At last night’s League Cup match, West Brom v Luton, the away fans chants of ‘Tommy, Tommy Robinson’ were roundly booed by the Baggies fans in the Smethwick End. Some of our best contacts via twitter so far have been from WBA supporters. We hope that #FLAF is helping to raise the confidence of supporters in general who are sick of the far-right and are prepared to face them down.
Since the publication of the Metro article online our support has significantly increased – we now have more than 8000 on the facebook page. This has without doubt upset and unnerved the right, there is also a marked increase in the online vitriol, with the wannabe fuhrer Vinnie Sullivan even making a video appealing for calm heads and for DFLA members not to be ‘provoked’ by us. Is it something we said, Vinnie?
It’s been amusing to watch them try to figure out which organisation we are supposedly a ‘front’ for. Because they need to explain things in simple terms to their followers, everything has to be neatly boxed into one of their conspiraloon theories about ‘Anteeeeefa’ or ‘SUTR’ or ‘Corbyn & Labour.’
Of approximately 20 members drawn from various clubs to make up the FLAF Steering Group, there is not one, as far as we are aware, who represents a political party or organisation. We are what they fear, an organisation of football supporters who’ve had enough of their shit.
The reaction of the WBA supporters against the Robinson chants also prompted this pathetically soft statement from Luton Town CEO, Gary Sweet, appealing to fans to ‘leave the politics outside.’ an abdication of the organisation’s responsibility to promote community harmony in the wider community outside of the football club. It is basically a message that says ignore the outside world for a couple of hours in order that our company’s image is not tarnished by your bigotry. It might be better than nothing, but it’s not enough. It is management-speak. There is no call to action, no advice to report the perpetrators to the club, it’s a call for supporters to keep quiet rather than to challenge the racism, sectarianism and bigotry among them.
“Apart from the result, our experience was blemished, for the second away game running, by hearing the chanting the name of a political figurehead by a small number of Hatters supporters. This is hugely disappointing for us, as a board, because the individual in question wasn’t playing or involved in the squad or staff…
“Everyone at the club has worked extremely hard and will continue to work tirelessly to create an environment – whether that be Kenilworth Road, Power Court or any away game – for our community of supporters to support their team and enjoy a football match knowing that all prejudice – whether that be political, religious, cultural or racial – can and should be left for another day. This allows us to invite anybody into our environment without discomfort, disrespect or fear, and welcome any and every member of our wide community respectfully.
“Luton and Luton Town Football Club is intertwined in a rich tapestry of continuous change and diversity and, for me, the success of embracing such difference has always been ideologically characteristic of ‘being Lutonian’.
“We absolutely accept and respect the fact that everyone holds their own independent opinions and values, but we politely ask for you to temporarily overlook those views for a couple of hours or so when attending Luton Town matches in future.
“We, at Luton Town, are proud of the culture we have nurtured in the last ten years, taking the positive elements of our glorious history and blending those with our ambition to be successful, our desire to see our club fully retributed, our passion to unite our communities and our absolute, indefatigable dedication to see our town regenerated, resulting in the feeling of pride and prosperity we all deserve. There is a lot at stake.
“Please respect others when supporting our great club, please support the players on the pitch and please refrain from introducing non-football songs into our stadia.”