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Getting Silly Now… Evra’s Chelsea Racism Case Delayed

“There are three sides to every story. Yours, Mine and the cold, hard truth.”

It wasn’t long after the publication of the pictures of Patrice’s Evra’s bust up with Chelsea groundsman, Sam Bethell, that stories emerged explaining the incident to be one of a racist nature.

Whilst Bethell insisted it was “handbags”, both Carlos Tevez and Gerard Pique told a different story to the press. Tevez spoke of a “grave insult” in Evra’s direction, whilst Pique confirmed our player had been provoked.

At a later hearing, United’s Assistant Manager, Mike Phelan, as well as club captain, Gary Neville, who were also witnesses to the event, said Evra had received a racist insult.

Yet we’ve had plenty of rentboys on this blog defending their groundsman, which has left me completely baffled. If Frank Lampard or John Terry were the ones accused of racism, it would make sense. Of course you’re going to back your own players over your opposition’s, no matter how unlikely it was that your players were telling the truth. But a groundsman?

To suggest that all these people at United would lie about a racist assault is quite simply ridiculous and insulting. It’s one thing to defend Evra, but it’s something entirely different to fabricate a story of racism.

Evra is no angel in this scenario. Whatever was said to him, of course the FA would be right to expect Evra to be the bigger man and rise above it, as a professional. If your mate down the boozer was abused, you’d fully support them having a crack at the racist, and whilst I have no big issue with Evra choosing to go for someone who called him an immigrant, I understand why the footballing authorities would. Regardless, I find it incredible that CFC are suggesting that Evra, Tevez, Pique, Neville and Phelan have sat down together and decided to falsely accuse someone of making a racist comment. There’s no need for it. Whatever Bethell said to him, it won’t get Evra off the hook for swinging at him just because the comments were of a racist nature, so there would be nothing to gain from United’s perspective to make this up. Whilst Chelsea wouldn’t want their record book blotted with another accusation of a racial attack from one of their staff to an opposing player.

What confirmed it to me was Chelsea’s admission that something was said, claiming Bethell called Evra a “fucking idiot”, not “fucking immigrant”.

Say those two words out loud now. How alike do they sound? They begin and end with the same letters, but you’d have to be pretty hard of hearing to confuse the two. To suggest that five men all misheard “idiot” as “immigrant” is laughable.

The side we hear from Chelsea is that United were performing their ‘warm down’ session in an area of the pitch that the groundstaff weren’t happy with. It was as they stood there, with their lawnmowers at the ready, that the scuffle broke out. “Are you not supposed to cut the grass before the game?” questioned Sir Alex Ferguson. Indeed. Why the Chelsea groundsmen were mowing the lawn after the game and why they were so offended at where our players were warming down just adds further suspicion to the whole thing.

Regardless, this unfortunate situation has rumbled on far too long already, when you consider the event took place on April 26th. With Chelsea now being charged by the FA for not keeping their groundsman in check, the hearing that was supposed to take place this week has now been delayed to next month. They will argue that they didn’t fail to ensure that Bethell conducted himself in an orderly fashion and refrained from using racist, abusive and provocative language.

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Tony_Oldham says:

    By waiting till November if the FA are planning on banning Evra which is a high possibility as they are pricks. By waiting till November to hand the ban out there is the chance Evra could miss Arsenal, Villa and City all away. Unlike October which has a much easier fixtures for us. possibly a conspiracy theory but nothing suprises you with the Fa.

  2. Tom F says:

    Well, you know what Chelsea supporters are like. If you don’t, then I do because I spend most of my life surrounded by the fucking twats.

    This is only a case based on racism, that’s nothing too serious for the FA to deal with efficiently. I guess they have a few players to put in line for being disrespectful to linesmen.

  3. Stephen says:

    What will be intersting is to see how they act over the Sol Campbell incident, how quickly and what punishment.

  4. OP says:

    I don’t agree with the fact Evra should rise above a racist comment. Also it isn’t clear that he started the punches, he may have gone over and queired the racist and then got a shove.

    He should take action and draw attention to the ignorant prick who chose to make an entirely unacceptable comment. Ignoring racism is only one step away from condoning it.

    If Evra gets a ban the FA are a joke. Bethall or whatever his name is should be forced to walk down Warwick Road on a match day with a sandwich board saying ‘I am a racist’ and get various pieces of rotten fruit thrown at him.

    This guy Bethall is probably one of Mariner and Frains lot.

  5. jmyers says:

    Interesting comments. As neither a Chelsea or ManU fan may I say that guests should behave when in another’s home and that includes football players. If asked to move, they should have done so. The racist allegation was not made until some days afterwards. Why? It is easy to cry racism everytime there is an incident of any sort. I myself have been targeted because of my race more than once. I put it down to ignorance and I certainly wouldn’t go crying to the authorities. More respect for Mr. Evra if he’d behave like a man and not a crybaby.

  6. Stephen says:

    That is rubbish, firstly Evra did not bring up the issue, so calling him a cry baby is a falsehood, and secondly do you want these racist bigots going around abusing people scott free? I certainly don’t I hoped we all had moved on from those days.

  7. Markus Revolver says:

    oh yeah jmyers because a team isn’t allowed to warm down after a game are they?

  8. An observer says:

    I was working in one of the boxes when the event took place and am a supporter of neither club. I sort of saw events unfold but did not really take notice till it all blew up. I was not in earshot of anything.

    The groundsmen and united players were on opposite sides of the pitch each getting on with their own business for quite some time before the incident. Having finished their part evidently the groundsmen asked the united players to swap sides so they could get on with their work.

    According to what fed back to the boxes at the time the united players refused to move over and it was after that that things got heated.

