Beyond a Joke.

13 11 2008
Bangor City 0 Rhyl 2
Welsh Premier League

Let’s get the football out of the way. Rhyl deserved to win. Their players were bigger and stronger and arrived to the football quicker than the Bangor players. It was nothing special from Rhyl, just a more professional approach. Kendall didn’t have much to do apart from irritate us, well it is something he has a talent for.

Then we come to the other issues from the game. What had been brewing for the last few years finally fermented; there was quite a bit of trouble. In these two days of aftermath blame has been apportioned several times, it was Bangor’s fault, it was Rhyl’s fault, it was the poor stewarding, it was the lack of police. Then you get independent views.

Now for my tenpennorth. There is evidently a bigger crowd when Rhyl visit Farrar Road than for most of the other games. You can tell straight away that some of the people don’t come to every Bangor home match. Is this the reason for the trouble?

Not really, other local games (Caernarfon, Porthmadog, Llangefni) attract bigger crowds with bigger than average away followings (more then fifteen fans)  and there’s no hint of trouble.

Are the  extra people that come to “support” Bangor there to cause trouble? Maybe. Does this mean we have the reason?

In my view it’s not the sole cause of the trouble. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand may have triggered World War One but it was events before 1914 that created the conditions that led to the assassination having the effect it did. Likewise Tuesday’s trouble has it’s roots in the last few years.

Rhyl Football Club is like any other in the Welsh Premier League. They may be a bit richer now but they still rely on volunteers. Most of their fans are ordinary everyday football fans. For example, I was in the shop on Tuesday and a Rhyl fan brought some programmes in for me (two weeks ago I gave him some programmes) and we got on in a civil fashion. At Wales v England in May at Belle Vue several of us Bangor fans chatted amicably with Rhyl fans, there were no problems. I’ve chatted with Rhyl fans at Welsh away matches and there was no problem there either. We all recognised the rivalry but still got on a friendly manner.

 

Then you get the type of Rhyl fan that will stare right through you at a Wales match when you try to say hello, even when it’s clear they recognise you. (usually if that happens people say hello). You get the type of Rhyl fan that will start to sing anti-Bangor songs at a Welsh non-league international when you have the temerity to sing “Viva Les Davies”. The type that will encourage the easily led to develop a hatred towards Bangor, the type that will help to cause the trouble then take a step back and say; “Oh look at all of those nasty Bangor fans, look at them, they’re horrible!!!”

Like any good fable, they’ve poked and poked with their stick and the serpent has awoken. It’s taken a long time but they’ve done it. They’ve used the internet and they’ve sung their many anti-Bangor songs when they’re playing Bangor, they’ve sung their anti-Bangor songs when they’re not playing Bangor, they’ve taken their flags along to help support the teams Bangor are playing. In other words they’ve helped ratchet up the tension.  To them it seems that hating Bangor is normal, hating Bangor fans is normal. We’re scum this, Rock apes that.

They obviously bring this attitude to Farrar Road. It surely can’t be illogical to conclude that when people stand near Bangor fans and sing songs like, “We hate Bangor”, “I’d Rather be a smackhead than a Blue” and “Always Shit on the Bangor side of the bridge” this will annoy the Bangor fans. Surely they can’t be so naive to think that it won’t. Singing is part and parcel of football and songs casting aspertions about the opposition is part of that but it’s the sheer number of anti-Bangor songs the Rhyl fans sing that’s the problem (they seem to have more of those than ones of encouragement for their own side.).

Over the last few years certain Rhyl fans are trying to occupy the moral high ground. Far be it from me to quibble but the people trying to occupy the high ground weren’t quite so puritanical when it came to defending their humourous chants about sexual assault a couple of years ago (they were trying to unnerve one of Bangor’s ex-players). When I brought my complaints to their attention the morning after, I was condemned as a humourless prig, “Songs are part and parcel of the game mate” was the stock response. This is the level of logic at work here.

Now maybe some people came to Farrar Road “looking for trouble” but some Rhyl fans must face the idea that their attitude and behaviour in relation to Bangor may have played a part in adding a poisonous element to the “local” rivalry. I for one am sick of this whole situation.

When you think about it, hating people simply because they support a different team that kicks a leather-covered bag of air around is so illogical it’s an insult to anyone’s intelligence. Hating tossers, that’s perfectly logical and I hate tossers.

 

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