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What A Surprise… Chelsea Charged Over Racist Groundsman

As was said on RoM, there was little doubt that Sam Bethell, the Chelsea groundsman who fought with Patrice Evra following our defeat at Stamford Bridge last season, had been guilty of a racist attack.

Whilst Chelsea pleaded innocence, not much was made of the fact by claiming Bethell had done no wrong, the blues were therefore saying Gary Neville, Mike Phelan, Carlos Tevez and Gerard Pique were all lying. This is a pretty shoddy thing to do. Lying to protect a team mate from trouble is one thing, but to knowingly falsely accuse someone of racism would be bang out of line. By defending Bethell, that is exactly what Chelsea were suggesting.

At the time, I raised the point that when Chelsea said there was “no foundation” to our claims of racist abuse, they were massively insulting our players and staff. They were backing the wrong horse though and now will have to pay the price. The consequences that should come with publicly backing a racist over well respected members of the United team should be far further reaching than just the punishment the FA have dished out.

They have been charged with breaching FA Rules in relation to the conduct of their groundsman. Originally, the FA charged Bethell himself but the charges were dismissed as it was ruled at a preliminary hearing that the association did not have jurisdiction over him due to Chelsea’s failure to inform him that he was liable. As a result, Chelsea have now been charged for failing to notify Bethell that he was subject to The FA rules and regulations in his contract.

“Firstly, the club has been charged with a breach of FA Rule E.20(a) for failing to ensure that Bethell conducted himself in an orderly fashion and/or refrained from any one or a combination of racist and/or abusive and/or provocative conduct and/or language,” read a statement from the FA. “The charge arises out of a disciplinary case against Sam Bethell himself, who was charged with improper conduct in relation to an altercation with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Stamford Bridge on 26 April. He was also charged with using abusive language aggravated by reference to nationality/race.”

Result! It was painfully obvious that Bethell had been racist towards Evra, following ours player’s reaction and all the statements in support from our end, yet still Chelsea were hell-bent on defending their employee. To offer so much support to a man now exposed as a racist does nothing for Chelsea’s image, which doesn’t exactly have a blemish free record where racism is involved!

The important point to note here though is that this isn’t United vs Chelsea. Had it been United players and Chelsea players battling it out, with supposed racism comments being flung between them (like JT vs Tevez), then I could understand why the club and their fans would be determined to clear their name. However, I cannot understand for the life of me whilst they are so keen to defend a groundsman ahead of the likes of our team captain, Gary Neville, our assistant manager, Mike Phelan, as well as Carlos Tevez and Gerard Pique. I cannot understand why they would rather believe that all those United representatives have lied, then accept the probability of a racist amongst on the pay roll.

Evra will have his personal hearing on October 2nd and I am happy for him to be punished in any reasonable way that the FA see fit. He was still wrong for reacting to that racist prick and that will come at a cost. But at least he can take that punishment knowing that he’s got the full support of fans, as well as any decent people anywhere, for doing his bit to kick, or punch, racism out of football!

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. ChelseaR says:

    You’ve got that all wrong.

    The Groundsman was charged BUT all charges against him have been dropped. Nothing has been proven at all. The charges were dropped on a technicality – that being that Chelsea had not informed their groundsman that the FA had jurisdiction over his action. A new charge has been levied at Chelsea that they failed in their duties to inform an employee that the FA has authority here. The charge of assault against Evra still stands – again as yet unproven.

    So . . . .what do we know? Exactly as we did before – nothing. You feel that Man Utd players were innocent and I feel that Chelsea staff were. But as yet Evra still faces a charge.

    I wonder if a technicality is found to drop that charge as well – perhaps the Groundsman can’t give evidence and so many months after the furore it all goes away quietly.

    You will still believe Man Utd were innocent and I will still believe Chelsea were. All we will KNOW is that the FA are pathetic.

    One other thing I do know is that the private security staff who work at Chelsea had to break it up are the ones who probably do know – by the way they are a predominantly black workforce

  2. An Irish MAN UNITED FAN says:

    evra shouldnt of reacted to him but cause he did this racist wanna be rentboy got found out

  3. austin says:

    chelsea r- u idiot. do u really believe that all the man united players are telling lies to get this buffoon done?!

  4. ChelseaR says:

    Austin – thanks for the insult. I didn’t realise you struggled with comprehension – but let’s try again.

    No, I don’t believe that a group of Man Utd players all got together and lied to get a groundsman charged.

