Malky and messages?

I was in the Lakes when it happened, Ian Moody resigning and then Malky not taking the job he hadn’t been offered; at least that’s how I interpreted the brief glances at TV screens as I wandered Keswick and its environs looking for news about Fabio and his non-arrival. It was much to do about nothing, I thought.

Jake: 'we like meddling in other people's business'
Jake: ‘we like meddling in other people’s business’

Then things seemed to kick off as I returned home and picked up a ”Metro” at the local train station, as is my wont when I pass by or through it. That “Metro” contained the body of a number of text messages, any of which, in my previous incarnation as an employed person, would have rendered me virtually unemployable; at least unfit for the job I was doing at the time and liable to serious disciplinary action.

The reason was that those texts, unpleasant at any time, were and are unacceptable in this day and age. They were racist, sexist, hopmophobic and anti-semitic. Had I sent them I probably could have been sacked. I certainly couldn’t have continued in the job I was doing as my daily dealings were with women (highly competent), with people of colour (equally so), gays (top-notch) and persons of various creeds and religions (I hope you’re getting the message).

Yet the League Managers’ Association didn’t seem to think the texts mattered, not at first. I believe I was driving down the M6 when I heard something to the effect that they said Malky was under great pressure and let off steam to a friend during some friendly banter, but it might have been later, when I’d got home.

What bollocks.

Totally and unequivocally bollocks, as the LMA seemed to recognise, because by Saturday their website contained the following:

“The LMA apologises for some of its wording, in its release yesterday, which was inappropriate and has been perceived to trivialise matters of a racist, sexist or homophobic nature. That was certainly not our intention.

It is beyond argument that any comments that are discriminatory, even used in private, are totally unacceptable…”

And that, perhaps, encapsulates this whole sordid episode. Such comments are unacceptable but there appears to be a body of powerful people willing to accept them, as banter if nothing more. I’d argue strongly that a very masculine, not to say macho, environment and a small, interdependent community has provided a breeding ground for the generation of particular attitudes and their communication to successive generations. If you think I’m wrong, name any gay footballer in the Premier League.

Many years ago I came across research into the “Technical and Vocational Initiative in schools” , (known as TVEI, then TVE) which discussed something  the researchers called “containment”. When faced with a need to change many teachers had outwardly accepted the changes but didn’t alter inwardly, in their beliefs. Now, I don’t think containment is restricted to education. Like many people, I grew up in an all-white, quite intolerant environment. I’m not convinced that everyone I grew up with has changed their level of tolerance, although they say they have. I’m not surprised to find someone is sending texts, now unacceptable, that society wouldn’t have frowned on 50 years ago. I’m not surprised there are those who would write this off as banter.

John McCormick:
John McCormick: things have changed since 1964

If Malky did send texts of the kind identifed in the “Metro” he is out of order, well out of order. And he is, apparently, paying the penalty for being out of order (to the tune of £7.5 million, according to the Daily Mail, whose article at is well worth reading).

But  I wonder about the attitudes of the men who have grown up in the closed world of male, white-led, anti-gay, and no-women-except-Karen-Brady football. I have to ask how many of his contemporaries in the LMA are wondering what all the fuss is about and how many should be sharing his disgrace.


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