There has been a significant amount of debate regarding what Adam Johnson may or may not have intended with his goal celebration and subsequent gestures to Newcastle United supporters on Sunday but developments today mean we should close the book on this.
It has been stated here repeatedly that Johnson was abused continually on Sunday and that he may have good cause to be wounded by the nature and persistence of that abuse. I’m of the opinion that if we as a group of fans (or any group of fans for that matter) dish it out we shouldn’t cry-arse on if the target of any abuse reacts. I think we’ve said this previously when Sunderland fans have abused our own players (Joey Barton springs to mind) though there are lines that should not be crossed by players and I still believe it was justified to ask what he was up to with his celebration and pose the difficult questions no matter how uncomfortable anyone finds them or any other consideration etc. There is an issue of freedom of speech.
Today I was contacted by part of Sunderland AFC’s executive team who were insistent Johnson did not mean anything in reference to MH17 following his goal celebration when he ran from one end of the stadium to the other. They told me they were speaking on his behalf and that he has denied that was his intention.
We have asked that such a clarification be made and it has been. So, on that basis we accept that and the matter is closed as far as we are concerned here.
Obviously I think it would have been preferable for Johnson to have made that statement publicly himself but I’d guess considerations regarding media management and the potential to attract the censure of the Premier League regarding his overall conduct led Sunderland to handle matters this way. It might be a bit clinical but there you go.
It’s ironic today that as the Red card given to Coloccini is rescinded United is charged with a failure to control its players on a day when Johnson’s taunts should have attracted a booking and once again Sunderland supporters invade the pitch but that isn’t picked up by the Premier League and apparently has not appeared in the Referee’s report. The less said about the referee in the circumstances the better.
Further I was assured by Sunderland AFC that they are dealing with those of their fans whose vile tweets were featured here and elsewhere. That reflects well on Sunderland AFC and I’m sure most supporters will be encouraged by their response.
So, we regard the matter as being at an end and as such we have edited the weekly Podcast that is now available for you to listen to.
That is all.
Michael Martin, Editor, true faith, Newcastle United Fanzine.