People in glass houses

People in glass houses

I’ve read match reports, Facebook comments and heard rants about how Leeds fans behaved and how they, as a club, should be ashamed; with some people calling for them to be banned from both home and away games. (Most notably, our own manager, Dave Jones, with such strong words – “Leeds supporters should be banned from every away ground until they sort it out”).

But is it something we’ve never seen before?

Is what happened on Friday night something that shocked us because we really thought football had moved on, or are some people using their bias against Leeds as a catalyst for ill-thought headhunting?

Does this problem lie within each and every club?

Aside from the Kirkland assault – and that’s just what it was – the things I saw on Friday night weren’t something new to me.

The fans’ surge towards the North Stand (and then later the South)may well have been in retaliation to a song sung by Wednesday fans. And the song in question may also have been in retaliation to a prior song by the travelling support. But it’s like trying to sort out the chicken and the egg.

You have to ask yourself, before condemning Leeds, have you witnessed your own fans doing this before? And if so, would you invite the same condemnation upon every Wednesday fan?

Owls thugs have previous

A few years ago at Barnsley away the Wednesday fans charged towards Barnsley’s East Stand, with supporters breaching the barrier and clashing. Our fans began this push towards the Barnsley fans and the Tykes retaliated.

At this point, I was stood amongst friends at the back of the stand; do I deserve to be lumped in with those fans that had tried to get at their Barnsley counterparts?

There may have been fans behind their goal watching on, in the same way we were on Friday, in disgust. They may have been sat with their children, just like those Wednesday fans who are now debating whether to return to the football.

On Friday, I sat on the front of the Kop in my season ticket seat and couldn’t hear either the alleged song about Istanbul, or the chanting about the disaster.

But I did hear the songs regarding Dave Jones and the Jimmy Savile chants that DJ also mentioned in his post-match press conference.

Again, though, is this something confined to Leeds fans?

At the time I was disappointed in the songs I heard. And in previous games this season, particularly Millwall and Hull, I have felt the same frustrations with opposition fans chanting things I have felt were, even for football, below the belt.

But Wednesday fans may want to get off their high horse now.

I went to Ipswich away in 2006 – the year that Steve Wright had committed his serial murders across Suffolk.

I’ll not have to enlighten you as to what was chanted at their fans, nor will I baffle you with what was said, affably, about Moors murderer, Ian Brady. When did distastefulness lie under the heading of “banter”?

When I was a kid, my Granddad used to call us “Sheffield Wednesday nil” in jest that we could never score. At what point did that turn into the sorry state we have now?

Trouble at Walsall last season

Banter has now become a “who can be the most disgusting, repugnant and repulsive” contest.

At Charlton away in recent years I’ve felt the worst I have felt as a Wednesday fan, as a fan of football in general, and as a fellow human being, to be associated with the groups of our own fans we came into contact with.

On the train, tube, and out on the street, continuous, unrelenting racism and vile, abhorrent abuse was chanted at general members of the public, not even involved with the “society” of football.

A lady was at the station waiting for her train by herself and Wednesday fans took it upon themselves to shout abuse at her and then stroll off as if it was her fault, and she was “fair game”, as it was football day.

After this particular football match, I went home and seriously considered whether to go to any more away games.

I didn’t want to be associated with these fans, and if this is what Sheffield Wednesday brought with it, I didn’t want to be a part.

It wasn’t all the travelling support. But the loudest are the ones that get heard, and as representatives of our club, they had left me thoroughly embarrassed, ashamed and downright disgusted in how Sheffield Wednesday was to be perceived by others.

This is what some Leeds fans felt the other night.

Some of the people I’ve met through the football are some of the very best people you could wish to meet, and are an absolute age away from the Neanderthal support witnessed at Charlton. Living in West Yorkshire, I know a lot of Leeds fans; Leeds fans that would have felt as I did had it been them at Charlton.

There were advertising boards being thrown from the top of Leppings Lane onto the fans below and, again, if you travelled to Rochdale last season, what do you think the ‘Dale fans thought, looking on to the boards being ripped from their ground to the tune of “We’ll do what we want”?

These people do not represent every person at the club. At our club; at Leeds; or at any club that we see these things at.

