Footie Time

Okay, so I lied. On Friday I said I was going to blog more about banning things in general and the the hunting ban in particular, but I didn’t. I got about halfway through writing it, then got dragged off to a friend’s daughters 18th birthday party and didn’t get round to finishing it.

Note to self: Don’t promise, just deliver. Almost good enough to be a political slogan, but not quite. I think it was Khruschev who said that “They (politicians) promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”

Another thing they are good at are knee-jerk reactions.

The main reason I haven’t written anything thing this weekend is because it was the fifth round of the FA cup with four matches on the telly, plus the Old Firm derby game in Scotland, so what with watching the games and dashing about doing various domestic chores in between, I wasn’t left with much time.

Man U Played Everton at 5.30 on Saturday evening. The home crowd had been well and truly wound up because it was the first match at Goodison for ‘traitor’ Wayne Rooney. How much of it was genuine and how much media hype, I’m not quite sure.

There was a noisy, unpleasant atmosphere about the game, but even so, I thought it was played in a good spirit. Until some idiot hit keeper Roy Carroll on the head with a coin. It went downhill from there. After the game there were clashes between fans reminiscent of the 1980s.

Sure enough on Sunday morning, there is Sports Minister, Richard Caborn, both knees jerking involuntarily, saying that these late kick-offs should be reconsidered and not be arranged just for the convenience of the BBC. I’m sorry, but had that match been played at 7am on a wet Maunday Thursday, the trouble would have been the same.

The hatred and violence among a small section of fans was preordained. I know because the media told me so before hand. And they knew because they orchestrated it, at least in part.

And to prove the point, there was missile-throwing at the Celtic/Rangers game on Sunday and 30 arrests for ‘religious prejudice’ (kick-off 12.30pm.)

Meanwhile, the potentially tempestuous encounter of Lancashire rivals, Blackburn and Burnley saw the pitch during the game, including a break-dancing streaker — what was that about? (Kick-off 1.40pm.)

The one match to go off smoothly, off the pitch if not on it, was the Newcastle/Chelsea game. Lots of passion, lots of incident, but no aggro. I’m not sure what makes the difference, but good on both sets of supporters that it was so.

And so government, don’t leap in with a two-footed challenge. Get those trembling knees under the table, tied with surgical tape if necessary, and let footie sort itself out.

I actually like those odd kick-off times because it makes for telly coverage. Great for me, not necessarily for the attending fans who either get up at three in morning, or get home at the same time. It should be their choice, not mine.

Nobody’s prefect. If you find any spelling mistakes or other errors in this post, please let me know by highlighting the text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

1 comment… Add yours
  • Mosher 21st February 2005

    Carroll was apparently hit by a lighter, not a coin. So that's alright then…

    As for trouble at our match (or lack of it), there are a few reasons.

    One is the incredible small contingent of visiting fans. Chelsea bought 5000 tickets and brought half that number of fans.

    Secondly, visiting supporters are in the upper tier at St James' so can't reach the pitch and would have to have a hell of a throw to get anything down there.

    Thirdly… I can only recall one "incident" in recent history involving a Newcastle game. Some ManUre fans getting a bit pissed up after a match 2 seasons ago and trying to start a fight. No Newcastle fans involved other than the pen them in and call the police.

    OK, so I may be biased but I've been to enough Newcastle games to have stood a chance of seeing some "bother" and I never have. I guess we just have good fans, as do the vast majority of clubs. Shame on the scum minority (fans, not clubs).

    Oh, there would be trouble at any Old Firm derby because they don't have licensing issues keeping the pubs shut early on a Sunday like we do…

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