Unite against the "gobby morons" with Respect FC

The English FA has taken an offbeat step in their mission to improve behaviour in football by launching its own football club, Respect FC.

The new club isn’t aiming for silverware but to unite fans against the ugly side of the beautiful game to create a safe and enjoyable environment for all involved.

Comedian Mark Watson, chairman of Respect FC, has urged supporters everywhere to unite against the “gobby morons” ruining the game. [continued…]

Since its cross-game launch in 2008, the Respect programme has helped bring about an improvement for many within the grassroots game. One third of Club Website users stated in September 2010 that they had seen an improvement in behaviour in their football matches over the previous 12 months.

However, the 18% of users who claimed to have seen behaviour get worse over the same period show that there is still much to be done and underline why the FA are asking people to come together in this latest push for Respect.

Respect FC Chairman and Bristol City fan Watson said: “We know that it’s so much easier to take a stand against poor behaviour if you are not on your own, if you have someone else on your team. Collectively we can stand up to the gobby morons.

“If you’d like to show the people spoiling our game what they’re up against join my new football club, Respect FC, the club with one goal – to rid the game of the gobby morons.”

For every person that signs up, the FA will put one pound into the Respect initiative within grassroots football (up to the value of £50,000) and, at the end of the season, members of Respect FC will be able to vote on how this money is used.

Whilst £50,000 seems like a drop in the ocean in the crazy modern world of football – it’s three days’ FA salary for Fabio Capello, for example – the money isn’t the most important factor in this latest campaign.

Respect FC’s success won’t be represented by a few extra grand spent, but by the number of people who buy into the philosophy behind the campaign.

All of us involved in the game, whatever level we’re involved at, are responsible for improving behaviour in the game.

It starts with behaving the right way ourselves on and off the pitch, but also requires us to tell others that verbal and physical abuse have no place in the game.

Club Website continues to support the Respect programme and, whilst we weren’t particularly inspired by the latest video – I guess Ray Winstone is a tough act to follow – we’re throwing our support behind Respect FC and the important message behind it.

But with our support and, we hope, that of our members in the grassroots community, we also make a request of the FA regarding the professional game.

The FA can ask amateur coaches, parents and players to show respect but, for as long as Premier League stars are allowed to abuse referees and get away with it, then what hope do we have of stamping out the problem at grassroots level?

If I were to shout a tirade of foul-mouthed abuse at the referee in my game this Saturday, I’d fully expect to be sent off and could have no complaints if I were.

So why didn’t Wayne Rooney receive his marching orders when he did just that to Mike Dean at White Hart Lane last Sunday?

In full view of millions watching on TV, Rooney’s effing and blinding bought him just a yellow card, just one example of how little effect the Respect programme has when the big top-flight games come around.

FA figures show that bookings for dissent dropped by 23% in the Premier League last season compared to 2008/09 but, if referees are treating dissent or foul and abusive language with such leniency, then it’s hardly surprising.

If referees stood up to any dissent with a yellow card and foul and abusive language aimed at them with a red card – and if the FA were to support them with appropriate penalties for offending players – then just imagine what that might do for Respect right across the game.

Let’s hope that Respect FC proves a great success at grassroots level, helping people to enjoy their football without suffering the ugly side of the beautiful game.

But we agree with the Chairman – nobody likes a gobby moron. So let’s hope the professional game leads the way by dealing with a few gobby morons of their own.

If you want to join Respect FC visit www.respectfootballclub.com.

Dan Pope, Club Website editor

Have your say on Respect FC!

What do you think of the FA’s latest campaign to improve Respect?  Will you be signing up to Respect FC?  And, wherever you are in the UK, what do you think needs to be done to improve behaviour at all levels of the game?

Dan Pope on LinkedinDan Pope on Twitter
Dan Pope
Writer at Teamer
Freelance writer, editor and copywriter, with a passion for grassroots sport. A right back turned football writer, Dan is the former editor of Club Website and has been lucky enough to work in the field of grassroots and community sport for the last 10 years.

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  1. Neil on January 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    it would be a great help, if referees at the highest levels of our game, particularly televised matches, applied the laws of the game to there fullest extent.
    Particularly with regard to the use of ‘offensive , abusive & insulting ‘ language. The only sanction allowed for this is for the incident to be reported to the ‘FA’ and the individual dismissed from the vicinity of the field of play.
    Contrast this, with Mr Deans response to the torrent of foul language used by Wayne Roony, witnessed by all on tv, following the dismissal of a team mate. Mr Dean, had the opportunity to send a clear message, that this behavior has no place in football, but chose to ignore the laws of the game & ‘caution’ the offending player.
    Strong actions from referees & appropriate punishments for offenders is the only way to rid the game of this menace.

  2. kevin donoghue on January 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    you should look more closely at the coaching styles also, this can be almost abusive

  3. Kev Brown on January 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    The FA (professional game) & County FA (grassroots level) need to take behaviour SERIOUSLY instead of the half hearted waffle they trot out. Long bans for players (professional level) & long bans for teams at grassroots level would in a short space of time radically improve behaviour & clubs would soon be ‘self-policing’ because of the repercussions. Sadly i think all we”ll get is the usual hot air & NOTHING will improve significantly. A lot of on field discipline issues could be sorted by taking a good luck at how Rugby Union (sin bins etc.) deal with on the pitch issues.

