Date: 5th February 2008 at 10:18am
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Dave Jones, Cardiff City manager, clashed with Stoke fans at the weekend when his team lost 2-1.
It all started when reserve team manager, Paul Wilkinson, became involved in a row with a ball boy after the ‘multi-balling system’ suddenly seemed to stop.
Jones said, ‘I’ve always had abuse when I’ve gone to Stoke. They say it’s banter but it’s not banter when people are hurling abuse at you. They think it’s funny until you turn round and say something back then it’s a different matter.
‘The Police were brilliant and they were taking pictures of the fans involved and I think those fans should be dealt with.’

It’s been happening quite a bit this season the abuse of managers being spoken about in the media. Sam Allardyce, when at Newcastle, perhaps being the most publicised and he admitted that he’d ‘lost the fans’ but the abuse ‘didn’t bother him.’
Portsmouth manager, Harry Rednapp, however had a different view when he was verbally abused by Villa fans earlier this season. He told the press that ‘you’ve got people saying stuff behind you who have little kids with them. I used to watch Arsenal with my dad when I was younger and there was none of that going on. Maybe I shouldn’t get upset but I do and what hurts more is when I see someone going at it and they have their young son by their side. That just stinks.’

Apart from sport, I can’t think of many other jobs where managers would come in for this sort of abuse.

I don’t think you will ever stop abuse being hurled from the stands of football games and I think we have come to accept it – but is that right? And where will it stop?

My house backs onto fields that are rented out at weekends for local football games. I often hear bad language on a Sunday morning coming from that direction, and I’m no prude and it doesn’t particularly bother me. But one day recently I went to watch one of the games for a while and the language from the supporters on the touchline was, frankly, appalling. It was made worse, for me, because the children who were playing were around ten years old and the ‘filth’, as Harry Rednapp called it, was coming from their parents.

This isn’t meant to preach at anyone, I understand only too well the frustration that football brings out in us fans!
Sam Allardyce said it ‘didn’t bother him’, Harry Rednapp says he was ‘appalled’ and Dave Jones thinks ‘the police should deal with it.’ So, is it abuse or merely just banter?