The online criticism of Chris Hughton took on a whole new twist earlier this week when it was revealed that a City supporter – ‘supporter’ in name only – had racially abused the City boss.
I’m sure I speak for all when I say the overriding feeling – once the initial abhorrence had subsided – was one of sadness. How could anyone – regardless of their views of Chris Hughton the football manager – stoop so low as to use the colour of his skin as a stick to beat him with?
What the hell has Hughton done to deserve that kind of treatment? Play with one up front? Persist with an out-of-form Snoddy? Adopt a set-up that is more pragmatic than the one Paul Lambert used?
Ridiculous isn’t it.
Hughton has clearly been at the heart of much debate of late and will continue to be. While I may disagree with those who call for his head I respect their views; the perception of him as a good, bad or indifferent football manager the only thing that matters.
While I haven’t seen the offending comment(s) I’ve been reliably informed by a member of that same Facebook group that the individual in question was firmly ’rounded on’ by other City supporters; which is at least heartening to hear… if not the least he or she deserves.
Alas the biggest disappointment stems from the fact we are even having this conversation in 2013. The Kick it Out campaign has done a good job in ensuring this issue stays in the public consciousness but clearly there is much work still to be done.
In my capacity as a Norwich ‘reporter’ for the Metro my raison d’etre differs from that on MyFootballWriter. On here I’m predominantly, although not exclusively, writing to those who have already been indoctrinated in the way of the Canary.
The Metro audience is a more disparate beast and so the blogs are targeted toward a more generic audience (or, as I like to call them, the uninitiated) thus making the task of finding differing content for both reasonably straightforward.
But today I make no apologies for repeating myself; racism in football is despicable and this message should be hammered home incessantly until the offenders are sick of hearing it.
Back in the 21st century, where normal folk watch football with a view to enjoying it while at the same time being civilised to their fellow human beings, City have the small matter of a weekend date with Malky’s Cardiff.
While our own start to the season has been rather more stop than start up to now – certainly in terms of results – the newly promoted Bluebirds have kicked off their campaign in a similar vein. Their early win over Manchester City surprised just about everyone – including themselves – and was the epitome of a honeymoon period combined with the bounce afforded by a promotion.
Typically form of that ilk has been hard to maintain and since that opening home game at the ingenuously named Cardiff City Stadium they’ve managed – like Norwich – to pick up just one more victory; their 2-1 away win at Craven Cottage the stuff those of us in yellow can only dream about.
Off the pitch life has been interesting; in addition to changing the Bluebirds colour to red, the club’s controversial Malaysian owners recently replaced Mackay’s head of recruitment, Iain Moody, with unknown 23-year old Kazakh Alisher Apsalymov. It was a move that put in doubt – for a few days at least – the Scot’s managerial tenure. However, for now at least, all is calm on the managerial front.
Last weekend Cardiff also suffered a 4-1 defeat at the hands of expensively assembled London opposition, although poor Malky was left bemoaning a misinterpretation of the rules that allowed Chelsea’s Eden Hazard to wipe out their early lead.
But having given Mourinho’s men an early scare – only for it to be erased in dubious circumstances – they too had to suffer a miserable journey home; one that no doubt comprised a character assassination job on the man in the middle plus a swipe or two at his assistants.
And we know how that feels.
Emirates, April 2013 springs to mind for starters.
Whether Cardiff will be able to translate that sense of injustice into a performance on Saturday remains to be seen and depends – more than anything – on City’s ability to bounce back from their own 4-1 reverse.
In terms of performance levels, Chris Hughton will be looking for his men to capture the spirit and verve of the second half against Chelsea and the middle hour at the Emirates. If they can succeed in doing that against opposition who – unlike those in north and west London – will be intent in stopping them play, then I’m expecting a City win. Anything less and it could be another tough afternoon.
In terms of striking options, Hughton confirmed to the media at Thursday afternoon’s press conference that Ricky van Wolfswinkel is ‘touch and go’ for Saturday, although Johan Elmander is now back in full training and will be available.
What he also confirmed is that his squad is ‘in good shape’, are ‘in good form’, and are ‘very conscious of the fact that we’re at home”.
Sounds like an entertaining afternoon awaits.