  4. Martin Ball on January 22, 2011 at 12:02 am

    I have looked at the Respect FC recent recommendations which have all been endorsed by the FA and have extracted some of the advice the FA is giving to Referee’s in relation to those who do not adhere to the aims and objectives of the Respect Campaign and these are below

    1. Report it ! Give the FA or CFA the opportunity to deal with the idiots – you owe it to your refereeing colleagues
    2. Thank you for your support – together we can defeat the gobby morons!
    3. Unite against the gobby morons

    All grassroots referee’s are taking the advice handed down to them by the FA in relation to the Respect Campaign so I can only assume from the recent advice given that they should, when taking disciplinary sanctions against players, officials or spectators in relation to breaches of the same, that when addressing the offenders they make it quite clear that they are idiots or gobby morons.

    This is in my opinion Offensive, Abusive and Insulting and referee’s are being asked to Respect everyone involved within the game in order to get more Respect themselves.

    If a referee is called an idiot or a gobby moron by a player, the latter would get into a lot of trouble so it is wrong for the FA to endorse putting some players into the same category (there are many other polite and Respected phrases which could be used to describe offenders).

    If however a referee calls a player an idiot or gobby moron, he or she is likely to get into a lot of trouble themselves if they have not already inflamed what would have been a cautionable offence to possibly one of Violent Conduct by the player against a Match Official

  5. kevin donoghue on January 22, 2011 at 11:57 am

    hi martin take a look at what were trying to do, alpha fc, its a battle but it needs changeing for the kids, we owe it to them,us adults spoil kids play on the field, and we wonder why they give up , it has to stop now

  6. Martin Ball on January 22, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I fully agree with and endorse the Respect Campaign as behaviour within the game has to be cleaned up but the lead must come from the top by setting an example and punishing those in the professional game harder as it is the youth and all others at grassroots level who see it happening on the television or in grounds and they feel if it is allowed there, it must be ok at the lower level. My only other observations is that the FA should be setting an example in the way they classify offenders because calling them idiots or gobby morons is showing no Respect whatsoever and maybe if they give these offenders more Respect by addressing them a little more politely on the world wide web, they may eventually start to give a little more Respect back. Referee’s try to make every effort to Respect all players both on and off the Field of Play so the FA should follow their lead by not using abusive, offensive or insulting remarks when referring to them

  7. mark twyman on January 23, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    How do we encourage good behaviour? We need to action at the top levels of football so that it filters down through the game. The youngsters need to see what happens to the so called “stars” when they act like “gobby morons!” its in the rules, lets start to enforce them

  8. kevin donoghue on January 23, 2011 at 11:55 pm

    things allways start at the bottom, youth level.and then work up.until its blurred, by money ,ego, its sad,im sorry that you think its the tv famous for a moment players. its the parents duty to stop this moronic behavior, will it come a time when we have a pg guidance at the start of every tv game i doubt it, but im only a parent

  9. David White on January 24, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Should introduce technology that supports the referee in making the correct call in any given situation.
    >Goal line cameras with ‘human’ judges
    >The ability for a team captain to ‘appeal’ to the cameras (for a limited number of times a game as per tennis) ‘human’ judge
    >Only the team captain may approach an official as per rugby
    >A sin bin system for instant punishment / deflation of situations
    >Require officials to explain over tanoy key points

    In this way professional players will not be able to whine like school children without some sort of sanction

    The FA should:
    >Should push FIFA for the above
    >Be prepared to deselect any player from International srevice for infringement of any of the above rules
    >Enforce sanctions against teams / clubs who consitantly break these rules (anti fair play punishment)

    At a grass roots level local bodies should:
    >have a simple complaints procedure for all abusive type things, that would bring in assessment from officials.
    >make sure that all players, parents, managers and members of the public now how to use the procedure

    Junior Football clubs should:
    >get rid of coaches who are abusive
    >ban parents who are abusive (NOT the child)
    >take a firm line against players (suspensions etc.)

    Unless all levels of the game and all organisations are forced to take serious action nothing will change.

  10. kevin donoghue on January 24, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    im with you on the junior football, take alook at what were trying to do, http://www.alphafc.co.uk

  11. Jim O'Rourke on January 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    The problem here begins and ends with the football associations at all levels. They have powers at their disposal to stop all the gobby morons and others who misbehave, but the fa’s are weak and indecisive. They are very happy to collect money and apply fines on clubs but they ignore real problems ,which makes the idiots realise they can misbehave with impunity.

  12. David on February 8, 2011 at 10:13 am

    Our club are completely behind Respect FC.


  13. Tim Taylor on February 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    i play sunday league football and have been subject, along with my team mates, to lots of verbal abuse from parents and other managing staff. this is very unnerving as a player. i play in the division 1 of the stourbridge league. this behaviour is disgraceful.

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