As of last season, I personally felt that a section of Wednesday fans had taken on their own persona – “we’ll do what we want” becoming the motto for this idiocy.

I hated it last season, and I hate it now.

I hate that flares have become something “we do” now. At Crystal Palace, kids near us were crying because an idiot had brought a smoke bomb, then decided they didn’t want to have it near them and thrown it in our direction.

A flare was thrown onto the pitch on Friday

I do not associate myself, or any of my friends, with these people, and we should assume the same stance towards other clubs.

We cannot condemn Leeds because of our bias against a local rival.

Because of a dislike for Ken Bates or Neil Warnock.

Because we hate “Marching on Together.

Or even because Howard Wilkinson left us and did ‘you know what’ with Leeds a few seasons later (well..maybe a little bit).

We can condemn the people that truly believe they’ll “do what they want”, and those people that show football, and football fans, up as the long standing (and untrue) stereotype.

They’re not Sheffield Wednesday.

They’re not Leeds United.

They do not belong to football.

On a lighter note, a couple of things happened on Friday that genuinely brought out a smile and showed the real meaning of footballing “banter”.

Kenny: Game for a laugh

Two individuals that have a love-hate relationship with Wednesday are former Sheffield United manager and goalkeeper, Neil Warnock and Paddy Kenny respectively.

At nine minutes gone in the game, the home crowd piped up with “Warnock’s a wanker”, a chant he obviously expects every time he encounters us. He looked at his watch and gestured to the bench, “Who had nine minutes?” as if they’d been running a sweepstake.

As the match wore on and the attention was diverted to Leeds’ keeper, Kenny, he bent over and pulled down his shorts, showing the Kop end his behind, before quickly pulling them up again as the referee turned around.

You couldn’t help but laugh, and the Wednesday crowd took the gesticulation in the jest it was intended.

At least there is some hope for us all yet.

The Young Un
Owls Alive
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @stayretro


  1. About time…… Very well said!

  2. I am a life long Leeds fan.. And I have to agree with you in this matter, I was sickened by the so called Leeds fan that hit Kirkland . There is a song that other teams fans sing ” we all hate Leeds scum” ? As a Leeds fan I agree we all hate Leeds scum theses people who do what they do are scum …. AND NOT LEEDS FANS

  3. Well done and thanks. We all have complete knobheads at our clubs unfortunately for us it’s these fans who always hit the headlines. The chanting about jones and Istanbul was over the top but no excuse. Always liked Wednesday myself and a lot of Leeds and weds fans need to get a life.

    • Very true, the Turkish song caused arguments between us loyal Owl fans on the North Stand and I for one didn’t join in, at the end of the day 2 English lads from Yorkshire lost there lives watching a game of football. The chanting and banter is to wind each other up and I genuinely believe not one single supporter actually meant what they were singing but was joining in just to wind the other fans up and get a reaction which they sure did get. A great Yorkshire derby will always be over shadowed by the brainless moron who will be getting his back doors smashed in by inmate Leroy from C Block!!! UTO

  4. Great to finally hear a non leeds fan talk some sense ! We are being condemned and highlighted because we are leeds united , there are many previous examples of banter and fan behaviour crossing the line , yet non of these have been highlighted as leeds vs sheff weds on friday night..leeds united witchhunt maybe? Below are many examples of similar behaviour which at the time was not highlighted anywhere near as much as the current situation leeds find themselves in…

    Two Birmingham City supporters in the Midlands derby against Aston Villa at St Andrews, confronted Villa goalkeeper Peter Enckelman in 2002, after his gaff gave Birmingham the lead.

    Two fans were seen gesturing in front of the Villa goalkeeper following his gaff.

    Birmingham were fined £25,000 for the incident whilst one of the fans was sentenced to four months in prison.

    In 2003, Queens Park Rangers were fined £50,000 after a bottle was thrown at referee Andy Hall following their game with Crewe Alexandra when a fan also ran on the pitch to remonstrate with the official.

    In 2005, a Stoke City supporter in the game at the Britannia Stadium attacked Queens Park Rangers goalkeeper Simon Royce.

