Fans abuse ex-PNE player after he reports them for ‘sick’ chants

Kevin Kilbane
Kevin Kilbane
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Vile football fans have subjected former Preston North End star Kevin Kilbane to sickening abuse on social media after he reported West Ham supporters for “disgusting” chants mocking disabled people.

The Match of the Day pundit urged the FA to act after Tottenham striker Harry Kane was described with a derogatory term for people with learning difficulties during Sunday’s 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane.

Kilbane, whose 10-year-old daughter Elsie has Down’s Syndrome, angrily contacted the game’s governing body and an investigation was immediately launched.

“In all my time playing and watching football I have never heard this before,” said Kilbane, who was born in Preston and played 55 times for his hometown club.

“Hopefully we can do something to make sure it isn’t again and this awful chant does not spread.”

But bitter Hammers’ fans struck back with some abusive messages on Twitter, some too distasteful to publish.

One accused the former Republic of Ireland international of “making a mountain out of a molehill” and also “ruining the game and ruining the atmosphere.”

Another stormed: “Sounds like an old washed up footballer needing five more minutes of fame.”

A third said: “You made yourself look a mug getting involved, you irrelevent little grass.”

Kilbane, who is a patron of the Down’s Syndrome Association, revealed he had decided to report the “sick” chants to the FA because he felt they were just as bad as racism or homophobic abuse.

In a message to football’s equality and inclusion organisation Kick It Out, he said: “It insults anyone who has a disability, along with their families. It is a disgraceful chant.”

He added: “I’m sure they understand they are causing offence. You can’t sweep it under the carpet and label it as ignorance. It is visible and clear and, like racist or homophobic chanting, it is intended to cause offence.

“I want to be able to take my kids to football matches and when Elsie gets older she will understand about her condition and I don’t want her to hear that kind of chanting. If her sister Isla heard it she would be devastated too.

“I have spoken to the FA and they have assured me they will investigate it thoroughly.”

A spokesman for Kick It Out said the group had also made an approach to the FA. “We are awaiting the outcome.”