Qarabag Preview and AMN on Racism

There is a distinct lack of interest in tonight’s match. None of the usual chit-chat about Qarabag, tough tests and certainly no ‘we’ve only got to turn up’, which is essentially all we have to do. Yes, I know, arrogance is unbecoming but as long as we’ve conjured up 18 players, surely all we’ve got to do is be there at kick-off?

More than a tad dismissive, I know. I’m also aware I’ve just cursed this as a draw where we snatch a last-gasp equaliser. Probably thanks to an own goal or a repeat of Ostersunds visit to the Emirates.

Unai Emery announced that “we are going to use some different players with also players coming from the under-23 team and also it is in our planning to start with Laurent Koscielny.”

It’s a risk worth taking in his mind; a test to see if Koscielny lasts 90 minutes. The answer dictates whether we face Southampton with three full-backs as centre-backs. Or has Emery another stroke of tactical genius to discards at half-time?

Mesut Ozil might play. He’s in the 18-man squad but “I am going to decide if he plays tomorrow from the beginning or during the match in the 90 minutes”. Is Emery waiting on his fitness? No-one asked so we don’t know.

Putting the German into the XI tests his fitness and makes not one blind bit of difference to whether he starts on Sunday. He won’t, for what it’s worth, given the defenders who are missing. Were Arsene in charge, we might go to St Mary’s and try to win 6 – 4. Unai is a different beast and will be more than happy with a 1 – 0 win. His midfield will be the ‘hard workers’ this weekend, not the ‘artistes’.

Doesn’t Make It Alright

The disturbing aspect of yesterday’s press conferences came from Ainsley Maitland-Niles. There is no surprise that the despicable evil of racism features in his life. That he highlighted an incident in youth football makes it all the more unsettling for the outsider looking in.

Maitland-Niles said:

t was pretty much similar to what Raheem got to be honest. I literally went out to pick up the ball for a throw-in and there was a bit of racial abuse behind me. What can I do? I just got on with the game, as he did.

But that is not the truly disturbing part, which is not to downplay the act itself. It is Maitland-Niles next words which are equally troubling:

I did [report it], but nothing was done about it. I guess I just had to move on from it and become stronger from that.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was 12-years-old when the incident took place.

Think about that. At an age when the worries of the world should be as far away as possible, the ugliness it harbours enshrouded him.

There are no words to describe this. At a youth match, someone felt it right and proper to racially abuse a 12-year-old boy. I was going to talk about ‘right minds’ but it’s a pointless phrase. Racists do not have a ‘right mind’.

Hatred is a pointless emotion, wasted energy. If you hate someone on the basis of the colour of their race, creed or colour, take a good look at yourself. What kind of life philosophy is that? What will it achieve?

To be out of step with the rest of society is sometimes a good thing. In this instance, it is to be on the wrong side of history, no matter what your false prophets tell you.

A Message To You

The outrage which met the abuse Raheem Sterling restores some faith that football’s intentions are good in eradicating racism.

However, what message did the authorities send to a 12-year-old boy? It wasn’t one of peace, love and understanding, that’s for sure. It wasn’t one of taking the problem seriously. And it is certainly not one which confirmed a determined commitment to eradicating the problem from the game.

Things may have changed in the last six years and attitudes within the national associations altered to embrace the work of Kick It Out. Yet they reinforced the idea in a young boy that nobody cares. That can’t be right nor can it be allowed to happen again.

The responsibility isn’t just on the authorities; it is upon us all. They must do their bit, we ours. Racism is utterly unacceptable in any way, shape or form and we must do what we can to stop it.

’til Tomorrow.

31 thoughts on “Qarabag Preview and AMN on Racism

  1. Big hand Yogi.
    What football?

    I think it’s a master stroke of Emery to put Ainsley up there ,front and centre. He now HAS been heard, and IS being listened to ,by millions.

    The stuff about, what Emery wants him to improve, that was not for the press to know…. also brilliant. And may be more than marginally related.

    “Believe in yourself, express yourself. Be STRONG . ” I might venture…He’s shown everything else before.

  2. Good post, but nothing new in that.

    Racism, is a word, I no longer understand the definition. It seems to cover just about everything. To be seen as racist any valid points made are rubbished, because you are racist. Personally I would prefer the use of colour prejudice and abuse. As an example the government here declared Irish jokes as racist, so now it’s a feller from Cork or Kerry etc, and I have yet to meet anyone who is genuinely horrified at an Irish joke as being racist. That said I watched a Nigerian woman comedian on BBC2 during the summer, she was very funny I thought, but her material would/ could have been deemed racist had a white woman used it. Lastly has any “black” person been charged with racism or is it a whites only crime? Picking on someone purely based on colour is bullying something I abhor, in the school yard, work place or by government. Rant over.

    Tonight be good to see the young guns going for it, hopefully a good game.

  3. Michael,

    You are speaking out of both sides of your mouth.
    In this over politically correct era some people are super sensitive, but racism isn’t acceptable whatever the colour of your skin or nationality.

  4. Buckagh

    How? I speak as I see…and I don’t believe there are many people who haven’t heard of the race card…not everyone of course, but enough.

  5. Precisely ferkov, what Emery did was nothing short of genius! He gave AMN the platform to tell his story. Unfortunately prejudice is part of human nature and will never truly be eradicated. But if we can get the authorities, those that are suppose to govern the game we all love, to act rather than sweeping it under the carpet. We can bring justice and retribution to those who would tarnish this great sport of ours with negativity.

