record, feels picking up a yellow card has besmirched his good name, you haven’t lived. Or nearly died.

I write from bitter experience of the Hull Sunday League Division 12 (there were 30 divisions) and the redoubtable competitors of Gypsyville Tavern FC.

So yes it is a rough, tough environment but the revelations from my colleague Alan Swann about the abuse players from the mostly Asian team of FC Peterborough are facing on a weekly basis, shocked me.

The more sinister aspect to it – not just the sheer thuggery – is the racial element.

I’m not surprised it goes on, but the extent of it if the allegations are true is simply not acceptable.

The idea that young children, egged on by their parents, should behave in such a vile manner shames football in the city.

If true, the authorities must act decisively.

The football authorities despite high profile campaigning have never convinced that they are able and willing to tackle this issue.

Just look at the debacle with the issues surrounding the England Women’s team recently.

Back in the day, football chiefs were always keen to stress how hooliganism was society’s not football’s problem. And it’s a view we hear now in relation to racism.

I’m not so sure. Would the reported behaviour occur in schools, offices or even pubs and clubs?

Playing local football gave me some of the happiest times of my life and I hope my young son will find similar enjoyment.

But, I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I’m already fretting about what might lie in store for him.

And I’m not talking about late tackles from the criminally insane.

Figure it out

What a great achievement by 12-year-old King’s School pupil Abhiskek Sen who scored 162 in a Mensa test which, as that great philosopher Yogi Bear once said, makes him smarter than your average bear.

You may find it hard to believe but I too was a child genius with a particular gift for maths.

Mrs T doesn’t believe me. “If you’re so clever,’’ she goads me “why aren’t you earning millions?’’ before adding: “Something doesn’t add up.’’

She thinks she’s funny.

Rhubarb, rhubarb

Peterborough City Council’s handling of the Rhubarb Bridge issue has been a shambles. In the latest development a Freedom Of Information request revealed a report which stated a crossing would be less safe than the current bridge.

No cover-up cries the council. A spokesperson pointed out that although such reports are not routinely made public they are available on request. Surely the council is aware this issue is a matter of huge public concern. So why not make all information easily available? Somebody should remind councillors and officers they serve the public, not the other way round.

Diary Of A Bad Dad

Having decided that smacking was very much off the agenda, me and Mrs T were then faced with the dilemma of how to discipline our children.

Schoolgirl T was never really a problem as she has always been a bit of a Goody Two Shoes, but Toddlernator the Terrible is a tougher nut to crack.

It’s not made easier that every act of defiance comes accompanied by a cheeky grin and a chuckle.

With Christmas looming and us having no scruples – all’s fair in love and bringing up your kids – me and Mrs T have no qualms about threatening him with a Santa no-show if he doesn’t yield to our will.

He’s not bothered.

“I don’t want any more presents,’’ he told us with a shrug of his little shoulders. And we don’t think he’s bluffing.

Somehow I don’t think telling him there’s starving children in Africa will get him to eat his greens.