    A tussle in the back of the goal ensued with players from both sides having to get involved to pull the duo apart.

    Stoke City went unpunished for the incident whilst unbelievably Queens Park Rangers were fined for two players coming to the aid of Royce in the ensuing melee.

    The supporter was sentenced to 164 days in prison.

    In 2006, an FA Cup match between Newport County and Swansea City was stopped after fourth official Alan Sheffield was struck with a coin thrown from the crowd that saw the official requiring seven stitches.

    The game was halted for eight minutes whilst Sheffield received treatment.

    The incident occurred after Newport manager Peter Beadle was involved in an intense argument with referee Tony Bates. Beadle was fined £750 for the incident, whilst the club were ordered to pay £3,000 by the FAW.

    In 2007, Tottenham Hotspur fan Timothy Smith was banned for three years from all football grounds and he was forced to pay £350 for aiming a punch at Chelsea player Frank Lampard following an FA Cup clash at White Hart Lane. Spurs banned the fan for life.

    The FA did not charge Tottenham for the incident after studying video footage of the incident.

    Leeds have also been on the receiving end in recent years following a Johnstone`s Paint Trophy tie at Carlisle United.

    Carlisle fans invaded the pitch after their penalty shoot-out win over Leeds in 2010.

    Leeds claimed that three players were struck including Robert Snodgrass and Shane Lowry

    Carlisle were not charged for the incident.

    Crystal Palace defender Clint Hill was assaulted at the end of the game between Sheffield Wednesday and Palace at Hillsborough on the final day of the season in 2010.

    Fans from both clubs invaded the pitch at the final whistle with Hill claiming Wednesday supporters struck him.

    Neither club were charged for the incident.

    At the end of the same season, York City players were forced to take cover in the stands at Luton Town after fans invaded the pitch after York had won the Blue Square Conference play-off clash at Kenilworth Road.

    Luton fans pelted the York City players with missiles as the players took cover in the away end for over 20 minutes before Police restored order.

    One Luton fan Anders Johansen, of Drobak, Norway was sentenced to ten months in prison for his part in the disorder whilst Luton Town went unpunished.

  5. Quality post. I was unfortunate to be in attendance at this game (in the Leeds end) and I’ve been left with the same soul-searching questions as you outline above.

    Whilst I can understand why supporters like myself are upset at your manager grouping us all together as one, I don’t think we have the right to criticise him for it, not after the level of abuse he received and one of his players was assaulted – I’d have been equally annoyed. I think is reaction is entirely acceptable under the circumstances. Most of us didn’t get involved in the nonsense, but we didn’t do much to stop it either. Makes us just as guilty in my opinion. Only when the “good” fans make clear that the behaviour of the muppets is unacceptable will this kind of stuff ever come to an end.

  6. The world needs more sensible people like you highlighting this matter for what it is. Excellent commentary. A Leeds and AFC Wimbledon fan.

  7. couldn’t agree more, refreshing to see a balanced view. However the idiots who patted the dkhead on the back are just as guilty..MOT

  8. Just wondering if you could allude to this in your article?

    Thank you.

    P.S – Apart from this blaring omission, this was a good read.

  9. Great Post !!

  10. Nice one Holls and I’m fully onboard with that peice. Unfortunately willy waving happens and it is deemed by some as cool and making your presence felt in vulgar ways – it’s a shame really.

  11. Excellent read and so true, thank you for be honest and speaking out. Most Leeds fans are like any other sadly we just seem to get a few more idiots.

  12. Very good post and comment!
    However I would have to add that the Wednesday fans for a long part of the game were chanting personal comments about paddy kennys wife and where she does or doesn’t allow intercourse to take place! Etc etc!
    Is this banter? Attacking someone’s family? Or previous family? This is personal just as was the comments ref dave jones!

    Great post though!

  13. Finally someone talking sense from friday night, this needs emailing to Dave Jones. Some of the chants were disgusting! What that clown did was disgusting! However, nobody can call all Leeds fans vile animals because of the minority. Nor can we (Leeds fans) call all wednesday fans ‘scum’ or anything else for the istanbul chants. Get rid of the minority, enjoy the football!

