There’s rather an extraordinary story over on the Telegraph about a police investigation into verbal abuse suffered by Sol Campbell by away supporters from Spurs at Fratton Park in September. The investigation is certainly welcome, if reports of the nature of the abuse are anything to go by, but what strikes me about the story is that the police have released 16 very clear CCTV images of people they want to talk to. The clear assumption is that these 16 white men (yes, of course they’re all white men) are filthy racist homophobes.
Now, last time I looked, CCTV didn’t include an audio feed. It also didn’t include lipsynching, though I could be wrong. So if you happened to be in among those fans singing a song at the same time as they were singing the crap they were singing, wouldn’t the fickle finger of surveillance Britain point at you?
Really, the pictures are very clear – I’m not going to reproduce them here, as that would make me a hypocrite. And I certainly believe that people shouting this kind of thing should be barred from football grounds for the comfort and sanity of all of us. But to have their photos splashed over a national newspaper website, with no evidence other than a CCTV shot? If I were a lawyer, I’d be offering my services on this one.