Tottenham fans set aside rivalry for Arsenal wonderkid Bukayo Saka in pre-season friendly
Bukayo Saka was welcomed onto the field against Tottenham Hotspur in an emphatic fashion by the fans inside the stadium. If a neutral fan had just switched on the match at that point, they would have thought the stadium was full of Arsenal fans.
But it wasn’t, and the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, full of Spurs fans, gave a rousing reception to Saka and clapped for him in unison as he came on in the 63rd-minute of their Mind Series pre-season friendly to replace Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
The youngster had missed England’s decisive penalty against Italy in the final of the 2020 UEFA Euros. That was all the incentive dull-witted racists and trolls needed to pelt the 19-year-old with despicable abuse.
Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford, the other two players to miss their spot-kicks, were also targeted. And while it is common human decency to oppose something as objectively wrong as racism, it becomes important to bring to the fore the reaction that Saka received from Spurs fans.
Spurs fans welcome Saka with applause
If we do not highlight the goodness that we have in the sport, and in our society, the world would be a very bleak place. Spurs fans knew that a little gesture would go a long way in making Saka feel like he is not alone.
It showed that discrimination, racism, bigotry, and hatred is something that the whole world unites against and fights together, no matter what their allegiances are on the football field.
Spurs and the Gunners share one of the most heated rivalries in all sports. But for matters such as this, there is no Red and White, and Saka’s little applause to the Spurs fans cheering for him was evidence enough that such gestures from supporters can make all the difference at times like this.
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After the game, which Spurs won via a goal from Son Heung-min, the focus still rightly remained on Saka’s reception. And Tottenham fans were on hand to show their support to the teenage winger on social media as well.
Nice moment. Shows that the real toxic fans are those on social media and not in the stands. Just read the comments in this tweet and you get why this was a class moment
— The Archetype (@Archetype42) August 8, 2021
— jack (@jack82663324) August 8, 2021