Albion fans slam Dispatches show about homophobic football abuse as misleading

Liz Costa

Liz Costa

First published in News by

The Albion supporters’ club has branded a TV documentary which showed homophobic abuse at games as “misleading”, adding that behaviour inside grounds is “better than ever”.

Liz Costa, the vice-chairwoman, was speaking following Monday night’s Channel 4 Dispatches programme which looked at homophobic and racist abuse at English football grounds.

The first section of the programme focused on abuse directed towards Albion fans, both home and away.

Ms Costa said: “We will never stamp it out completely but it’s a hell of a lot better this year than last – and it will be even better still in 12 months.

“A couple of years ago it would be whole sections of the away end directing homophobic abuse at us.

“Now – as you can see from the documentary – it is just very small numbers.

“The world is full of bigots so we will always get this kind of abuse, but it has improved no end.

“We used to get it every single game. This season I can probably count the incidents on one hand.”

The supporters’ club published a report last April citing all incidents of homophobic abuse across a season in a bid to stamp it out.

The report hit national newspapers and the Football Association took steps to improve their approach.

Ms Costa described its impact as “incredible”. She said: “It took us 20 years to put something of a lid on racist abuse in grounds. 

"In the 11 months since the report was released, I would say we have made five years' of equivalent progress in the fight against homophobia.”

She explained not only had the report helped remove the subject’s taboo status but also led to improvements and better links between the police, ground staff, supporters and rival clubs.

She added: “People used to say ‘Oh, it’s just banter’, but I think the report changed that. Attitudes are changing and supporters – home and away – are self-policing.

"When we played Birmingham earlier this season, one of their own supporters notified our stewards about homophobic abuse from fellow fans and that’s great to see.”

Responding to the documentary, Sussex Police said they were “proud” of their reputation but admitted more had to be done.

Chief Inspector Katy Woolford said: “This is not solely a policing issue. We work closely with partners and support stewards when complaints have been made.

“When officers become aware that homophobic or racist abuse is taking place, there is an expectation that they will take action, using their professional judgement as to what the appropriate course of action should be.”

The documentary features secret footage from a number of Albion games in which homophobic abuse can be heard.

During a home game against Burnley in August last year a group of supporters were recorded chanting “You’re just a town full of benders” just metres from a police officer.

A police spokesman said they would “consider” the footage.

Comments (10)

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1:24pm Wed 5 Mar 14

gazzamagoo says...

I would say the main reason homophobic abuse is dying out towards Brighton fans is because of the way we handle it. With humour and witty comeback chants. Opposition fans soon see that it doesn't affect us and they quickly give up.
I would say the main reason homophobic abuse is dying out towards Brighton fans is because of the way we handle it. With humour and witty comeback chants. Opposition fans soon see that it doesn't affect us and they quickly give up. gazzamagoo
  • Score: 17

1:38pm Wed 5 Mar 14

9 of us says...

gazzamagoo wrote:
I would say the main reason homophobic abuse is dying out towards Brighton fans is because of the way we handle it. With humour and witty comeback chants. Opposition fans soon see that it doesn't affect us and they quickly give up.
Totally agree. Added to the fact that we have created this national awareness of what the implications are when playing Brighton and abusing our fans.
Terrace abuse has decreased hugely over the years all over the country, which is great, I guess I'm lucky it never bothered me in the way it has others.
[quote][p][bold]gazzamagoo[/bold] wrote: I would say the main reason homophobic abuse is dying out towards Brighton fans is because of the way we handle it. With humour and witty comeback chants. Opposition fans soon see that it doesn't affect us and they quickly give up.[/p][/quote]Totally agree. Added to the fact that we have created this national awareness of what the implications are when playing Brighton and abusing our fans. Terrace abuse has decreased hugely over the years all over the country, which is great, I guess I'm lucky it never bothered me in the way it has others. 9 of us
  • Score: 3

2:33pm Wed 5 Mar 14

LongDistanceRunner2 says...

gazzamagoo wrote:
I would say the main reason homophobic abuse is dying out towards Brighton fans is because of the way we handle it. With humour and witty comeback chants. Opposition fans soon see that it doesn't affect us and they quickly give up.
I'm not sure. I think this just encourages it. The best policy must be to not respond and just make sure it's reported.
[quote][p][bold]gazzamagoo[/bold] wrote: I would say the main reason homophobic abuse is dying out towards Brighton fans is because of the way we handle it. With humour and witty comeback chants. Opposition fans soon see that it doesn't affect us and they quickly give up.[/p][/quote]I'm not sure. I think this just encourages it. The best policy must be to not respond and just make sure it's reported. LongDistanceRunner2
  • Score: -10

2:35pm Wed 5 Mar 14

PorkyChopper says...

I'm surprised anyone can hear any "homophobic" comments at football matches. In my recent experience, people get told to "siddahnanshaddap" for daring to raise their voice above a loud whisper.
I'm surprised anyone can hear any "homophobic" comments at football matches. In my recent experience, people get told to "siddahnanshaddap" for daring to raise their voice above a loud whisper. PorkyChopper
  • Score: 0

2:55pm Wed 5 Mar 14

fratsomrover says...

Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ?
For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here".
It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ?
Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ? For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here". It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ? fratsomrover
  • Score: 14

3:01pm Wed 5 Mar 14

LongDistanceRunner2 says...

fratsomrover wrote:
Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ?
For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here".
It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ?
Yes, both of these are classified as abuse.
[quote][p][bold]fratsomrover[/bold] wrote: Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ? For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here". It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ?[/p][/quote]Yes, both of these are classified as abuse. LongDistanceRunner2
  • Score: -8

3:15pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Brighton90 says...

