Football should be all about joy and pleasure. Feeling entertained and having many happy memories.
But, every now and again, it leaves you depressed and downbeat.
That’s how I felt on Thursday night when watching the Rangers’ Europa League tie against Sparta Prague.
Once again, Ibrox midfielder Glen Kamara was targeted for the colour of his skin by a section of the home support.
He was booed constantly until he was red-carded in the 74th minute. And I actually thought he didn’t deserve his second yellow as the Sparta player pretty much deceived the referee.
Rangers are pointless after the opening two games in their Europa League group.
However, the football pales into insignificance when a player has been singled out in the manner Glen was.
The fact is the Letna Stadium in Prague shouldn’t even have had any fans inside it after the Sparta supporters racially abused Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni during a Champions League qualifier in August.
UEFA decided to close the stadium as punishment – but then relented and allowed 10,000 children and their chaperones into the game against Rangers.
It was a shocking decision by UEFA to do a U-turn. But that really sums them up.
Their hierarchy talks about leadership, and eradicating all forms of racism from football.
But, for me, they just don’t do enough.
It’s not even a half-hearted approach. That would be too kind to them.
Right now, the attempts by European club football’s governing body to get rid of racism appear hollow.
They are, quite simply, not leading by example.
They need to be more serious about putting the welfare and well-being of every footballer first. That has to be the priority. Always.
But they allowed fans back in on Thursday evening. Most were schoolchildren, maybe some were teenagers.
Are children of that age not human beings too?
When you decide to close down a stadium, you need to see it through.
Clearly, the kind of behaviour we witnessed is ingrained in some people, regardless of their age.
I hope UEFA is taking a long, hard look at itself today.
They are quick to jump on clubs and individuals when it suits them. But right now they are making a mockery of their fight against racism.
Are they really trying to kick it out? Their attempts, frankly, are ridiculous.
They need to do more to tackle this issue as no footballer – or person for that matter – should be subjected to verbal abuse because of their colour, creed or religion.
Glen has suffered enough after what happened to him last season when he was racially abused by Slavia Prague’s Ondrej Kudela.
The Finland midfielder now faces another suspension, and that’s a blow because Rangers need all their best players for the rest of the campaign.
The back-to-back games coming up against Brondby are absolutely vital, and Steven Gerrard knows they will be looking for a minimum of four points.
That will give them a lift going into their final two games against Lyon and Sparta.
On the other side of the city, the story is the same for Celtic, who crashed 4-0 at home to Bayer Leverkusen.
The Germans are an excellent side, and deserved their victory.
You never like to lose any game, but it is especially sore when it is at home and such a heavy one.
Celtic Park was packed, and the fans gave Ange Postecoglou and the players tremendous backing. They just couldn’t repay them.
Looking at the game, I think Celtic lack a wee bit of pace in the team, and that has to be a concern.
Giving a player a burst of speed is not something you can teach.
Ange will be aware of the areas he needs to improve. It might be something that will be addressed in the January transfer window.
They now have to put the result behind them, and not dwell on it. They have important fixtures coming up against Ferencvaros, and will also need to take at least four points.
Celtic are at a stage just now where every wee mistake any of the players make is being punished, such as David Turnbull for the opening goal the other night.
That won’t always be the case, and things will eventually turn.
You just need to keep working hard, persevering and believing in what you are trying to do.
UEFA, take note.
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