The IFA’s loudly-trumpeted campaign to kick sectarianism out of local soccer lies in tatters this morning after home fans sang anti-Catholic loyalist anthems non-stop for 90 minutes at the home of Northern Ireland soccer.
And one veteran fan who attended the Linfield-Cliftonville match on Saturday says the sectarian hatred was the worst he’s seen in 20 years. The Windsor Park authorities’ threat to expel and ban those singing such songs – prominently pasted at the entrance to the ground before the match – was seen to be a hollow one as stewards ignored the sectarian abuse.
IFA promises to kick sectarianism out of local soccer disappeared in a deafening chorus of anti-Catholic abuse at Saturday’s clash between Linfield and Cliftonville at the home of Northern Ireland soccer.
Worried soccer chiefs had posted stern warnings all around the ground in a bid to stop fans from singing the kind of loyalist anthems that have alienated Catholic fans from Windsor Park and Northern Ireland internationals.
But a non-stop chorus of sectarian hatred – including the banned Billy Boys and The Sash – illustrated all too clearly that Windsor Park remains a hotbed of anti-Catholic hatred.
And the Andersonstown News can reveal that loyalist graffiti was also to be seen in a number of locations around the ground – notably the inside of the rear gates and the entrance to the main stand. Included among the graffiti was the loyalist threat KAT (Kill All Taigs) as well as support for the UDA and UFF.
“All the good work Linfield have supposedly done towards stamping out sectarianism at Windsor was ruined on Saturday,” said our Cliftonville correspondent Noel O’Brien, who attended the match. “Their fans sang sectarian and racist songs for 90 minutes.
The stewards sat back and did nothing – their actions were a disgrace. Windsor Park has always been and still is a sectarian bear pit. But nothing that goes on there surprises me any more.
“I’ve seen everything – songs glorifying atrocities, Nazi flags being waved - stuff that would make any decent person sick to the stomach. But last Saturday was the worst I’ve seen in 20 years.”
No-one from Linfield or the IFA was available for comment.