Could the argus please understand the difference between Albion fans and the supporters club? What I am reading is an opinion of the supporters club regarding the dispatches programme. Some of our fans may agree and some probably do not. The supporters club do not represent over twenty thousand fans views.
Could the argus please understand the difference between Albion fans and the supporters club? What I am reading is an opinion of the supporters club regarding the dispatches programme. Some of our fans may agree and some probably do not. The supporters club do not represent over twenty thousand fans views. Brighton90
  • Score: 6

3:39pm Wed 5 Mar 14

fratsomrover says...

LongDistanceRunner2 wrote:
fratsomrover wrote:
Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ?
For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here".
It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ?
Yes, both of these are classified as abuse.
Thanks LDR2. In all honesty I think I've heard far more abusive comments at games than this. Our fans normally retort to such chants with " you're too ugly to be gay " . Is this also abuse ?
Maybe we should classify all humour as abuse ?
[quote][p][bold]LongDistanceRunner2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]fratsomrover[/bold] wrote: Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ? For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here". It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ?[/p][/quote]Yes, both of these are classified as abuse.[/p][/quote]Thanks LDR2. In all honesty I think I've heard far more abusive comments at games than this. Our fans normally retort to such chants with " you're too ugly to be gay " . Is this also abuse ? Maybe we should classify all humour as abuse ? fratsomrover
  • Score: 5

10:23pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Pheasant pluckers son says...

WOOHOO! wrote:
LongDistanceRunner2 wrote:
fratsomrover wrote:
Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ?
For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here".
It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ?
Yes, both of these are classified as abuse.
Seriously??? Is this a country that won two world wars.All we do now is pander to minorities.
So would it be perfectly acceptable for fans or supporters to shout racist or anti Semitic remarks from the stands? Mmmm, let's put your logic to this shall we, after all in your own words it's only pandering to minorities or is it just homophobic remarks that are ok to shout. Historically football always has been homophobic as most gay footballers rarely come out for fear or prejudice towards either themselves, careers, future earnings and endorsements.
How we still have a long way to go for equality for everyone even in a civilised country we call ours.
A lot of time is not just what it's said but the context in which it is said/meant in. I can banter at best with the next person but when someone's feeling get hurt then it's time to pull the reins in.
Why can't people say nice things, if not then say nothing at all
[quote][p][bold]WOOHOO![/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LongDistanceRunner2[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]fratsomrover[/bold] wrote: Can someone actually clarify what " homophobic abuse" is ? For example, I've always found it quite amusing at away games when opposition supporters sing " We can see you holding hands" or " does your boyfriend know your here". It's never offended me, but is this classified as abuse or banter ?[/p][/quote]Yes, both of these are classified as abuse.[/p][/quote]Seriously??? Is this a country that won two world wars.All we do now is pander to minorities.[/p][/quote]So would it be perfectly acceptable for fans or supporters to shout racist or anti Semitic remarks from the stands? Mmmm, let's put your logic to this shall we, after all in your own words it's only pandering to minorities or is it just homophobic remarks that are ok to shout. Historically football always has been homophobic as most gay footballers rarely come out for fear or prejudice towards either themselves, careers, future earnings and endorsements. How we still have a long way to go for equality for everyone even in a civilised country we call ours. A lot of time is not just what it's said but the context in which it is said/meant in. I can banter at best with the next person but when someone's feeling get hurt then it's time to pull the reins in. Why can't people say nice things, if not then say nothing at all Pheasant pluckers son
  • Score: -2

6:51pm Thu 6 Mar 14

To baldly go says...

Funny how all the above commenters cannot be found on the Albion part of this paper, and by the way we live in the gay capital of the country and are supposed to be proud of it, and as for people taking offence over chants like- we can see you holding hands, does your boyfriend know your here, get a life. But when gay pride comes to town it is exceptable for grown men to be having xxx in public in front of families and no one moans.
Fat, thin, bald, young, old, wear glasses, ginger, spotty and any other trivial thing you can think of will offend someone so perhaps we should sit in silence, oh and don't forget the w***** in black who we all berate when he gets it wrong.
And don't forget how we slate the northerners, welsh, scots, Cornish and those on the dole, gypsys the list is endless, but when we walk out of the stadium we are all friends. All this report has done is cause friction between fans of the same club and us not a fair reflection of how the majority feel.
I will be at the match Saturday and look forward to hearing the banter and will return it as loud as I can like I have done so for as long as I can remember.
Funny how all the above commenters cannot be found on the Albion part of this paper, and by the way we live in the gay capital of the country and are supposed to be proud of it, and as for people taking offence over chants like- we can see you holding hands, does your boyfriend know your here, get a life. But when gay pride comes to town it is exceptable for grown men to be having xxx in public in front of families and no one moans. Fat, thin, bald, young, old, wear glasses, ginger, spotty and any other trivial thing you can think of will offend someone so perhaps we should sit in silence, oh and don't forget the w***** in black who we all berate when he gets it wrong. And don't forget how we slate the northerners, welsh, scots, Cornish and those on the dole, gypsys the list is endless, but when we walk out of the stadium we are all friends. All this report has done is cause friction between fans of the same club and us not a fair reflection of how the majority feel. I will be at the match Saturday and look forward to hearing the banter and will return it as loud as I can like I have done so for as long as I can remember. To baldly go
  • Score: 2

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