***Warning re language used*** ***Long Read***
I had my first proper run-in with Stephen ‘call me Tommy Robinson’ Yaxley-Lennon supporters yesterday in the last place I ever expected to-Anfield.
I was lucky enough to be at the Liverpool V Everton Merseyside derby (unfortunately on my own as my brother couldn’t get a ticket). Liverpool have a player called Andy Robertson-a great left back and fan favourite. The song for him is chanted to the same melody the racists & fascists use to chant “Oh Tommy Tommy, Tommy Tommy Tommy Tommy Robinson” (the Andy Robertson chant came first FYI!). Some men behind me were replacing AR’s name with TR’s name when we sang AR’s name. I turned around and challenged them saying “NOT TR, ANDY ROBERTSON! TR is a far right disgrace!”…
..to get the stereotypes/cliches out of the way first-they were mainly skin heads. They were not physics majors. They were ignorant cowards, liars and charlatans…
There then followed the cliches about me “You are fat, the Welsh are …. etc”. Then one was a bit more inventive and said “You look like that Ann off the jungle programme!” To which I replied “And? If I do, and? Yet, remarkably, still far better looking than you!” This was met with confusion and no reply, but stifled laughter from others. Then another one went right up to me, face-to-face, shouting abuse and insulting and threatening me many times. I told him:
“I am not violent, but I will defend myself & others if needed. I have not & will not threaten you, but know that I am absolutely not intimidated by you. You must stand up to bullies and fascists like you and you don’t scare me. I couldn’t give a flying fuck if you beat me up outside, I’m not scared of you and you will not win. This is fucking Liverpool Football Club-we are anti-fascist. Look at the banners on the Kop! This is Liverpool, the most Left wing place in the UK. Fascists get kicked out! You. Do. Not. Scare. Me.”
The biggest shame I feel as a Liverpool supporter is that, 10 out of 10 surprised, no one, no one at all stepped in or shouted them down. Cowards. Shameful cowards. Then the main one said: “Free speech mate, I can say what I fucking like you fucking prick!” to which I replied “I totally agree. The consequence of your free speech is this-MY free speech telling you you are racist, fascist idiots and how dare you
bring my club’s name down with your hate & ignorance! THAT is free speech, too!”. Cue him squaring up to me again: “Do you come here every week, where do you drink”.
Then a steward came. He told me to calm down-I pointed out why I was irate, and these same TR cowards then all said “We were chanting Andy Robertson mate-no idea why he is like this”. To which I replied “Why the fuck would I be arguing with you if that is the truth?! You must be ashamed as you are now lying about it. Have a word mate”. He didn’t. He bottled it.
They were then hurling more abuse after the steward left and I then turned around to them all and said “You are all cowards. Chicken shit. You lied to protect yourselves, because you know who you are. If you were so brave and committed you would then proudly say you were chanting TR’s name. You didn’t. You’re fascist cowards!”. More abuse followed, and then something bizarre…
…when I explained why I made the stand I did: that TR has a different name, that he is a ‘wife-beater’ and kicked in the head the policeman trying to arrest him for it, that he supports the EDL leaders who are convicted paedophiles who happen to be non-Muslim and white, that he is a convicted fraudster, uses fake passports, is a violent thug, liar etc etc there was a short period of quiet before one of them said “You’ve got some bollocks, you have”. I look puzzled at them. They then all wanted to shake my hand. They left the ground early and I expected them to be outside waiting for me. They weren’t.
On the way out I apologised to those sitting by me for my language as children were present-but I made it clear I would not apologise at all for standing up to racist, fascist bullies. I found the steward and told him the same thing. I bollocked him for bottling it. He told me to “please take care outside the ground now”. I said in your report (if he does one-I did report them), make sure you say WHY I did these things and why I feel you and the supporters just saying nothing have bottled it and betrayed the very ethical fabric of this wonderful football club. There is a camera there and so I am more than happy to say all this again if needed.” The steward then explained he hadn’t heard them-to which I replied: “Why would I be arguing if they were chanting AR’s name?! You heard them abuse and threaten me. I had not threatened them or been violent in anyway”. He said “You called them fascists!” To which I replied “Yes, they are!!! How are they not?!” He then shook my hand. I doubt anything else will happen now…
So, Liverpool won, I won £4 on my bet (woo!) and I didn’t get beaten up by fascists. I suppose, all-round, a good day? But, no. I appreciate that that could have turned ugly, and I am not saying everyone should do as I did for their own safety, nor am I claiming any credit-that was a natural reaction, responding to live events. However, I am ashamed that these idiots support my club, and I am beyond shocked & amazed by the silence of others. You must never, ever, allow bullies & fascists to spread their bile and hate, unchallenged. You must take it as seriously as anything. That is very much NOT the same as allowing free speech!
This is what I mean about the rise of the far right, under our noses. There are millions of them. Please wake up. Please don’t be silent. Please do not make the mistake of thinking it doesn’t affect you. It does. Apart from football matches it would seem, because society is so fragmented now, we don’t share the same social spaces anywhere near as much. This means some people are really shocked when they see the far right-the right of the Tory party, UKIP now are fascists, no doubt, BNP, EDL, DFLA, Generation Identity, Britain First, National Action etc. We need to remove these cancers from society ASAP. That will never happen unless people wake up, speak loudly about it, and stop it’s growth. We cannot allow, what was ultimately allowed, in the 1920’s & 1930’s-we all know what happened then.