Prodigal son Ross Barkley returned to Goodison Park for the first time on Sunday, and received a strong and hostile reception, as was expected after his certainly not non-acrimonous and controversial move to Chelsea, which even got the Mayor of Liverpool all hot and bothered.
Donning a non-Everton shirt for the first time in his career in front of his hometown crowd, heavy boos rained down on Ross’s head — though, to his credit, his performance seemed unaffected by them outside of one lashed-at wayward shot (he certainly wasn’t any worse than the rest of Chelsea’s disappointments).
But one Everton fan took things a step too far, and threw an object at Barkley. This incident is now under investigation, with Everton promising “robust action” against the perpetrator(s).
That’s all well and good, but both Everton and The FA have been silent so far on the issue of the abhorred and repeated (at times seemingly constant) homophobic chanting aimed at Chelsea. It’s unfortunately a rather familiar refrain from opposing fans, and one that needs to be kicked out of the game just like racist, antisemitic, and any other discriminatory and abusive songs and behaviors.
After a week where a player was physically assaulted on the pitch, where Ross Barkley was the target of an attempted assault, where Callum Hudson-Odoi was racially abused in Kiev, and where Everton fans were the latest in a long line of opponents to disgrace themselves with homophobic chanting during a Chelsea game, it’s clear that we all need to work much, much harder to make this world a better place.