They are racist and that’s the way they like it

Good god. Chelsea fans (fans of the football club of that name) are caught on video on the Paris Métro pushing a black man off the train and chanting “we are racist and that’s the way we like it.”

The jaw drops. The eyes bug out. What are they thinking? What is wrong with them? What is it about being a Chelsea fan that requires or enables this? Football is hardly a lily-white sport, happily, so…what??

Police are looking at the video in hopes of identifying the perps.

The footage was obtained by the Guardian, which reported that the incident had happened at Richelieu-Drouot station in the centre of the French capital on Tuesday evening.

British expatriate Paul Nolan, who filmed the incident on his phone, told the BBC it had been an “ugly scene” and “very aggressive”.

In a statement, Chelsea condemned the behaviour as “abhorrent” and said the fans’ actions had “no place in football or society”.

English football’s governing body, the Football Association, said it “fully supports Chelsea’s position in seeking to ban any of the club’s season-ticket holders or members who face criminal action in relation to these abhorrent scenes”.

Sepp Blatter, president of world football’s governing body Fifa, tweetedthat there was “no place for racism in football”.

Lord Ouseley, chairman of Kick It Out, which campaigns against racism in football, said the fact the incident involved an assault on the man was “even more shocking”.

The Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) said the overwhelming majority of Chelsea fans would be “disgusted” by the incident.

Perhaps it’s just the aggression of football fandom, channeled into an irrelevant form of aggression outside the stadium.

Paul Canoville – the first black footballer to play for Chelsea – told the BBC he was saddened by what had happened.

“For me as a black player, and other black players, it would hurt, most definitely.

“It is haunting. It wasn’t nice seeing it, hearing it, at all,” he said.

Frank Sinclair, a black footballer who played for Chelsea more than 150 times, said the men in the video had nothing to do with his former club.

“They tend to move from club to club, they drift and they look at an opportunity where they might have got tickets on the black market, decided to go to this game to cause problems,” he said.

“Certainly, they’re not represented by Chelsea Football Club.”

Ah – if that’s right it’s the aggression that comes first, and the match is just a place to put it to work. Like real-life trolls.



  1. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    “They tend to move from club to club, they drift and they look at an opportunity where they might have got tickets on the black market, decided to go to this game to cause problems,”

    Given the price of tickets bought from agents, this seems unlikely. On the other hand, they may never have gone to the football match at all.

  2. Dunc says

    Football is the nucleus around which a lot of British gang culture is organised. These aren’t just “fans”, they’re a “firm” – quite possibly the notorious “Chelsea Headhunters”, who have links to various far-right and neo-Nazi groups such as the BNP, the EDL, the NF, and Combat 18. The problem is not nearly as bad as it used to be, when pitched battles between rival firms and riot police were a routine feature of Saturday afternoons, but they haven’t gone away, no matter how much the clubs may protest to the contrary.

    The links between football, gang culture, religion, nationalism, and racism in the UK are complex and multi-faceted.

  3. latsot says

    Go Sports. Supporting a team of some sort seems to either encourage all kinds of terrible behaviour or is something that lots of terrible people do. Possibly both. I’m always creeped out by fan reaction shots and pre- and post-game interviews. Those people disturb me.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m about the biggest geek you’ll ever meet. In fact, I’m such a geek that you probably *won’t* meet me. I care about some things far more than seems sane. But I don’t understand the impulse to join a tribe that requires the shedding of decency.

  4. sonofrojblake says

    The telling phrase in this post is “Chelsea fans (fans of the football club of that name) “. If you feel the need for the parentheses, or needed to read them, you can’t really hope to understand this. Jaw-dropping and eye-bugging are to be expected.

    From anyone who didn’t need the brackets, however, this is not jaw-dropping or eye-bugging. It’s eye-rolling and depressing, but not surprising. It’s a part of our culture, just like civilians openly carrying loaded handguns in public is part of US culture. They even made a movie about it – Frodo Baggins used to be a hooligan:

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