ADVICE from the Crown Prosecution Service was clear.
When Adam Johnson was charged with three counts of sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl last month, the CPS said: ‘there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online that may prejudice proceedings in the case.’
Unfortunately for the Sunderland winger’s reputation, this hasn’t stopped fans of rival clubs drawing their own conclusions about his actions through football chants and posting it on YouTube.
Appearing in the Kenna League this season for Still Don’t Know Yet, Johnson finds his suspected transgressions at the centre of two equally inappropriate ditties.
Let’s take a look at them in more detail.
The Toon Army chant
Catchy, original and easy to sing over and over again, Newcastle United fans have come up with an enduring terrace mantra.
The use of Slade’s Come On Feel The Noise allows even the most limited vocalist to revel in the P-word, and its simplicity means the lyrics can be picked up quickly by a match goer of little intellect.
Not for the first time in a football song poor grammar – here employed turning the slang verb ‘nonce’ into a noun – can be overlooked. The word ‘fiddling’ could be substituted without threatening the meter.
What cannot be ignored is the legal thin ice on which the chanter stands. The video was uploaded to the internet on 5 April, in between Johnson’s initial arrest (2 March) and his charge (23 April). Publicly pre-empting his sentence and calling him a sex offender could end in litigation if he’s innocent.
Conversely, should Johnson be found guilty this versatile chant can by updated by changing the start of the second line to ‘You’ve been sent down…’
The Red Devils chant
At once more intricate and involved, this chant bears all the hallmarks of an away coach workshopping session.
Again Johnson is labelled a sex offender, but this time there is more detail about the nature and geography of his infringements. Again the same legal pitfalls present themselves.
The chant has two shortcomings. First, although there is comedy value in presuming these misdemeanours occur at Sunderland’s home ground, in reality it doesn’t work.
The Stadium of Light’s city centre location and proximity to the Wearside Audi dealership means it’s likely to be covered with surveillance cameras. If Johnson really wanted to perform these murky deeds on club premises he would be better off in a more secluded spot, like the club’s training ground in the countryside, The Academy of Light near Cleadon.
The second drawback with this chant is despite the obvious time and effort that went into its conception, it fails to capitalise on the full melody of Yanky Doodle Went To Town. There is room for another four lines. Here are some considerations.
1. Since there is already legal compromise, they could take the scenario a little further:
Sticks his digits up their arse
Makes them smell his finger
It’s the only time he’ll score
‘Cos he’s a goal-shy winger
The first two lines are a dangerous supposition, but not even Fleet Street’s finest defamation lawyer could convince a judge that Johnson was prolific in front of goal.
2. The chanter could backtrack on their introductory slander with some qualification:
But we shouldn’t judge too soon
He’s only been arrested
We’ll refrain from saying more
Till DNA’s been tested
That would be one hell of a Jeremy Kyle Show.
Perhaps one day a footballer will be standing outside the Royal Courts of Justice having just won a landmark defamation case against everyone seen singing an inflammatory song in an internet video. Until that day people in a situation like Adam Johnson’s will find the schadenfreude of fans ever ready to make light of matters, always in poor taste but sometimes in a catchy and amusing way.
One thing is clear. At 18th in the Kenna League and staring down the barrel of relegation, the Still Don’t Know Yet manager’s ongoing fantasy football auction strategy of buying ex-Boro players is not paying dividends.
Canesten Combi Cup – semi final first leg results
Team Panda Rules OK 0 – 3 Cowley Casuals
Dynamo Charlton 3 – 2 FC Testiculadew
This weekend – semi final second leg
Kenna table – week 34 of 37
|2||Sporting Lesbian||Ben M||44||2|
|6||KS West Green||Stix||31||0|
|8||Lokomotiv Leeds||Ben S||30||1|
|9||Headless Chickens||John N||30||0|
|11||FC Tescticuladew||James N||26||2|
|12||St Reatham FC||Mike||26||1|
|15||Just Put Carles||Carles||19||1|
|16||Judean People’s Front||Sholto||16||0|
|19||Still Don’t Know Yet||Pete||12||0|
|20||Team Panda Rules OK||George||11||0|
|Player of the week||15||Albrighton, M – LEI – MID|