    Whilst nothing condones what is alledged to have been said, if the united players had acceded to the request (which I guess happens every week) then nothing would have happened (as it doesn’t every other week). United had been beaten in an important match and they were feeling hard done by. Its not hard to imagine them still pumped up and refusing to move for a mere groundsman, a Chelsea one at that.

    I had not seed Fergusons comment about cutting the grass before a game but if that is true every utterance he makes just goes to show how biased and one sided most of the things he comes out with. Every pitch is attended to immediately after a game, I am sure Old Trafford is no different and he would of course know that better than most.

  9. Scott the Red says:

    I worked at Old Trafford in my late teens and I can assure you our groundsman weren’t mowing the lawn after the match.

    You’re honestly saying the Chelsea groundsman cut the grass AFTER every game?

  10. An observer says:

    You just look behind Richard Keys after any game and you will see groundsmen at work

  11. suhayl says:

    OP spot on. Evra was right to do what he did… Ignoring racist bigots and theie behaviour is just as worse as here.

    Typical fuckin FA tho…bet evra…. he’ll get a five match ban for trying to kick racism out of football.

  12. oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo says:

    the thing is, about 3 days later they were gonna play liverpool in the cl semifinal, i don’t know any club who wouldn’t want their pitch to look nice for the cl. all it shows is a total lack of class from your players. if you’re asked to move, then move.

  13. Scott the Red says:

    An observer – you keep saying ‘groundsman at work’. Yes, I can imagine the groundsman going round and stamping on loose bits of grass/soil, but that’s a small job for a few men, and it’s a pointless one whilst there are still players running on the pitch.

    This team of groundsman had lawnmowers, so I ask the question again, are you honestly telling me that the Chelsea groundstaff CUT THE GRASS after every game, whilst there are still players taking part in the warm down?

  14. Stephen says:

    “As neither a Chelsea or ManU fan may I say that guests should behave when in another’s home and that includes football players”
    But surely you should look after and cater for your guests needs, not hurl racial insults insults at them?

  15. An observer says:

    Scott the Red at 17.21.

    Cut the grass after every game? – I dont know. But in summer grass grows and maybe they had sunday off and they wanted to get home. It does not really matter unless you start from the premise that they got all these lawnmowers out just to piss off the united players. That seems highly unlikely to me. I just assume they were doing their job when “billy big boy” footballer started to be unhelpful. Whilst hopefully doing noone a disservice you are not talking Nobel prizewinners here on either side of this argument.

  16. Scott the Red says:

    So they cut the grass before the game, I assume, as that is the done thing, then because it was summer and the grass grows quickly, 90 minutes later the whole staff had to be on the field (moments after United had lost what could have been a crucial game in the title race) to mow the lawn again?

    Or could it quite possibly be that there was no need for the groundstaff team to be on the pitch when United just wanted to get on with their warm down (and start the long journey back up to London, contemplating the fact they might have just blown the title), and were there as a wind up?

    Regardless, if Bethell called Evra an immigrant, which there is strong evidence to suggest he did, does it matter one bit where United players were warming down? Surely no one agrees that ‘being difficult’ means racist insults are called for…

  17. OTRed says:

    @An Observer: you’re not the same twat that commented on the Possebon injury, are you? If you’re than i really wonder why other users are even bothering replying to your post, they should know better by now that after the rubbish you posted on that topic, you’re really not mentally sane to carry on an argument.

  18. An observer says:

    No! Never been to this site before and only looked in because of the thread title and the fact I knew something about it.

    Not quite sure how you respond to what I thought was a reasonably unbiased observation from someone who at least witnessed part of the story (which no one else on here patently has) to me somehow not being mentally sane.

    I find the amount of paranoia quite amusing. The thought that groundsmen would go to work on a pitch just to wind up some footballers is beyond reasonable belief, I dont know how when or why they choose to cut the grass then but as I said first out both parties were on different parts of the pitch for some time with no problem. It was only when the united players refused a request to move to another part of the pitch that the trouble started. That of course still does not condone what is alledged to have been said

  19. Squiddy says:

    On Evra: the outcome from the FA recently revealed that Evra was not going to provide a defence for his actions. He didn’t run across the pitch to attack the groundsman because of what he was called. He either didn’t hear what was said or didn’t understand them. The claim of a racist comment (and even calling someone an immigrant isn’t racist in any way – it’s factual. Calling him an ILLEGAL immigrant might have racial overtones, but that’s not what’s claimed) comes from Mike Phelan in a tit for tat way of getting someone else in trouble because his guy is getting in trouble for something else.

    If English isn’t your first language “idiot” might well sound like “immigrant” from 30 yards away.

    Teams are allowed to warm down, but are not permitted to run across the penalty areas. That’s forbidden. It was the penalty area that was being run across and it was that area that the players were told to move away from.

    The groundsmen had been instructed to start work immediately on repairing the pitch due to the CL Semi 2nd leg 3 days later.

    No lawnmower was used. The equipment being used was a kind of hoovering device. All comments about lawnmowers is based on ignorance, which seems to be a commodity in plentiful supply here.

    No charges for making racial remarks will stand up because only the Utd staff claim that. It’s denied and there’s no way that it can be proved or disproved. Chelsea will be found guilty of not making groundstaff’s contracts include being subject to FA rules. This is true. But it seems even the Secretaries and Box Office and tea lady need to be subject to FA rules, which is clearly the height of stupidity.

    Chelsea are guilty of winning. That’s usually the way these things turn out.

    Forever in our shadow.

  20. Scott the Red says:

    Squiddy – I stopped reading when you said calling someone “a fucking immigrant” isn’t racist.

  21. FailsworthDevil says:

    An observer… do me a favour come and cut my grass…. ya prick !!

  22. An observer says:


    Such erudite argument – the spirit of Oscar Wilde lives on


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