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No Surrender To The EDL

Around twenty years ago when I first started attending games at my home club I chose the London Road terrace as my place to stand and observe the match that was taking place before me. The terrace was usually scarcely occupied and those who were in attendance around me were mostly wizened old men or women who would occasionally grumble their discontent at the linesmen or opposition players passing within earshot but rarely with any real form of venom – more the sort of disgruntlement a person may have for a late bus or a canceled episode of Eastenders. Harmless really.

I found a particular spot on that terrace and, regardless of results or performances, decided it was ‘lucky’. I would arrive at the game an hour before kick-off, purchase my programme, and home in on that area that, in my head, belonged to me. The area that – as long as I was within the general vicinity – would help spur our courageous Silkmen through to victory.

Fast Forward Fifteen Years.

The “Macclesfield division” of the EDL used to have a blog that was as garishly unappetising as it was contradictory and incomprehensible. I say “used to” because the last new content on there was posted on the first of December 2010 – presumably because the struggle those behind it were having with the English language wasn’t worth the effort (sample quotes – “we couldn’t care weather they are black,white,asian”, “no wonder their are thousands of angry men and women”, “a decision we was later to regret but was not to know at the time.”) The irony that a group of people who love being English so much can’t be bothered to learn the Basic Rules of the language is particularly delicious.

Elsewhere they complained that the police “are not happy that the EDL have a following from Macc and for some reason think Macc has a hooligan problem” shortly after casually mentioning that “one of the lads had been in court after fighting broke out between Macc and Stockport lads”. Meanwhile their unyielding support for the side (“Macc & Proud”) was portrayed with unflinching honesty (“We lost the game 6-0 but left at half time as it was a joke of a match and quite simply Macc were f****** awful.”) You could almost find it funny in a sort of darkly humorous way if they weren’t 100% serious about it.

These people are racists. They claim not to be. They put disclaimers everywhere. They may have bought a Roni Size album once or walked past a black guy without spitting in his face and whoop-de-doo. They mask their hatred for anything non-white behind a thin veneer of attempted respectability that disappears the second you take a closer look.

I have personally heard them hilariously refer to then Bolton player David Ngog as “David Nig-Nog” and chant “We are Senegal” when a black player was brought on as a substitute for Macc during a pre-season friendly. This is not just gentle football ribbing. This is phlegm-specked bile thinly disguised as ‘banter’. It is clear that the threat of a lifetime ban from the club is the only thing stopping them from out and out monkey noises and throwing bananas onto the pitch.

In truth it must be a constant source of internal conflict for them; that in recent years the number of non-white players representing Macclesfield Town has gradually increased (and to the benefit of the team) against their wishes. This is made perfectly clear by their ‘chant’ for club captain Nat Brown – “Big head, big nob” – which, in a desperate attempt to scramble for praise for the oft excellent defender, resorts to a crude stereotype about black people.

The recent Cardiff F.A. cup tie was the tipping point for me. These people are not in support of the club. The majority of their chants were either vile/provocative abuse aimed towards the opposition fans and players, or pathetic attempts to promote their extreme right-wing agenda. Steve King, the Macclesfield boss, was dismissed as a “cockney w****r” prior to the win and praise or encouragement for the home players was rarely heard before the result was secured (at which point they celebrated as if they were vital components to the victory). The English flag, as often is the case with the extreme right, was used as a provocative gesture rather than a source of pride. They taunted the Cardiff ‘Soul Crew’. The intentions were clear from the start.

A fight broke out behind me at one point during the second half – the rhyme or reason of which I do not know. The police and stewards stood by and watched. Some stewards shared jokes with them. Smiled at their extreme language and braggadocio. What hope do we have? Seriously? Even those ‘on our side’ are on their side.

I’m not going to stop watching Macclesfield Town play. When my son is old enough to attend with me I will drift over into the family stand on the opposite side of the ground. Until then I will remain on the London Road terrace, will continue to support the club I love. Support them in the right way. The only way.

No surrender to the EDL.