Throw The Book At Mackie

Last updated : 17 December 2002 By Rob Cooper
After playing very little football during Matthew Upson's period at the club, John Mackie was presented with the chance to impress last Saturday. he 26-year-old was handed a rare first team start following Upson's departure.

Despite a 2-0 defeat to the Blades, Mackie put in a good display for ninety minutes that indicated that he can fill the void left by the departing Gunners hero.

As he left the pitch Royals fans went home believing there was no reason to sign a replacement for Upson.

How wrong they were.

Football doesn't last ninety minutes - there is stoppage time as well. And for Mackie that stoppage time continued as he walked off the pitch down the tunnel.

The racist drama that unfolded as the players trudged off, and later continued pitch as the players warmed down indicated that Mackie does not have the temperment to cope with First Division football.

Along with every other Reading fan my deepest sympathies go out to former Royals star Carl Asaba, the player abused. I hope that he can forget the incident and only remember the good times he had with Reading.

Carl Asaba
Carl Asaba
With football orcastrating a massive campaign to rid the world of racism, Mackie's comments, coming from a position of responsibility, are ill-timed and thoghtless.

Hopefully the FA and PFA will respond to Sheffield United's complaint and throw the book at the disgraced centre-back and send him back to non-league football.

When Roy Keane dealt out his own brand of revenge with a pre-meditated leg-cruncher on Alfe Inge Haaland the media went crazy. Keane was eventually hit with a five match ban and a £150,000 fine.

Saturday's incident involving John Mackie is a lot worse than the Keane one. Keane, although wrong, did not clatter Haaland because he was black. Yes, Keane's cruncher was pre-meditated but how could anyone possibly argue that the scuffle Mackie got himself involved in was not pre-planned in Mackie's mind as he left the field of play?

If a fan was to make racist remarks they would find themselves ejected from the ground and have a ban slapped on them.

Young children watch Mackie play week in week out. They respect him as he is a good footballer. At a young and impressionable age they cannot make their own mind up as to wat is right and what is wrong. They must be taught that racism is wrong. So, for the sake of the next generation, and for the FA to prove that they are serious about kicking racism out of football, Mackie should have the book not thrown but launched at him.

If John Mackie has played his last game for Reading Football Club then I for one will be glad to see the back of him. Don't get me wrong, he is a great player who will be missed. As a defender there are few better in Division One, but as a person there must be few worse.

Racism has no place in football and no place in modern civilisation.