  14. Well written article with a lot of balanced thought gone into it.
    I was wondering if most clubs accountants would like Leeds fans banned? Such is the shallowness of our game.
    Good luck this season!

  15. These words are written with the exact thoughts that i have myself.I was sat in the upper stand on Friday night with my 13 year old son and after the excitement of watching Michael Tonge score a great equalising goal to then watch that moron do what he did to Chris Kirkland to then feel totally deflated.

    There is many thousands of Leeds supporters who like myself don’t live in Leeds but follow the club near & far to support the team & hate the reputation that the minority bring to our club.

    I think that the majority of good supporters are now going to suffer the consequences for the actions of a minority of hooligans yet again.

    Reading the various newspaper articles & radio comments since, by certain nameless people who seem to have an agenda of attacking our club whenever they can, should remember this hurts thle many true,loyal supporters like myself who travel to matches home or away to not cause any kind of trouble but get behind the team for the right reasons.Punish the few who deserve it not the many who don’t. Teesside White.

  16. dont tarnish all leeds fans as like aaron cawley. he wasnt even from leeds and was his mate got his ticket. the thugs been banned before for football related offenses. hes put it down to vodka and cider and cant remember a thing. yeh yeh . were not falling for that one m8. 4 mnths in prison wasnt enough. shudda been longer. il always love and support leeds but were not all thugs n hooligans but im sure most will agree every club has there idiots …

  17. Excellent post highlighting that the silent majority are disgusted by what passes as ‘support’ for your team. We all know that every club has its ‘idiots’ who attach themselves to a club with the sole intention of causing trouble.

    Of course, we will now get the punishment from a totally inconsistent Football League who seem to pick and choose which incidents to punish and which to ignore. Fining clubs, docking points, banning away fans will solve nothing merely penalise the innocent. It is a only tough action in the Courts that will send a clear message to these idiots that they will be hunted down,prosecuted and receive lengthy custodial sentences.

    The 16 week sentence given to Cawley does not send a strong enough message. It needs to be at least a year for assault, entering the field of play etc with a message that the next person to appear in any Court on a football related charge will get 3 years and so on.

  18. Good to read something intelligent & reasonable on this subject, reminder there are plenty of decent people supporting their teams without hitting the headlines.

  19. I am a Leeds United fan who lives in Sheffield and have done for 16 years now. The window in the back of my car has had an “I Support Leeds United” sticker in it for all of that time. It’s always been a source of banter wherever I have parked it and over the years it’s been left all over the city including on the Manor, in Burngreeave, Hillsborough, but it’s never been touched. Quite a few people say they can’t believe it’s never been vandalised in all those years but it hasn’t and I have never worried about it til now. So tonight I’ve taken it out, not because I don’t support Leeds any more – I do and always will – but because I know that with all the ill feeling going on at the moment, some numpty – equal in brain capacity to the Leeds supporting moron who whacked Kirkland – will decide my car needs a good kicking or the windscreen smacking in because I am “a vile animal” or “Leeds scum”.
    I am proud to live in Steel City and I am proud to be a Leeds fan but I am not proud of the fact that there are apparently a number of idiots and morons supporting many different teams who are dragging the name of football through the mud. I also resent the fact people in authority like Dave Jones also fuel the flames of hatred – in this partocular case by insisting that every single Leeds fan deserves to be tarnished with the brush of “vile animal” – whilst also proclaiming to be the voices of reason.
    Football has always been tribal, it always will be. For the vast majority of us it means banter down the pub, analysis of shocking offside decisions, fluke goals, diving strikers, bad injuries, terrible buys. We will sing bad taste songs home and away – some definitely need to be canned but the morons in our midst won’t let them go – and we will be rude to each other about our shocking taste in football clubs. There’s nothing wrong in that. It’s part of living in a free country but boy aren’t we losing those freedoms left right and centre now. I look forward to the day when my sticker can go right back in my car window and that the old banter of “What are you doing supporting that shite” said with a grin returns. I hope it’s sooner rather than later.

  20. Fully agree – excellent article – and wonder if you could email a link to your article to the FA. Sadly, I have little faith in their matching your objectivity and common sense when deciding what punishment to exact on Leeds.

