By Mike Woitalla
Chelsea has banned three fans, including two who were arrested during an FA Cup
game with Tottenham Hotspur, for throwing celery stalks onto the field.
The culprits had ignored a warning from the club to keep their celery at home.
''Anyone who attempts to bring celery into Stamford Bridge could be refused entry
and anyone caught throwing it will face a ban,'' cautioned the club, which also
set up a hotline for those willing to snitch on celery tossers.
The English FA launched an investigation after celery flew from the
Chelsea fan sections in two previous games.
Blues fans have been bringing celery stalks to games for years - but usually
tossed them to each other while singing an off-color tune - ''The Celery Song'' -
about an unorthodox use of the vegetable.
The recent crackdown came after celery rained down on Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas while taking a corner kick. The Spaniard was not harmed.
Duleep Allirajah of Spiked-online.com investigated the history of food-throwing at English soccer games.
After contacting the Football Licensing Authority and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, he reported that although a linesman was struck in 2002 by a half-eaten meat pie at Millwall's New Den, there have been no documented
injuries from vegetable missiles.