As some of you will be aware the issue of the Aston Villa’s banning of the ‘One Stan Petrov’ has started to spread to the media. As well as online, it was discussed today on the WM Radio on the Adrian Goldberg show, where one of the ‘Villa 9’ called in, as did a spokesman for the club.
The club mainly went on to say ‘banned’ is a strong word, but alas, it is still not allowed to be unfurled on the 19th minute, to go along with the ‘One Stan Petrov’ chant. Of course, anything Petrov-related heightens emotions, and the club defended its efforts in regards of Petrov. I’m sure most Villa supporter’s will agree the club have done a great job in terms of supporting Stan. The banner issue isn’t about Petrov though.
The main point here is the banning of a non-offensive banner being surfed for a minute by supporters. Until a decade ago, no one would have blinked an eye. It’s just part of the fun of a football ground’s atmosphere. For other fans to have a problem with it, would be seen as very cynical and splitting hairs.
Now, since football supporters have become treated as and marketed to as consumers, they’ve started behaving like them, with their customer complaints etc. Fan culture seems long-lost. The club, of course, wants to control its environment. The result? Well, the words ‘sanitised’ and ‘soulless’ are words that many have used to describe grounds in the Premiership, compared to previous years. People used to go in the Holte for the atmosphere.
Of course, if you’re going to be surfing a flag around, even for a minute, you owe a duty of care and consideration to other fans. Now, I’m pretty certain that there wouldn’t have been an issue about this flag, if there wasn’t some needle between the Brigada fans and surrounding L8 regulars. You just need one Brigada fan to tell a L8 season ticket holder to ‘f-off’, to change the fun surfing of a flag, into a pawn that is used against them.
As the complainer who phoned into the WM radio show, said: “The complaints that have been made haven’t been entirely about the Stan banner…this business with the banner has been picked on, there’s a lot more going on.”
He sounded like he had another experience as a supporter to actually have a ‘live-and-let-live’ approach to a banner being surfed for a minute.
It’s the other things that certainly do need addressing. While the Brigada have a positive agenda in terms of atmosphere, they have to be careful not to tred on people’s toes, so to speak. Obviously, you can’t please all the people all the time, but it’s wise not to be abusive to them, if that has been the case.
The radio complainer was out-of-order to suggest on air that the Brigada supporters wanting to stand could lead to another Hillsborough and violence like groups in the 70’s… Hillsborough was about cage-like metal fence death traps, bad police management and a failure to learn from mistakes (as seen in the documents now released).
There’s obvious issues that need sorting out in L8 of the Holte. The banner wouldn’t be an issue, if we all got on with each other respectfully as fellow supporters. But that is for the respective groups of supporters and the clubs to sort out.
In principle, the banner should not be banned. Of course, it goes without saying, it should be surfed with consideration for others. But if it is banned, it sets a dangerous precedent to what you can and can’t do in a football ground. That’s why it’s important to oppose its banning by signing the petition (on the right-hand side, make sure you confirm by clicking the confirmation email that comes).
Don’t Ban the ‘One Stan Petrov’ Banner
PS – The petition had over a 1000 signatures. Please click the confirmation email you would have received.