• Robert Gammon


I am not a prude.

Far from it. I swear like a sailor often and can be a bit inappropriate at times. Yet, I tend to hold back when around children, not because I think that they aren’t bastards, far from it, but I think that respect is due and that children learn when and where these things are appropriate. They certainly won’t learn that from me.

However they will learn it from footballers, and more importantly, their managers.

Another annoying problem that has come forth from the covid pandemic (yes there are more problems!) is that, without fans, you can hear nearly everything on the football pitch. Unfortunately that is often not the most pleasant thing at all.

Football is amazingly competitive, and professionals who put their careers on the line every Saturday are bound to get passionate. And that often comes out in the form of expletives and very rude words.

From a moderate point of view, this isn’t all that bad. People who are being passionate and putting themselves on the line and losing saying the odd F or S doesn’t come off as aggressive or insulting but emphatic and maybe, the best way to express dissatisfaction and anger.

But it is becoming a bit much when there are so many cases of players and coaching staff berating others aggressively that it becomes unpleasant.

I had the dissatisfaction of watching Charlton v Gillingham yesterday and despite my team losing again at home, the big thing that stood out was how much I heard Steve Evans the whole time.

The man was constantly barking at the referee or players, using the most disgusting language. It went from silly and laughable, to pathetic, to gross.

It wasn’t the small outburst from a frustrated athlete but the ravings of a horrible individual who is supposed to represent his club. The man has made a choice to be as rude and abusive as he can. That’s what makes it really horrible.Obviously Steve Evans isn’t the only person who does this, but when watching a game without fans, he unfortunately steals the show.

As I’ve said, it’s not really the language that comes across badly but the ause and the vitriol that is used with it. If this is unpleasant for me, I can imagine it’s harder for a Gillingham parent who wants to watch the game with their kids, trying to answer questions of what their manager is saying and why he is acting in such a way.

It’s not as if the abuse is necessary either. We only have to watch Rugby to see that professional sportsmen can hold back and talk in a respectful manner to referees, opponents and others. We can imagine they still swear after conceding a try, but they don’t abuse each other.

This isn’t because they can’t stand the words the others say, I imagine most of the incessant rants get boring after a while for Gillingham fans, the abuse just comes across as gross, unnecessary and indecent.

Footballers can be better, managers can be better, and they should.

Unfortunately Steve Evans probably can’t.