Today’s Harry O

Well I did say that today’s Harrow Observer would be interesting.

I think there are two things to deal with here, what David Howell has written and what the Harrow Observer have reported.

As far as Howell’s comments are concerned I have to admit to being both very disappointed and somewhat perplexed.

Disappointed because I cannot accept what he has said and perplexed because I cannot work out why he has written this now.  I’ve been to enough Harrow Borough derbys over the past 25 years to know whether this sort of abuse is a regular feature (or happens at all).  Yet David’s own words on his non league 24 blog are as follows “every time I’ve been involved in any of these Harrow v Wealdstone derbies unfortunately there are still some supporters who feel the need to shout out the exact same comments”.  This I cannot agree with.

Were any of these comments made after the FA Trophy match at Earlsmead – presumably after their late equaliser? There was certainly plenty of vitriol aimed at the referee but did anyone really shout what is alleged? I didn’t hear it and I was standing around the tunnel area.  Surely if it had been said then Harrow would have complained.  I would complain if I heard similar comments aimed at one of our players – and make no mistake we would take action if we heard any such comments made by one of our supporters.  I believe that our relationship with the Harrow officials is good but neither after that game or at the replay did any Harrow official bring this to our attention.  I also struggle none of our usually eagle eyed internet focused fans read Simon Grigor’s report which also contained these comments.  Surely someone would have picked it up?

So why write these things now, 2 weeks before the big christmas derby? Why make such inflammable comments in a national non league column? It just doesn’t make any sense.  I know I would be very angry if our manager did something similar (though I know he wouldn’t).

So what happens now.  Well I will be trying to speak to Peter Rogers tomorrow to discuss and I will be making it clear that we are angry about these comments and that if Harrow do not react in a fashion that helps to cool tempers then we may need to involve the Ryman League. 

We will also need to consider security for the Christmas game, whether police or external stewarding which is likely to mean extra (and unnecessary) cost. 

As for the Harrow Observer, well I think the anger directed at Tim Edwards and the paper is entirely misplaced.  Tim is a journalist and this is a great story.  Can you imagine if Arsene Wenger slagged off Spurs fans in similar fashion on a web site – this would be back page of every newspaper.  This is no different.

We have to assume that David Howell himself wrote (or at least approved) his blog post on NLN24, and for Tim/his editor this is a great story,  the Manager of their second club slagging off the fans of their premier club.  I don’t blame him in any sense for using it and he did give us the opportunity to respond through the Supporters Club.  So let’s not shoot the messenger.

Ultimately the best thing we can do is beat Harrow again when we play on 28 December but I suspect this has a little way to run yet.

Published by: howie

Originally a blog by a football club chairman, then focused on horse racing, now the random musings of someone who occasionally has something to say. Thanks for joining the conversation

Categories Support4 Comments

4 thoughts on “Today’s Harry O”

  1. Howrd, I spoke with you at Tonbridge and North Greenford matches regarding what was happening about these insulting allegations against our supporter base.

    At that time you had contacted the Harrow Borough chairman and received no response, has there been further dialouge since then and what out come has their been.

    I am today absolutely appauled by the nothing response penned by Tim Edwards in todays article, basically as a journalist he should be doing at least some investigation as to why the accusation has been made and why Mr Howell and Harrow Borough have never raised the matter before, so appropriate action can be put in place to identify any culprit.

    When the club needs support, the supporters are there, well when unfounded allegations are made against supporters we need our board to stand up for us. Unfortunately the latest piece will have done nothing to address the balance and does not question the validity of the allegations made.

    I shall certainly be asking Mr Edwards a few questions on the 28th, hopefully he will get the otherside of the story.

    1. Don
      I have come to realise we are in a no-win situation.

      In terms of the original allegations, you may have read my previous post that I don’t believe that these comments have been made in every game for the past 25 years. However, like it or not it is impossible to be categorical about what happened at the FA Trophy game – Dave Howell says he heard this abuse and we simply cannot prove otherwise.

