Getting Angry With Greg Mitchell 22nd March

So, we should all be talking about Sheffield winning the league this week (and fair play to them) but we’re not. Instead, online conversation seems to be centring around Dave Simms and his choice of words on Sunday night. I’ll get it out from the start that I think Simms should be hung, drawn and quartered for his remarks. He is an official of a club and, as such, should be above such comments in a very public domain.
OK, he’s “apologised” via the universally viewed mediums of Facebook and Twitter and there are people out there telling us that his “apology” makes it alright. I’m sorry but in my mind it doesn’t. A quick ‘sorry if I offended anyone’ doesn’t change the fact that he said it. I could walk up and down the road outside our house telling anyone I passed what I thought of them and then put a note through their letter box with sorry written on it. Does that make it right? No. I’m not actually sure if he’s actually apologised anyway. He’s quoted in the Sheffield Star as saying “I would unreservedly apologise if I offended anybody”. Does that sound like he doesn’t think he’s done anything wrong? Not to me he doesn’t. Well, Dave you’ve offended me and a hell of a lot of other people so I’m looking forward to my apology.
There was no surprise in the Mitchell household when Paul Ragan merely handed out a light slap on the wrist and a bit of a telling off and I’m not exactly holding my breath for the Elite League’s judgement either. He’ll come up smelling of roses yet again. They won’t throw the book at him, he does far too much, in their eyes, for the good of the game. The thing is I’m worried about what a lenient judgement actually says to the rest of the league and what the league thinks of us Nottingham fans. If they let him get away scott free it’s basically a carte blanche to the rest of the league to abuse us or any other bunch of fans. Want to sell a few seats? Need to increase your profile in the local community? Simply question the opposition’s parentage, tell the world they sleep with pigs or are likely to steal your cars while you’re watching the game. A lenient verdict would simply say that fans’ feelings don’t count as long as you say you might be sorry a week on Thursday if anyone can still remember why they’re upset now.
Why do I think he’ll get away with it? Because we’ve been here before. Time and time again we’ve been the butt of his comments, his put downs, his insults. A sneering campaign of bile simply because he doesn’t like us. We know he doesn’t like us and (despite me writing this) I’m not really bothered. You don’t like us Dave get over it and why oh why did you feel the need to bring it up at such a time? Which is more important to you winning the league or Panthers not winning the league? It’s all a bit like Jody Lehman’s Orca the Killer Whale impression the last time they won the play-offs. Did he want to celebrate with his team mates? His fans? No, he just wanted to have a go at the opposition’s fans. His team mates followed this up by letting us know that they’d got at least two fingers on each hand. Was there an apology for this? No, it was made in to a joke and the club bragged about for days afterwards.
Would any of this happen in another sport? No. Can you imagine what would happen if Harry Redknapp used such “industrial language” about Arsenal? Would he still be in a job now? No. What happened to Eric Cantona when he decided he wanted to sit in the crowd following a bit of “banter”? He got his wish for months after.
You have to laugh at Sheffield fans as they force the bandwagon worryingly close to over-flowing in their rush to distance themselves from his comments. They’re all tripping over themselves and each other to tell the world how the vast majority of Steelers fans deplore what Simms said. If that was the case the forgiving minority have very loud voices judging by the reaction his comments got. I think people up there had better start buying neck collars because the number of whiplash cases could be on the up if people keep doing such sudden about faces. Perhaps they should consider the events that they precipitated to get the old Manchester announcer sacked. They won’t though, that’ll be different, it always is.
I have to say, and even I can’t really believe this but, our management have are treating this matter, outwardly at least, in a very professional way. There’s been no comments, no replies, all as it should be. Rise above it Panthers, prove that you’re better than he is. The fans though, that’s a different matter. They shouldn’t let him forget what he’s done for a very long time.


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