Emmanuel Eboue, a player who left Arsenal in the summer, was always a player who caused controversy and split opinions of Arsenal fans. There is one thing for sure, and that is that his recent treatment at the hands of Turkish fans is enough to unite all Arsenal fans in disgust. If you haven’t seen what happened, have a look:
At this point it is unclear if the barrage of missiles, the like of which I have never seen one player have to endure was because of his race. There has been some suggestion that it is because of his tendency to dive. Whatever the reason, this sort of behavior is simply unacceptable.
I have never been Eboue’s biggest fan. I was at the game when he was booed off the pitch and, to my eternal shame, I was one of the people who booed him. I admit that, hold my hands up and take the abuse that comes with it. It was the one and only time I have ever done something like that, the result of months, if not years of pure frustration at a player so undeniably talented yet ultimately incredibly frustrating. Afterwards, I wrote a letter to Eboue and apologised to him, something I’ve never told anyone until now. It also served as a lesson to me and will be something I will never repeat.
After that incident Eboue gained something of a cult status at Arsenal and I truly believe that this only came around out of guilt. His antics, for a while, were put away and he got his head down and worked incredibly hard to regain the backing of the fans. For that time, he was a good player and an asset to the squad. But, slowly, the diving crept back in to his game and he once again became a liability, culminating in ‘that’ penalty against Liverpool which spelt the end of his time as an Arsenal player.
Regardless of my feelings about him as a player, to see him have to endure this kind of behavior is sickening. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that there is not one player, past or present from any club across the world who I feel deserves to be treated in this manner.
It is football. It is a game. This is simply unacceptable.
I await to hear what action, if any, UEFA will take against the fans and the club they report to support, but the action should be swift and it should be severe. There is no room for this sort of behavior from fans of any club, no matter what their reasons and UEFA needs to send a very clear message that it will not be tolerated.
Unfortunately, as with so many issues that UEFA need to clamp down on, I fear that this will be punished with a nominal fine and then consigned to the history books.
That is simply not good enough UEFA. Failure to act, especially in a case as extreme as this is tantamount to complicit approval.
At a time when the image of football seems to be being tarnished more with every passing week UEFA have a chance to show that they really are in charge of the not-so-beautiful game. I can only hope they choose to take it this time.
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