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Danny Hylton's Eight Match Racism Ban (Aldershot fan's perspective)

Sunday 20th May 2012
Wednesday 24th August 2011, Upton Park. In the away end, I experience my greatest moment as an Aldershot Town fan when Danny Hylton smashes the ball past Ruud Boffin's right hand and into the far corner of the net. It gives us a fully deserved 2-1 victory over West Ham United - the greatest result in the club's history.

Hylton, a product of the club's youth system, had written himself indelibly into Aldershot folklore. His all-action displays were an unforgettable part of our run to the Fourth Round of the Carling Cup, where we had our dream tie against Manchester United. His purple patch was rewarded with the League Two Player of the Month award for October.

The fact that he will miss the first eight matches of the coming season is therefore a bitter disappointment.

On Friday, Hylton was found guilty of two counts of racial abuse relating to a post-match fracas against Barnet at Underhill on the 15th October (ironically the same day of the Suárez/Evra incident). In addition to his ban, he will pay a fine of £1,000.

My reaction upon hearing the news was one of anger, mostly directed towards Hylton himself. How could he be so foolish as to bring someone's race into a situation of conflict? Initially I wanted him to never play for the club again.

Having had time to reflect, my feelings have mellowed. Hylton was still grossly foolish, but rather than hoping for his swift removal from the football club, I hope he stays, knuckles down and learns.

That might sound clichéd, but Hylton is the kind of player who runs around all over the pitch and who can on the one hand get carried away with adrenalin, and on the other be overcome with petulance. His hyperactive style of play, while one of his most endearing hallmarks to supporters and fellow players alike, could also be potentially cited as a major hindrance to his improvement both as a footballer, and as a professional.

I have no problem with the decision itself. I do not believe that the FA would bestow a sentence like this lightly, and I cannot accept that the FA's perceived (and perhaps actual) incompetence in other areas of its administration is a reason to doubt the validity of this verdict.

I hope, most of all, that the club takes this view as well. There was no sight more unedifying this season than Liverpool's conduct during the aftermath of the Luis Suárez affair, and it would break my heart if my club were to adopt such a grotesque strategy.

Indeed, the lack of any statement from club or player days after the verdict is worrying, but I hope that the delay is due to an attempt to try and release a statement which strikes the right chord, rather than the start of a protracted appeals process.

Accept it, apologise and move on. It would be better for everyone if this was the case.
Ali Brookman

Total articles: 6

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