    However how about the scenario of a groundsman and a player fighting and the Man Utd players lying to protect a fellow player (Evra) by making up a first rate excuse for a fight – now neither you or I know whether that is the truth – but surely you can’t suggest such a lie is ‘beyond belief’

  5. J says:

    The groundsman was trying to act hard, but it didn’t pay off, though he should of tried this in the chelski shower room. sorry bumboy not groundsman.

  6. Stephen says:

    Chelsea I think we all know what happened, the guy is a bigot, and Evra reacted badly, but understandably.

  7. Bob Koh says:

    This was obviously a racist thing which everybody connected with Chelsea will try to defend because Sam Bethell is/was a Chelsea employee and, if defence is weak due to the evidences provided by Gary Neville & teammates, will try to ‘muddy the water’ over so that somehow the case will fade from memory and somehow the FA will withdraw the charges. Period.

  8. Sam says:

    i think it’s interesting that the FA have appealed to FIFA about the abuse Heskey recieved in Croatia last night. The FA need to be consistent with how they treat racism, they can’t demand Croatia be punished and then turn a blind eye to it on their own doorstep. Evra will be punished and i have no problem with that, he retaliated like many united players before him have been found guilty of. As for United players and staff lying, i don’t think that’s true unlike the other chelsea staff who will have heard what went on and have remained silent.

  9. Simmo says:

    Bethell deserves a good kicking! Racist scumbag. At least he at the right club!!

  10. FailsworthDevil says:

    Typical Rent Boy attitude… at the end of the day.. this pillock who had a go at Evra… is nothing but a glorified Flymo Pusher… and look at the size of the overballoned muffin compared to Evra…

    Typical cockney bollox… lets pick on the little guy…

    I hope chelsea get fucked over for it… but they wont… probably be a 10k fine.. which Abramovich earns whilst wiping his Ruskdi arse…

    I tell ya… nothing but a bunch of shandy supping fairies these Chelski…

    Evra wont have anything done to him (which he shouldnt be being punished anyway id like to add)… probably come out with an FA statement, saying that he has been reminded about his duty of conduct, before and after a game.. etc etc blah blah the usual shite that comes out of the FA.

  11. Jemima says:

    Nice ironic bit of casual racism in the last post there, congrats

  12. Kevin says:

    ChelseaR – I salute your attempt of sticking up for your team. Yes we will not agree on the issue because you have decided that the United players aren’t credible because they may have made up the story. Its equally as possible he did say it, and now he is lying. The bottom line is I have never seen Evra react with much anger on the pitch and never have heard reports of him getting in fights before. So, when a seemingly calm individual reacts like that to a grounds keeper making comments to him, it doesn’t seem to add up. It does however make more logical sense that the players and Evra all heard the man make an inappropriate comment and they all reacted, as did Evra. Evra should not have reacted to any comments but its important to remember many of us don’t know how it feels to be the brunt of racist remarks. I hope Evra is not punished in too severe of a manner and certainly hope the man who made the remarks is punished and shouldn’t be allowed in the stadium again. Racism has to be treated with no tolerance and if the FA screw this up it could be a horrible message to black players in England.

  13. Drew Vader says:

    I would pay money to see that prick say something racist to Essien or Drogba…But he prolly wouldnt dare cuz they aren’t 5 foot nothing like Evra

  14. FailsworthDevil says:

    Drew Vadar… i agree …. “May the force be with you”… (am sit here trying to do my darth vadar impression).

  15. Jemima says:

    Please do a self-asphyxiation impression next.

  16. suhayl says:

    evra in my opinion was entitled to have a go. Ive been a victim of racist abuse….and the people that stand about and remain quiet and ignore it are JUST as worse as the fuckin bastards that cause it.

    Good to hear and see Scott that you make some strong words against racism esp in football in the article. And i hope you also take a firm stance against bloggers on here who make racist comments….as has been the case in months years gone by.

    long Live evra

    Jemima….failsworthdevil…i love you both.

    Failsworth you speak from a true utd heart like me.
    And jemima your dry humour does put a smile on my face

  17. FailsworthDevil says:

    Jemima… if whit was shit… you would be constipated…. do us a favour sweetheart… go into a chatroom on the “takeabreak” website..

    or take a look at


    Suhayl mate… what score you going for today?? ive got 2-1 in my head… and do believe berba is gonna score… and roonster will be fired up for this after his brilliant perfomance for england.

  18. FailsworthDevil says:

    Jemima… the links aint real…. just thought id let you know, coz i know what women are like with computers… lol

  19. suhayl says:

    failsworth…got your message too late…and we ve now lost..flaimn sick as a parrot mate…sick to the teeth


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