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.