There have been further important developments with the Football Lads Alliance (FLA).
Last Saturday Chelsea supporters held their own “march against extremism”, laying wreaths at the Cenotaph at Whitehall. This follows on from the FLA march on 24 June.
Banners were held up against “Islamic Extremism” on Saturday’s march but no mention was made of the terrorist attack on Finsbury Park Mosque or the death of Labour MP Jo Cox at the hands of a right wing extremist.
FLA leader John Meighan joined last Saturday’s march.
Meighan is getting things organised to “spread the word” as the season begins. The following message went out to FLA supporters.
“As I outlined last night my intention is to get the message of the FLA to the people on the streets, and what better way to start that than on a match day.
“Throughout the course of the season I will travel to grounds up and down the UK to get word out, and in time work with lads/fans from each team to help support this thinking through simple leaflet drops.
“I will be away on the first weekend of league football this season, so will be travelling to the following grounds on the 11th/12th August:
“Friday 11th Aug – Arsenal v Leicester
Saturday 12th Aug – Watford v Liverpool
Saturday 12th Aug – Chelsea v Burnley
“Looking forward to meeting as many people on the day as possible, on the streets in the pubs
Meighan also announced plans to develop the FLA identity.
“Hello to the people of ‘The FLA’
“What can I say, you have spoken; we now have an identity, and something we can call ours.
“To respond to everyone’s questions about merchandising, I have the below note:
“- The official FLA website is being tailored as we speak, and will be launched later in the week
“- The Official FLA T-Shirt & Pin Badge range will be launched, and orders taken later this week
“- Official FLA T-Shirt & Pin Badge Distribution will commence during the early part of next week
“- An extended seasonal ‘Official FLA’ range is being devised
This is just the start of the household name that will become known to millions in the UK and across Europe
“Through having an identity we can continue to grow this together, making sure we make a stand for all those who have lost their lives as a consequence of extremisim, and their families; not forgetting our very own families!
“We are continuing to build an army of likeminded people with one common goal to defeat terror blighting our streets
“Together We Can 👊
We are asking a simple question. Why is the whole movement centred on “Islamic extremism”? All of us were horrified by the attacks in London and Westminster. But every major Muslim organisation condemned these attacks as forcefully as anyone.
And we also know that “Islamic Extremism” isn’t the only source of terrorism. When Labour MP Jo Cox was murdered by Thomas Mair he shouted “Britain First”.
He was linked to far right groups as were others who have been involved in terrorist attacks.
Meighan writes that:
“First and foremost, before reading this I want to make clear that this group is about uniting people for one common cause, and that’s what me as the founder wants to achieve more than anyone!
“This post will set out the ground-rules for the FLA FB page and future marches
“What we need to make clear is that Racism or inflammatory comments of any nature will not be accepted. We are all for heathy debate, but a line has to be drawn”.
But police are now investigating someone who was held up by the FLA as “the Lion of London Bridge”, Roy Larner.
The FLA hailed him as a hero for the role he played during the terror attack at London Bridge.
Larner was recently shown in a video hurling racist abuse at students and ‘spitting in a photographer’s face’. He said he was a National Front supporter. We’re waiting for the FLA to condemn Roy Larner’s extremism.
There is a real danger that the FLA are targeting Muslims and that this will mean targeting Muslim fans and players and dividing ordinary supporters. We don’t want a situation where Muslim fans or players feel they are going to receive a special “welcome” as the season begins.