Over the last few years, there have been several instances – in Scottish football alone – where fans have been able to have a bit of ‘banter’ with each other on an issue involving one of their clubs, and that has always been an integral part of our game.
From things such as player names – Rafael Scheidt springs to mind – to the more serious matters such as club administration, fans have always been able to throw jokes around at each other without there being many consequences.
Rivalries, from the biggest in the country, right down to the smallest, even among clubs which aren’t usually considered rivals, fans take the opportunity to engage in harmfully winding up the opposing fans, including sometimes the players.
Here, I’m looking at a recent SDS survey which was on the Future of Hibernian FC, which was sent out aimed at Hibs fans mainly using social media, looking for their views on the way the club is being run and how the future is looking – in turn, this gave rival supporters the opportunity to also have their say.
Here’s some of the more colourful answers:
Q: Do you have any other comments or issues that should be known about or considered?
A: Wrong type of tea at half time
A: This year’s strip is disgusting
A: Can we just be like Hearts
A: 5-1. Why don’t you consider giving up, losers
A: Copy Foundation of Hearts, no diddy teams like the Pars
A: Too busy to care about the Hibs
A: Stay the same as you are, it’s quite enjoyable for the other half
A: Yeah. How do we stop getting pumped by the famous Jambos
A: Can we not be a big team like Hearts?
A: That Rudi Skacel is a decent player
A: I feel the pies could be hotter, with more sauce
A: Going down, going down, going down
A: Its aw aboot beatin the Yams. Farmer needs tae get hiz wallet oot tae compete wi the big teem
A: Down with the Jambos, you went down with the Jambos, down with the Jambos
This was only a small taster of some of the answers the survey received. Some of the comments were a bit too colourful to be published.
A lot of the comments related to Hearts – some to the ownership model, others just wanting to be a big team like Hearts, while several just wanted to remind Hibs of a recent scoreline – but the result of the survey shows the forms banter can take.
Some of the comments were Hibs fans poking fun at their own team, some Hibs fans making fun of other teams and some Hearts fans laughing at their Edinburgh rivals. The point here is simple – it’s all just banter.
It’s not only at a professional level this is happening, even at the amateur games, you can stand at the side of the pitch and hear some of the other people watching, giving abuse to the opponent’s followers and players.
Right throughout Scottish football – and football in general – banter among fans is taking place. It comes naturally to the fans just like kicking the ball does to a player – it’s a fundamental part of the game. As long as fans – and other organisations – don’t take the material which is intended as banter too seriously, and are able to laugh it off without becoming offended, then it will remain as part of the game.
Of course, it goes without saying anything racial, sectarian or otherwise threatening should not be tolerated, there are still numerous avenues fans can explore when having good, friendly banter with their opponents for a day – or over a period of time should the material involve the impending administration of a club.
Fans, media, officials and anyone else who goes to football matches or even just takes an interest should be able to see where the line is between banter and abuse. It is a thin line, but the most interesting topics are – love and hate obviously – people need to remember that.
Words – Blair Condie @bcondie92