      Since the original article was published I have now spoken twice to Harrow Borough and in detail to the Ryman League. The League advised doing nothing. They felt that taking any action might actually make matters worse. Peter Rogers agreed with me that the original article should never have been in print and told me he held long discussions with his manager about it but he said that if Dave Howell told him that he heard these comments then he couldn’t argue and he wasn’t going to say anything against his manager in public – I’m sure you wouldn’t expect me to criticise Gordon in public either.

      So we are left with a game next week, and what we have to do is try to make sure that it goes off in the right way. We are expecting lots of WFC Juniors, children, parents and first time supporters at the game together with local councillors – who may be very important to our future. We are planning a half time presentation from the Council to the Juniors of a grant that they have just given towards some Soccer 7s goals.

      Therefore we have to do everything we can and be seen to do everything we can to ensure the game goes off without incident. Hence why I wanted to get my comments in the paper, and why we have brought in extra stewards for the game. Hopefully people realise that whatever our sense of grievance over Howell’s original article there remains a line we cannot cross in our individual and collective responses. Ensuring a ‘hot’ atmosphere for him and for Harrow is to be expected – I am sure he will be ready for that – but we need to channel that passion and noise to our own team as winning the match will be the best response.

      As far as the press and the Harrow Observer goes, again as I said in my original post I don’t blame the messenger. If you want to blame anyone blame the person who penned the original article on the Non League 24 blog – presumably Dave Howell. I am also afraid Tim is also unlikely to be at the game.

      Frankly I am appalled that an official of another club can make these type of incendiary comments so close to a game and nothing gets done. But that seems to be the case. I know that if and when we have a grievance with another club, or the supporters of another Club, then it is kept private and dealt with properly – as has happened this season.

      Our immediate concern though is we have a high profile home game to organise and it comes back to us to ensure it all goes off successfully on Monday.

      1. If Mr Rogers, agreed that the original article should never have been in print, then why after you initially spoke with him and your subsequent conversation, has he allowed a link to the article to be placed on their official website and remain on it.

        Whilst we accept that and then have to pay for extra stewards, maybe we can get the supporters to put their hands in their pockets.

        Howell is the liar, yet we pay the price.

  2. As a former Wealdstone squad member who was involved with the club for two seasons around 2001-2002. I can only comment on what I observed at the time. I have very fond memorioes from my time at the club of Gordon, Leo and the other coaches and also of the committee at the time. However, I frequently observed a great deal of mindless abuse directed at opposition players by a section of the Wealdstone supporters. The one which always sticks in my mind was when I was on the bench for a game when an opposition player broke his leg approximately 2 metres from the far touchline during a game at the White Lion Ground.

    45m away on the bench I heard the players’ leg brake in the tackle above all the other noises. An ambulance had to be called before he could be removed from the pitch by paramedics. This did not stop the supporters who would have been approximately 3m away from him behind the hoardings directing some sickening abuse at him while he was waiting for the paramedics to arrive.

    In 2003-2004 I played against Wealdstone for Harefield United in the final of the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup and it’s fair to say that some of the abuse directed at me and my family during the game by supported behind my goal was less than pleasant. As a ‘keeper I’ve always considered that if I’m getting a fair amount of abuse from behind the net I’m doing my job and I ignored it. However, the idiots responsible didn’t have personal knowledge of my family circumstances and therefore there was little sting in the words anyway.

    My point is that it would not surprise me if the abuse described in the observer article had happened as described. I am of the opinion that unfortunately some people (who behave perfectly rationally in other circumstances) seem to feel that the rules are suspended while watching football (rugby, cricket etc don’t seem to suffer the same problem) and that they can say what they like to those on the pitch regardless of how unpleasant. It would be simple enough to stamp out but the footballing authorities throughout all levels of the game right up to FIFA seem to be incapable of taking the hard decisions.

    Just my thoughts on a snowy Wednesday evening.

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