  6. Yes Michael, some people do play the “race card”. I’m sure there’s plenty of people who feign discrimination of one sort or another. Why is it that the “race card” is of particular interest to you? Casual racism is also unacceptable in today’s society. I’m also of colour and I find it disgusting when someone would abuse their position in society for further gain by feigning discrimination. It’s unacceptable. I’m also hugely aware of reverse racism/prejudice against Caucasian’s from people of colour. And you’re right it’s not widely recognised. In the ideal world we wouldn’t look at what is different about each other but accept each other for who we are as people. Education, good parenting, social economics and awareness can aid us in getting to the right place. But casual racism won’t!

  7. Hello all , thanks for the post. Touchy subjects, you best believe the horrible racial abuse is still happening at all levels, in all sports across the globe. It’s really sad, but i can only imagine how things go here in the southern states here across the pond. It doesnt help that our president is a rich white racist teenager.

    Sometimes in modern days , we get used to how things are, people generally are more knowledgeable and tolerant. Still the ugly racism card pops up and reminds us , that form of hatred is bigotry is not dead. We just need to do what we can to promote peace.

    Good on maitland niles too, have to be proud of him to come up and speak. I think for these pro athletes it has to help them to know, hey i’m the one (even 12 year old) out here on the field performing and competeting. It was probably some chubby meat pie stuffing asshole shouting racist terms from the stands. If they can tune it out, more power to them and they are on well on their way to global football. You will have 60,000 fans booing and yelling at you, need to be able to tune that out and focus!

  8. HNDS

    My last word on this. The “race card” was an example, nothing more. While there have been 2 replies, it really appears to be a word which covers all and everyone having their own definition, which is what I said to begin with.

  9. C,

    That’s a shame for our potency, but we already know how good he is. Gives Willock more time to shine maybe, before Mesut has a limber up.?

  10. C,

    Team news

    Arsenal: Martinez, Jenkinson, Sokratis, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Elneny, Ozil, Nketiah, Saka, Lacazette

    Subs: Iliev, Mkhitaryan, Monreal, Medley, Guendouzi, Gilmour, John-Jules

    But how will he set them up?

  11. Team news and I didn’t think Emery would but he did:

    Arsenal: Martinez, Jenkinson, Sokratis, Koscielny, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Elneny, Ozil, Nketiah, Saka, Lacazette

  12. ferkov,

    433 Im thinking:

    Martinez
    Jenk—Sokaritis—Kos—-Maitland-Niles
    Willock—-Elneny—Ozil
    Saka—Lacazette—Nketiah

    With or maybe a 4231, but its clear he wants them to attack relentlessly.

  13. C,

    Bloody hope they do.
    Is Ozil ready to do some midfield grafting? Micki on for him at HT then. Unless we’re having a worldly.

  14. Somnolent stuff. Are we that stunned to be on the point of ending a first half in the lead? If I’d taken an evening and paid to watch this I’d be disappointed. If you’re going to be in training ground mode, at least make it fun.

  15. Jonnygunner,

    Yes, Saka plays with real swagger and plenty skill.
    AMN much happier on the right of midfield now.
    Elneny the Duracell bunny.
    Great to see Kos so happy to have played 70 mins – grinning from ear to ear as he comes off – not many do that.

  16. Oh that was a brilliant little move and cross by Saka, met by a smart low header into the next from Nketiah…but offside. Lovely quickening of the pace.

  17. Thank you Danny Welbeck….but will Saka please step up.
    Ainsley-cool as a cucumber-he’s lost nothing at all.
    Eddie…will be brilliant for us-but almost needed a goal TOO much tonight.
    Ozil…well…sorry C.
    Chelsea…racist bastards.

  18. Making Ozil play almost 90 minutes in a game like today is almost like emery giving him a double barrel middle finger salute. I am sure Mesut was not very happy

  19. C,

    Yes he is and although I only watched part of the game Ozil is just so classy. 2nd gear indeed.

    However he is also being managed now. No special treatment. No 2nd gear allowed so what did Emery learn? A mexican stand off. I am fit. No back spasm. PR achieved.

    I think he is a wonderful player. At the level we aspire to be he can unlock doors. Impact sub role perhaps after the hard graft is done.

    Re Saka great to hear MOM. Shame he could not take that opportunity from Eddie. Next time he will guide the keeper’s dive not just blast it. Which is why Bill values experience over youth. Or worse he will never learn the knack.

    Don’t you learn to finish at 12 years old? I guess he is a winger not a striker…

  20. Arsetralian:
    C,

    Yes he is and although I only watched part of the game Ozil is just so classy. 2nd gear indeed.

    However he is also being managed now. No special treatment. No 2nd gear allowed so what did Emery learn? A mexican stand off. I am fit. No back spasm. PR achieved.

    I think he is a wonderful player. At the level we aspire to be he can unlock doors. Impact sub role perhaps after the hard graft is done.

    Re Saka great to hear MOM. Shame he could not take that opportunity from Eddie. Next time he will guide the keeper’s dive not just blast it. Which is why Bill values experience over youth. Or worse he will never learn the knack.

    Don’t you learn to finish at 12 years old? I guess he is a winger not a striker…

    Unfair assessment of him there mate-you May learn many things at 12,but spend the following years perfecting your craft.Wasn’t Henry ‘just a winger?’

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