However, speaking of travelling to go see the match in the east of Ukraine potentially brings up a nasty subject in football. Racism. If you watched the BBC Panorama programme before the Euro 2012 got under way, you will have seen one of their reporters travelled to Ukraine for one part of the programme to show a football match between two local rivals. What happened in this match was a section of home fans were targeted, beating and kicked out of the stands by other home fans. For reasons of which that can only be explained because of the colour of their skin. The match in question was being played out involving Metalist Kharkiv and took place in their own stadium The Metalist Oblast Sports Complex, so it was their fans that were the culprits in this.
Newcastle fans will be travelling to this stadium on the 21st of February to watch their team hopefully go through to the next round of the Europa League. So what should they be expecting once they do so? Racism towards our black players from the stands? Racism against themselves if they are anything other than white? Who knows. The threat of racism on both counts, or even violence, can not be ignored as it is clear the country of Ukraine has a serious problem with it and that very football club, in that very stadium, cannot deny it doesn't go on. It's been caught on film for the world to see. If you haven't seen the BBC Panorama footage then can do so here:
This piece of footage is obscene and the fact they are attacking their own supporters it seems is baffling and horrendous. This clip was also shown to ex-Newcastle 'player' Sol Campbell on the programme where he infamously told England fans 'not to go' to Euro 2012 otherwise you could come back 'in a coffin'. Fans at the match also told BBC that chants from the crowd involved 'Sieg Heil' and Nazi salutes to opposing fans because Hitler hated 'Jews and Blacks' and that is how they support their team. You can read about that here. Lovely stuff. Thankfully nobody did come back dead because of violence and racism was at a minimum throughout the tournament.
I am sure the subject will come up countless times from now until we play them at their stadium on 21st February. But as for now, lets just look at the draw from a purely footballing point of view and it isn't that bad. With the next round to be competed against either Anzhi or Hannover, I will take that over what our group winners Bordeuax next opponents will be in the shape of either Benfica or Leverkusen...the fans who may find themselves in Russia not long coming back from a trip to Ukraine may not agree with me however. ; D
One thing is for sure...you will never see a mackem at Metalist.
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