Football clubs should, generally, stick to football.
Staines Town FC decided to try out rifle-shooting, and as a consequence has managed to ruffle a lot of feathers.
Apparently, the cleaner at the ground had been having huge problems keeping the stands spick and span. The mess wasn't caused by football fans leaving their rubbish behind (or indeed the broken dreams discarded by the team - the 'Staines Massive' are still a bit of a trek from the English Premier League) but by pigeons incessantly crapping all over the spectator seats.
The solution chosen by management? Get someone with a gun to come and shoot as many of the blighters as they can. Fifteen of them, in total. We're not sure if they decided to make this a bizarre half-time entertainment slot in a match, but it would certainly beat a plate of orange segments.
'PigeonGate' caused a hefty rumpus on the Staines FC web forum, which now seems to have been taken down from the site. The club had come under fire from animal welfare activists condemning the management's "barbaric and unethical" behaviour. Some choice quotes in response from Angie Payne (Mrs), the club's Commercial Manager:
I'm definitely no lady when it comes to replying to weirdos who send me emails, about a load of stinking birds who have spoilt the enjoyment of hundreds of sports fans who cannot use half the seating allocated to them.
Urm, we're guessing that replying to complainants calling them 'weirdos' isn't the most diplomatic/consensus-inspiring approach. Note to self - don't send Mrs P to the Middle-East to seek a comprehensive solution to Palestine...
There are much more important things going on in the world at the moment without people worrying about a few birds.
Well, yes - we doubt this is top item in President-elect Barack Obama's oft-cited in-tray: Iraq; Afghanistan; Global Economic Crisis; Pigeon-shit issues at a West London football club. But that doesn't mean people shouldn't notice when you start brandishing a shotgun and killing things...
Please if there are any pidgeon fans out there dont start having a go at me, they were a bloody nuisance and if I'd had a gun I would have done it myself.
Hang on, is this potentially Staines' answer to the other 'Mrs P' - Sarah Palin? A gun-toting local football manager? *gulps*
Wherever this ends up, it's clear that football management should focus on football, and leave animal welfare to others. There are more important things to worry about, Mrs P, such as improving the club's performance on the pitch - focus on getting the club up to Conference League rather then developing a taste for the smell of live ammo and burning pigeon flesh.
Image from Trevor D.'s photostream