As a woman in football, I feel I have a different perspective to the Yaxley-Lennon or Tommy Robinson saga.
You see I don’t go to the games for the social aspect, although it is nice to get cuddles off the niece when she feels like it. Which is about as rare as getting a chip off her! It’s fab to chat with my sister-in-law and great chance to catch up with the nephew, brother-in-law and watch the other adopted nephew play on his phone. The chat is short and sporadic as the game keeps us well interrupted.
It’s a welcome part of my visits to Tynecastle but I go because it’s my time and I love my football. It’s a time when I can sit down, tune out to everything and just enjoy 90 minutes of something I love with little interruption of real life and all that this entails.
Hearts, like all other clubs, is a real mixed bag and within our support is a small element of bigots. I don’t suppose they think they are bigoted but the words they use and who it is directed it tells the rest of us a different story. For some, it’s just a piss poor tradition that has been passed down without much thought. For others, it is a way to vent their spleen and get some release from their daily grind and for others, it is peer pressure.
Not all that succumb to this peer pressure are naive youngsters but mostly it is them who are being targeted. I know a lot of guys in their 40s and 50s who are normally thoroughly nice guys but put them in with these groups and they become somewhat of an alter-ego of themselves. They use language that their wives, daughters, and grandchildren would be ashamed of. They do so in front of young impressionable sons who know no better than to accept but look closely and you see the shock and horror in their eyes at first. They are not yet accustomed to the hate spewing from the dad they love so much.
A proportion of these guys have had bad luck and life has let them down. There are missed opportunities due to fatherhood too young or the wrong postcode. There is always something that is lacking and they are handed the cause on a plate by those who want to profit from others misery. Yaxley-Lennon is one such cretin!
The handful of men/boys wearing his face as a mask would be used to doing this. For they enter their world of football and put on the mask of a racist, homophobic, sexist, bigot every week. Their family would be horrified to see that side of them. Only the young and stupid actually stand firmly behind the views they spout. Yaxley-Lennon has seen that there is a hole and he wants to fill it.
He is not and cannot ever be welcome to Hearts because there is no place for his ilk. Football is a vehicle for good and for cohesion in some of the poorest parts of Scotland. Hearts and Big Hearts have worked immensely hard to build up strong links with the local community and do such great work. They work with older people who may be suffering from social isolation or illness and use memories of bygone eras to link them to new friends and volunteers. The kinship care programme supports families who have stepped in to care for a young relative when their parents can’t. There are clubs to help people of all ages keep fit and eat better and my favourite, the Community Christmas Dinner, where the doors are opened on Christmas day to anyone who needs it and helpers assist by feeding, chatting, playing games and handing out presents to all that attend. All of this and much more is done under the good name of Hearts and do you know what? They don’t care what sex, sexuality, colour, religion or ethnicity anyone is!
This is how it should be. The club is working hard to change the very conditions that encourage the minority to look for someone to blame. Hearts are working hard to address the inequality that entices these men to display such behaviours. That work goes on day in and day out, we cannot have it undone in a stroke by this man.
Yaxley-Lennon not only displays hate of people because of their religion, but he also spreads it and until he stops this, he cannot be welcome at Hearts or anywhere else in Scotland!
If he were crusading against all paedophiles, he would garner a little support from me but he’s not. He couldn’t care about the VIP Westminster rings that sodomise children from 3 years old. He didn’t go after any one of the names that used the BBC to access children for their kicks. Even now, he hasn’t published the names of the EDL, Britain First and NF paedophiles that he is not only aware of, he knows them, but he has also shared stages with them and the same sick ideology. Paedophiles must be eradicated from our society, there should be no hiding place shouts Yaxley-Lennon but he only cares about the brown ones. The white ones can carry on and he will not turn up outside the court filming for his youtube channel. Why does he feel that white men abusing children is ok? A question only he can answer!
It is now incumbent on the rest of us Hearts fans to address those in the minority that tarnish our club’s reputation. The men of McCrae’s were shamed by white feathers and bad publicity into joining the British army. The people who did this were rich Londoners, British Aristocracy, who themselves were exempt from fighting. The boys joined up en masse, The Pals Battalion they were fondly known as. The big names of Hearts were joined by many more from across the city. They fought, they gave their all and most gave their lives to fight fascism.
To now see a fascist try to sully the hard work of Hearts over the last few years or worse, to use the memory of the lads of the Pals Battalion to access our club is an outrage! In the memory of those boys of the McCrae’s Battalion, we all owe it to tell Yaxley-Lennon he is not welcome at our club.