As Tottenham Hotspur begin their search for those who brought attention to Marcos Alonso’s involvement in a drink-driving crash which resulted in the tragic death of a young woman, football again tries to locate its moral compass.
It is alleged that some Spurs fans with too much time on their hands created a banner and carried it outside the ground before their match with Huddersfield Town.
Pictures circulated on social media and before long those who didn’t know about the Chelsea star’s grim past suddenly did.
Tottenham went into damage limitation mode and announced today they are investigating. They want to find the people who put together the banner with the player’s name and an anti drink-driving symbols in the middle. Under that, the words ‘He Murdered A Girl’ leave little to the imagination.
Spurs told The Times: ‘This banner is clearly in extremely poor taste and we are investigating the matter. If found to be a Spurs fan, they will be dealt with accordingly.’
If the club’s statement is anything to go by, punishment will be forthcoming. A ban could be likely as the Premier League club in this social media world need to be seen as doing something.
For some, penance is the problem. Because the player – three times over the limit and driving at 122kmh in a 50 zone in wet conditions when his grandad’s BMW he was driving careered into a wall – wasn’t punished.
Incredibly, Alonso escaped when the passenger in the car he destroyed didn’t. While he could have faced up to four years in prison, he was ultimately let off. Fined 61,000 euros – less than £55,000 – he now earns that amount in four or five days at Stamford Bridge.
Free to continue his life and his career, then then-Bolton Wanderers player soon moved on from what happened just up the road for the Bernabeu Stadium.
Some Tottenham fans haven’t, with frustration from the left wing-back’s two goals in the early season game at Wembley no doubt playing a part in their need to remind everyone of what happened in the Spanish capital that terrible night.
Now the supporters are suggesting their club is coming down on the side of someone who has done something terribly wrong.
Anyone attending lower league football regularly over the past few years are likely to have been at a game involving either Lee Hughes, the former West Brom striker, or Plymouth Argyle captain Luke McCormick.
Both have killed after being over the limit behind the wheel, and both have served time.
Both too have been subjected to worse than Alonso has from the stands. In League Two and into Non-League football, you can hear every single word that is shouted at you from the terraces. Not once have either complained about such treatment. It comes with their past and serves as a constant reminder.
Missing are warnings from clubs to behave, no banning threats for abusive chants or anti social behaviour. Because of the sensitive nature of the subject, wisely they choose not get involved. Nature takes it course, rightly or wrongly. Their refusal to act is a nod towards free speech.
That is Tottenham Hotspurs’ big mistake. Silence sometimes says a lot more than words.