Ex-pro turned pundit and football executive Eni Aluko has been “scared this week” and has felt her personal safety was “under threat” following abuse from former Manchester City player, Joey Barton, and others online, so much so that she has now left the country for a spell.
The retired Lioness and WSL hall of famer, who currently works as a sports broadcaster for the likes of ITV, TNT Sport and more, revealed in a lengthy social media post that she didn’t leave the house for the best part of a week following the misogynistic and hateful comments made by Barton.
Barton retired in 2017 and has since gone on to manage Fleetwood Town and Bristol Rovers, but also has his own podcast as well as being very vocal on social media, through which he caused a huge uproar by taking aim at both Aluko and fellow pundit Lucy Ward over their match analysis earlier this month.
The 41-year-old said, “How is she even talking about men’s football. She can’t even kick a ball properly”, in a post on X, before going on to equate the two commentators to serial killers by dubbing them “the Fred and Rose West of football commentary.” Aluko has finally addressed the situation.
The former Birmingham, Chelsea, Juventus and England star stated that “online abuse has a direct impact on your safety and how safe you feel in real life”, reiterating that she genuinely felt like something might happen to her following the torrent of sexist abuse that his comments ultimately helped spark.
Aluko and Ward are also reportedly considering taking legal action against Barton following his misogynistic rant and for what many have labelled “dangerous comments” — including the Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Stuart Andrew.
The MP said that Barton’s comments could “open the floodgates for abuse [which they already have] and that’s not acceptable”, adding that he didn’t to give people like Barton “the oxygen to fuel” further offensive behaviour. It is thought that the government could also look into any legal proceedings.
ITV Sport issued an official response following the Merseysider’s comments on Friday, 12 January, sharing a heartfelt statement of solidarity and condemning Barton for using his industry position and social media presence to dish out “such vindictive remarks based on gender”.
The ITV dubbed his comments “contemptible and shameful”, with countless people around the country echoing the sentiment but he still has a select following and there are plenty online who share his problematic views latching on to the rhetoric.
Barton — who was sacked from his job at Bristol in October 2023 after just 13 games — is no stranger to sharing questionable and often inappropriate opinions online and has been targeting women in football in particular of late, and has only doubled down in his position since the controversy.
As Eni Aluko goes on to emphasise, “racism, sexism and misogyny” continue to create a culture where “people don’t want to go to work or leave their house”, stressing that her fear is that similar abuse could be dished out in the future and lead to a tragedy such as someone taking their own life.
For anyone suffering from online abuse, you can find helpful resources below. If you need to talk to someone, please get in touch with the Samaritans on 116 123 and if you believe you or someone you know is at immediate risk, daily 999 immediately.
Bright Sky App – hestia.org
Safer Online – saferonline.org
Stop Online Abuse – stoponlineabuse.org.uk
Disrespect Nobody – disrespectnobody.co.uk
Get Safe Online – getsafeonline.org
UK Safer Internet Centre – www.saferinternet.org.uk
Featured Images — ITV/Common Sense Pod (via TikTok)/Eni Aluk (via IG)
GMP officer sacked for using ‘racially aggravated language’ to colleagues
A serving Manchester police officer has been sacked after making “offensive and derogatory” remarks to his colleagues.
PC Radoslaw Mikulski – who worked in Greater Manchester Police‘s (GMP) Trafford district, and had been on restricted duties since October 2022 – was officially dismissed from his role with immediate effect this week (19 February) following an accelerated misconduct meeting at GMP’s headquarters.
It comes after the police officer used “racially aggravated language” on two separate occasions.
The “offensive” language was used in private meetings to colleagues in September and October 2022 – with the first use referring to an incident, and the second about a member of the public.
After a debrief into the first incident, GMP advised PC Mikulski that this type of language was “inappropriate”, and he then went on to admit that his behaviour amounted to gross misconduct and subsequently apologised.
He did, however, explain in the hearing this week that his comments in the first case “referred to an incident, rather than a person”.
PC Mikulski’s actions were reported to GMP’s Professional Standards Directorate, who then carried out an internal investigation which led to disciplinary proceedings.
Chief Constable Stephen Watson – who presided over the hearing this week – agreed that the behaviour amounted to gross misconduct, and that PC Mikulski had therefore “breached the standards” of Equality and Diversity, as well as Authority, Respect and Courtesy.
In dismissing the officer, CC Watson accepted that PC Mikulski’s use of the derogatory term had not been “malicious”.
But he said that despite this acceptance, this type of language is still “highly offensive” and ultimately “falls below what the public rightly expects”, adding: “Racially aggravated language always constitutes an aggravating factor, and there is a risk of the trust of minority communities [in the police] being harmed.”
CC Watson also ordered PC Mikulski’s name to be added to the College of Policing Barred List.
Featured Image – GMP
Stockport County create a new community mural with young street artists in Edgeley
Stockport County is creating a brand new mural with a group of young street artists from the local area and a little help from one of their squad members.
This past February half-term, the Greater Manchester football club enlisted the help of some schoolkids and aspiring artists, along with local creatives from around the area to create a brand new piece of artwork right in the heart of the community.
With some paint, plenty of spray cans and the expertise of Manc muralist and designer, Oskar With A K, and poet Ruth Awolola, a dozen local secondary school pupils helped write, design and paint the mural — taking inspiration directly from the club and the thriving fan culture in Stockport.
There is no chant more iconic and important to the Hatters than their famous ‘The Scarf My Father Worse’ song and that’s exactly what the local artists have decided to immortalise.
The painting process began on Friday, 16 February and, as you can see, they even managed to rope in County defender Ethan Pye came along to lend a hand with the mural, armed with a can of spray paint to help the young people bring their ideas to life.
Being developed by the Stockport County Community Trust in collaboration with North West organisations, GRIT Studios and The Writing Squad, ‘The Scarf My Father Wore’ project has received £14,800 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Popping in a prime location on the corner of Castle Street and Mercian Way — just metres away from the Edgeley Park stadium and right at the beginning of the local village high street — this vibrant work of art will be passed by thousands of commuters and pedestrians every day.
Being brought to life in brilliant blue and white in line with the club’s colour scheme and proudly printing the title of the famous chant on the wall along with stencils of the County crest, footballs and many other details, it sits pride of place in the Stockport suburb.
Much like the historic chant and the symbolic scarf itself, this brilliant piece of street art will be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come, as well as make sure the club continues to play a key role in local culture.
County’s Community Trust CEO Alison Warwood said: “This project shows how art and writing by young people can make a real difference to the local community, and I can’t wait to see the end result.”
John Macaulay from GRIT Studios added: “We’re thrilled to be involved in such a collaborative and community-spirited initiative. Our young artists will be helping to create a lasting landmark that will become a focal point in Edgeley for years to come.”
With the Hatters currently top of the League Two table and looking at yet another promotion season, there feels like no better time for fans to wear the club on their sleeve, their scarves around their necks and now up on the wall too.