Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Good News For Millwall - Or Palace?

The BBC website this morning seemed to be full of good news for Millwall.

First, on the football gossip page, came: 'Millwall are ready to offer a trial to former jailbird Fiston Manuella, who plays for Chelmsford (Daily Star)'. Would fit in well at the club is the obvious reaction; whether he can play football is anyone's guess.

Second, one of the main news items, namely that the government is considering early release from jail for some offenders to ease overcrowding. For Millwall this would seem to offer not only the prospect of picking up the occasional squad player but also the prospect of an early return for a number of season ticket holders.

However, on further reading it might not be such good news for Millwall - possibly better news for Palace. According to the BBC report, a Whitehall source said the justice secretary is likely to say some non-violent offenders nearing the end of sentences are to be freed early.
They were likely to be "burglars, fraudsters and drug dealers" but not "offenders convicted of violent or sex crimes". If it's only going to be small-time spivs getting out, the ranks of the Selhurst faithful are clearly the more likely to be rebuilt.

Stereotypes and our relations with Palace and Millwall have obviously been in our minds of late. And after some recent Charlton blog posts I had a look at Palace fans' 'come and have a go' site. The level of abuse on both sides is pretty high and the daft misconceptions of the Palace commentators is incredible (of course our side offers balanced, reasoned judgements).

This is all well and good as long as both parties accept it for what it is: fun. But where do you draw the line (no, don't ask Bernard Manning)? I've been reading Philip Zimbardo's The Lucifer Effect in which he revisits his Stanford prison experiment (and looks at possible parallels with the Abu Ghraib abuses). Individually Palace fans I know are fairly grounded and not obviously socially inept. But I'm quite happy to view them collectively as a bunch of sad, petty criminals from a totally undesirable part of town. (This line of argument does not of course apply to Millwall fans, who are just what they seem.) I have no doubt that if I were a prison warden put in charge of two groups, one supposedly comprising Palace fans and one Charlton fans, I would behave differently towards them irrespective of their actual behaviour.

I suppose I just hope that all the talk, the prejudice, all of Jordan's bullying and bluster, and the lingering ill-will between us and Palace does not get out of hand when it comes to the actual games next season. Maybe once the court case is done and dusted Jordan and Murray should take it on themselves to defuse the situation.

3 comments:

charlton north-downs said...

One of the reasons I have supported Charlton for over 40 years, is that I think we have some the best behaved supporters in the country, considering our location. Banter is fine, but when it goes to personal abuse and physical threats, then its time to move on, when participating on a forum .

Blackheath Addicted said...

Had to think about this comment as I agree with all that is said but assume that it is critical of the original post. My support for Charlton has also been sustained and encouraged by the behaviour (in general) of the supporters and the leading role that the club has played in for example anti-racism campaigns.

I would be horrified to think that I was encouraging or indulging in personal abuse, let alone physical threats. One of the motivations for the post was thinking about how and why I might not feel uncomfortable about stereotype 'jokes' about other fans when were such thoughts to be applied in a racial context they would be utterly unacceptable. Another was concern over the level of animosity which seems to be steadily building ahead of games against Palace, with a suggestion that maybe Murray and Jordan could take it upon themselves to defuse what is becoming an ugly situation.

If these sentiments did not come across in the way intended I apologise.

charlton north-downs said...

Blackheath you write very well and my reply was not really directed at your post, but more so at how banter can and does get out of hand on forums. Certainly there is no suggestion of verbal or physical abuse in your post and I should have made the intention of my reply clearer. Murray and Jordan do need to hold out the olive branch to defuse the potentially explosive fixture in September.
Regards CND