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Chaplain's Corner

Chaplain's Corner

By Rob Overfield
30th August
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Club chaplain Paul Barker's column from the weekend's match


Paul Pogba and Tammy Abraham are not usually two players that you would bracket together. One is a young emerging talent, while the other has acquired, so called “super star” status. Unfortunately, they are linked by recent unsavoury events. They have both suffered racial abuse on social media, at the hands of their own so called “fans”.

The abuse of both players came as a result of them both failing from the penalty spot. Please note that I have not said they miss the kick from twelve yards, as in both cases the shot was on target, but the ‘keeper made a save.

Both Chelsea and Manchester United responded quickly, to offer support to their players and condemn those who posted the abuse on-line. I am sure, for both players, failing to score, was punishment enough without having to suffer a tirade of social media abuse.

Those who dish out such abuse on social media are, in my opinion, cowards. In the days before social media any such abuse was carried out in person. Although this was still very unpleasant and uncalled for the perpetrator was likely to be caught and dealt with.

When I was at school, I was called names by my class mates. I was told by my parents, “sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can never hurt you”. In other words, just turn a deaf ear and get on with life. I'm not so sure that was good advice. You can tell when a broken bone is healed, but you never know if someone is suffering inwardly as a result of verbal abuse!!

Football can be an emotional experience, especially when you are standing on the terraces or sitting in the stands at The Jezzards Beveree Stadium. But we all need to be careful not to let our emotions over-spill into abuse, whether it is aimed at a player from either side or one of the folks in black. Remember they do have parents!!

Club forums are often rife with abuse of players and managers and many folks hide behind a false name. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but the folks that use this medium to express their views need to remember they are there for all to see. Thankfully our forum is pretty tame compared with some.

Jesus, during His time on earth knew a thing or two about being abused. Even when He was hanging on a cross He was mocked and spat on. When He breathed His last, those who were jeering thought they had seen Him off. He had the last laugh though, when He rose from His grave three days later. Some still mock Him and His followers today. I wonder what your views are on that?

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