  21. A great, balanced article Hollie and great to see how the vast majority of both Owls and Leeds fans have more in common than the idiots who spoile what was, lest we forget, actually a very good game of football.

  22. A refreshing article from a an opposing footie fan who hasn’t climbed aboard the ‘I hate Leeds bandwagon’.

  23. Well written article. However, as a copper, I Police the Leeds home games regularly. I see large groups of fans who stan around the away turnstiles, cordoned off only by police. Hundreds of them. Not just the typical hooligans, I’ve seen men being their children on their shoulders to goad the away fans, and older fans doing the same. The women are there too, all just to goad the away support. Not just the hardcore away fans either, but any away fan. I’ve seen old men in wax jackets have horseshit and vile abuse shouted towards them.
    I know it’s not every one of them, but this awful behaviour is more apparent in Leeds utd followers than any other club I’ve witnessed. Too many of them pride themselves in being scum. And this continues in the city centre before and after the match. More banning orders than any other English club- yes every club has their idiots, but Leeds have far more than their fair share. Horrible club.

    • Mister Policeman

      If you see all these ‘nasty’ horrible people doing these awful things why are you not doing your job and ARRESTING them?

      If you are not doing your job, why are you there?

  24. great post – but as a Leeds fan I am still very embarrassed about what happened last Friday

  25. Fair article. For 95% of Leeds fans its spot on.

    Although…I was at the last two Charlton games and didn’t see any bother at all!!! And that involved tube, train and walk to the ground. And the most hostile chant in either 90 mins was a ‘What the f*****g hell was that?’ aimed at Darren Potter by the whole ground as one when he sent a last minute free kick chance to equalise so far over the bar it landed in Millwall.

    I was also at Walsall last year (the picture). That was on Boxing day and consisted of our ‘big lads’ being tanked up and their ‘big lads’ who’d take offence to us being given half (literally) of the ground. The picture is about the extent of it, apart from a small pitch invasion after Lowe’s goal. dont remember anyone punching any Walsall players mind…

    Oh and at Palace the smoke bomb was actually quite funny, it was an unexpected bit of comedy and perfect in an away atmosphere and didn’t affect the game. I think the idiots don’t quite realise how long they last (the tears at Palace), and due to being in a stand of 7000 odd people on Friday they flung it on the pitch as it would have been out of the way.

    There’s a limit. Singing Istanbul songs was out of order. But so are the chants about Dave Jones. He was completely cleared 12 years ago, and honestly, how often do Leeds fans sing Munich or Hillsborough songs?

    85 seats, 4 urinals, and the shuttering on a kiosk is the damage repair bill on its way to Elland road btw. In the rioting north? Well someone didn’t wipe his feet when he arrived so there’s a bit of mud on one of the steps…

  26. Great Post!!

    Miss the derbies, theres almost the comics (as youposted about kenny and warnock). Real shame about what happened as i thought it was a traditional derby game to watch as a neutral! although i think the team in blue edged it slighty!

    It should be noted that the moron that dampened the game is in no way a sterotype Leeds fan…just a pr4t!

    Good luck with the season!

  27. Great post. At last, a common sense approach to a very old problem. I was ashamed to be a Leeds fan on Friday, but with thinking like this we can beat the ugly minority.

  28. What a great piece about Friday – as a Leeds fan I’ve been asking myself similar questions since Friday than you mentioning experiencing when you went to Charlton. Reading this has been like a breath of fresh air, it has cheered me up! Thank you.

  29. Great article, as a Leeds fan i felt ashamed of the idiot who attacked your keeper,I also agree some of the banter between our fans goes too far but It happens all over unfortunately.. I did think your manager was out of order branding all Leeds fans the same tbh but he was emotional I guess, I only hope Sheff Wed fans realise we are not all morons and we were as disgusted as you at the actions of some of our so called fans… Hopefully next time we meet the talk will be about the football… good luck on your forum…


  1. Swift Justice Handed Down Following Hillsborough Incident, But Is It Enough? | The Scratching Shed - [...] an excellent piece on Friday night’s incident and football thuggery in general over on Owl’s Alive which is well…

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