new frontiers (issue 8)

City Gent

The last issue of new frontiers had just gone to press when a copy of City Gent, a Bradford City fanzine, arrived on my doormat. Its available from 46 Ainsty Road, Wetherby, LS22 7QS at 1 per 80 page issue. It contained several references to York City relating to the game at Valley Parade last October. Incidentally, new frontiers has never sold as many copies to away fans as we sold before January's return game.

The week following the Valley Parade game, Bradford manager, Frank Stapleton attended a Supporters Club do. He said that "the player (Paul Barnes) could have no complaints about the sending off" and was sceptical about Alan Little claiming not to have seen the incident but hoped Little would impose a fine on Barnes.

John Watmough, the editor had more to say about the game with York City. "You would perhaps expect some trouble when certain clubs visit Valley Parade, but surely not when York City are the opposition. Sadly, this was not the case as shortly after 2:15 it became apparent that a sizeable number of juvenile delinquents were at VP to 'support' the Minstermen. At least one firework was thrown as these morons proceeded to rampage around the top deck of our 'Family Stand' for no apparent reason. I'm obviously very angry that these cretins were able to occupy what should be a family area. (There is a reference to Bradford's decision to house away supporters in what was previously their Family Stand.) Throwing fireworks at VP is unforgivable. As I walk past the away support of clubs playing at VP, I usually get one or 2 comments, along with verbal abuse on occasions. OK, I do find it annoying sometimes, but I usually sell a sizeable number of City Gents to away fans. When you get abuse from the likes of Wolves and Birmingham etc. i.e. followers of clubs who are well populated with the rough hooligan types, you take it on the chin. You don't mess with these characters who usually include a fair number who are built like brick outhouses. Its different however, when you hear childish abuse from the juvenile delinquents who follow a club like York. Its difficult to take from these pygmies. Mind you this has always been the case. All through the 70s and 80s, the York 'pygmies' had to scurry back into the safety of their houses when the marauding armies from the likes of Huddersfield, Darlington, Hartlepool, Hull, Doncaster and Bradford City paid York a visit. Let's face it, Bradford City are a BIG club compared to York and York's idiot following showed themselves up as naughty schoolboys on a day out. Please don't misunderstand me, many York City fans are a credit to their club. What a pity that these supporters are let down by a sizeable contingent of complete morons who seem intent on causing as much trouble and bad feeling as possible.

It was bad enough having to share VP with York's unruly element without having to witness the psychopathic behaviour of Paul Barnes. I've seen dozens of bad tackles over the years, but I can't recall a player going into a tackle with as much vicious and malicious intent as Barnes. Moment before the incident, Barnes and Gary Williams had been lectured by the referee, but it was obvious that the York player wasn't taking the slightest bit of notice. The referee should have shown Barnes the yellow card there and then for his obvious threatening behaviour. Sure enough, Barnes came hurtling in on Williams. It was alleged by the York camp, and some of their lackeys in the press, that there was no physical contact with Williams. I've studied the recording on my video several times and cannot be sure either way. I do, however, feel that this is a red herring and a pathetic attempt by Barnes and his manager to deflect attention away from themselves. These accusations cloud the fact that if Williams had stood his ground he would have suffered a severe injury from Barnes' flying legs. The subsequent press reports and statements from the York player and management were an attempt at a shameful cover up. Whatever bad feeling there may exist between the 2 players, nothing can excuse Barnes' violent conduct. The York camp's verdict that he should have received the yellow card only is as sick joke. Barnes should be banned for at least 6 games, heavily fined and suspended by his club. Personally, I think Barnes should be made to walk from York to Bradford and back in his bare feet, just to make him realise just how lucky he is to have 2 good legs.

I was also extremely angry with the coverage in the following Monday's Yorkshire Evening Press. I decided to phone their reporter at the game, a Mr Tony Kelly. We had an interesting discussion lasting several minutes. I was critical of his report, but now I've calmed down, accept that he did not see the incident prior to the sending off as clearly as I did. Nor was he able to have an unobstructed view of the 'tackle' and he did not have the benefit of a video recording before he wrote the report. Tony Kelly's article also stated that 'even the Bradford press corps agreed that a yellow card was a more fitting punishment'. He wasn't able to name names, but I think we know who they are. I accept that everyone has their own views, but feel that this was an incident that should have received universal condemnation for its sheer vicious intent. As with the Uzzell - Blissett case, if players cannot obtain justice from the FA, they will take action themselves. There are one or two other cases pending and had Gary Williams suffered serious injury he would have every right to commence a civil action against Barnes".

I wasn't at the game so I am unable to judge the rights and wrongs of the Barnes / Williams clash, nor on the behaviour of a minority of York fans. However, I do know that I have been ashamed by the behaviour of a small minority of York City fans on several occasions this season, including the return game with Bradford City when once again, a small minority indulged in racist chanting. Are City supporters letting themselves and the club down? What do you think, write and let New Frontiers know.


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