Jim Spence: Decent fans cannot stay silent

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Dunfermline's Dean Shiels with manager Allan Johnston.

The vile behaviour of Falkirk fans who threw artificial glass eyes on to the pitch to mock Dunfermline player Dean Shiels should be a bridge too far for all supporters.

Shiels had surgery in 2006 after losing the sight in one eye in an accident when he was eight-years-old.

Already two Falkirk players are suspended after being found guilty of abusing the midfielder in a match in October over the loss of his eye.

That behaviour transgressed the boundaries of normal competitive decency, and last week’s behaviour from some supporters went way beyond what is acceptable in terms of supposed banter from the stands.

Fools abound at every ground, albeit thankfully in small number. A cretinous bunch of numbskulls who think that they can get away with any abhorrent sort of behaviour, and often do.

They are massively outnumbered and yet decent fans who know that such behaviour is puerile let them away with it, and are thus acquiescent by their silence.

As the old saying goes: ‘For the triumph of evil it is only necessary that good men do nothing’.

Football fans, alone among team sports, feel free to indulge in abuse of players, which often transcends common standards of decency.

Folk who occupy a wide range of trades and professions in their working lives leave their brains at the turnstiles and conduct themselves in a manner which would lead to disciplinary action in their own workplaces.

In 2018 it’s not on.

Club’s must forget financial implications and hammer such despicable behaviour with bans. Passion and pride in a football team are no excuse for degrading and disgusting behaviour towards others.

Decent football fans have to make it known to those who embarrass their clubs, that such conduct isn’t acceptable.

Football officials have ignored some terracing clowns for too long. The sport isn’t, and can’t be exempt from the norms of decency and civility which everyone is entitled to.

It wouldn’t be tolerated at the cinema, concerts, or in a restaurant, where it would lead swiftly to ejection and probably a court appearance.

The game can do without those who have no idea how to behave in a responsible manner, or how to treat opponents, and often even members of their own team, with the most basic of human regard.

Karl Marx opined that religion was the opium of the masses. Today, football has become the drug of choice for many. The effects for some though are a dislocation of the senses. A blind, hazed belief, that in supporting their team, any form of Neanderthal behaviour is acceptable, from base chants to disgusting actions, such as Shiels was subject too.

Grossly offensive and vile personal behaviour have no place in a football stadium. Dean Shiels has prospered as a footballer while toiling at a very significant disadvantage to others on the pitch.

He deserves admiration and respect in abundance, not abuse, because of an accident which cost him the use of an eye. Decent human beings instinctively know this.

It’s hard wired into the DNA of most normal football fans, but not the mindless morons.

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