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Thursday, April 22, 2004  
Atkinson's Barmy
Ron Atkinson isn’t racist. At least I don’t think so. And at least not at any active, conscious, discriminatory level anyway. What he is, is a fucking idiot. However, by immediately resigning and apologising unreservedly he has at least done the right thing with regards to him being a fucking idiot.

One of the most amusing things about this whole kerfuffle is how the story was reported on This Is Lincolnshire, where they published the following sentence – The comments were understood to have been directed at Chelsea's Marcel Desailly, who is black. Atkinson is believed to have called the defender a "f***ing lazy nigger”.
Thanks to Dom for finding that priceless pearl of political incorrectness – obviously they’ve taken it down now.


I’d apologise to anyone offended by my usage of “the ‘N’ word” (as EVERYBODY on Radio Five Live comically referred to it last night – but what else can they do on the BBC? on any channel?), but if you’re bothered by it’s usage in that context then you should probably take a long cold bath.

Ron spoke to Five Live this morning and said he couldn’t remember saying it, and the consensus from black footballers who’ve worked with Ron (and let’s not forget that there have been many over the years – Ron was the first manager to field three black players in a starting eleven when he was at, I believe, WBA; plus, you know, DALIAN ATKINSON, who Ron insisted on playing at Sheffield Wednesday despite the fact that he was crap. Ron liked Dalian so much he even took him with him when he TURNCOATED OFF TO THE FUCKING VILLA FOR MORE MONEY THE ASSHOLE, AND LEFT US WITH TREVOR FUCKING FRANCIS WHO PROCEEDED TO RUN SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY INTO THE DARK DANK HOLE THEY NOW EXIST IN. THANKS, RON!), in fact just about everyone who’s worked with Ron, as a manager or as a ‘pundit’, seems to think it’s out of character.

The Guardian are reporting that Atkinson’s full statement was “He's what is known in some schools as a fucking lazy thick nigger.” I’m not sure whether that makes it better or worse. Could you infer that Atkinson meant “some schools, but not mine”, and even if you could would that make using the word any less deplorable? Do his comments suggest a more deep-seated bigotry that he’s managed to thus far conceal? Or is he just a man of a certain age and a certain demeanour, to whom the word ‘nigger’ has a very different connotations than it does to, you know, everyone else? He knows he shouldn’t say it; he tries not to say it; but, this once (and maybe more, who knows?) he couldn’t help himself; he didn’t realise; it just ‘slipped out’. I don’t believe for a second that Ron Atkinson is as bad as Noris McWhirter (or my gran for that matter), but one thing is for sure.

Ron, you’re a fool.

Plus he once called Francesco Totti “a little twat” on-air, and while this may be true, as Totti is a God round AusPishFish way, it’s not acceptable, Ron!


4/22/2004 10:27:00 am


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Nick Southall is Contributing Editor at Stylus Magazine and occasionally writes for various other places on and offline. You can contact him by emailing auspiciousfishNO@SPAMgmail.com

All material © Nick Southall, 2003/2004/2005