Anorak News | Wrecking Our Game

Wrecking Our Game

by | 15th, May 2003

‘GIVEN the idiocy of the average football hooligan, the decision by the police to publish photographs of 29 men who invaded the pitch during England’s Euro 2004 qualifier against Turkey is a non-event.

It’s bed with no tea for you, son

Northumbria police, who are circulating the pictures, are keen to name and shame the culprits.

They are keen to try and prevent a repeat of the scenes at Sunderland when England play at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium for the crunch tie with Slovakia on 3 June.

We are no supporters of football hooliganism, and football-related violence is a scar on the national game, but jumping around on the pitch when your team have scored is not the greatest crime.

It is, though, an offence. FA spokesman Paul Barber points out the maximum fine for invading the field of play is £1,000. He’s duly called on magistrates to fine the offenders the maximum amount.

He goes on to say: ”Pitch invasions are not clever and they’re not cool. The players don’t like it.”

It’s as if the FA has adopted the broken window policy, the line of thought best espoused by the former mayor of New York, Rudolph Guiliani, which said that a single broken pane of glass leads to more crime. Neglect fosters crime and fear.

It’s just that the FA has chosen to repair the fractured glass while all around the yobbos are removing the bricks.

The FA had also said those who were convicted of offences at Sunderland would be banned from watching the national side for life.

Whether this ban includes watching England on TV as well as from the stands is not stated, but you can bet that if asked the FA would answer to the affirmative.

They want to be seen to be doing something about a problem that is already out of hand.

The police can only stop a few criminals from spoiling the fun. They can arrest, stick pictures up, name and shame all they want but the culture of football violence is so ingrained that removing 29 rotten apples from the badly damaged barrel is useless.

If the FA is truly serious about ridding the game of its criminal element, they should exercise a zero-tolerance policy, and talk to the idiots like the overdeveloped children they are.

The next one who boos another country’s national anthem can stay behind while everyone else can go.

Had they done this years ago, the berks could have been locked in the old Wembley.

How we would have cheered as the wrecking balls swung into action…

Posted: 15th, May 2003 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink