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No Excuses For Football Viloence

No Excuses For Football Viloence

Football is all about grown men acting as they did when they were boys. Watch the delight when they score, the misery when the other team scores, the ill-judged tackles and the petulance shown by both players and staff whenever something goes against them. On the pitch, they’re just kids running about, dreaming of glory, but off the pitch it’s a different story.

 

You can excuse players getting hot and bothered in the pursuit of success on the field, lashing out in the heat of the moment. After the final whistle blows, professional footballers know that they and the opposition are all in the same business, and petty spats on the pitch are usually forgotten. Meanwhile, all around them, idiots who mostly don’t care about the game, let alone the result, scream threats and abuse at each other from opposite ends of the ground.

 

Anyone who loves football hoped that this illness had been cured, with only sporadic relapses since the dark days of the 1970s and 1980s. It has almost gone, be assured, and the recent scenes in Glasgow were something unique. Sure, there is rivalry, even hatred, in north London, south London, Manchester and Birmingham, but less so in Liverpool between its two most famous clubs, although over time even the peaceful coexistence between Blue and Red Scousers is dwindling.

 

Glasgowis a divided city, shared between Irish Catholics and British Protestants, and it is this history of real violence, of bombs and slaughter of innocents, that is tamely replicated at Old Firm games. It’s not just Celtic against Rangers – it’s Catholic against Protestant. This is nothing to do with football, it’s just that the match is seen as a venue for a sectarian fight, which unfortunately involves players as well as spectators.

 

A happier scene of football violence was witnessed at Havant & Waterlooville’s recent match against Dorchester Town, when a pitch invader, dressed in a Borat-style mankini, was superbly rugby-tackled by Dorchester’s player-manager, Ashley Vickers. Unfortunately, and according to the law, Vickers was red-carded for violent conduct. No-one got hurt, neither player or spectator.