It was something out of the movies, were we watching Scum? Football Factory? The Firm? Sadly not, this was real life and a shocking flashback to the dark hooligan days of the 70s. And what a horrible flashback it was to see hundreds of hooligans pretending to be West Ham fans invading the pitch in the Carling Cup match against Millwall this week. Although it’s a shock is it really a surprise?
The clashes outside the ground were just organised fights, it amazes me that the police knew nothing about the scale these fights would get to because surely they have got some informants who will have tipped them off? Outside the ground it appeared that all the fans were as bad as each other but inside the ground the West Ham “fans” really took the advantage. Who’d want to be a steward at football when you’ve got 100 fat, drunk thugs running towards eager to get onto a piece of grass? No-one would’ve had anything bad to say against Millwall and Kenny Jackett had they taken off the players and refused to come back out, player safety is just as important as fan safety? But don’t get me wrong Millwall aren’t all innocent in this, they’re fans still fought outside and inside the ground, their fans still ripped up seats and hurled them at the home supporters. Sadly no amount of PR from the club can change the underlying attitude of some Millwall “fans”. There are still hooligan sections just waiting for the opportunity to have a fight
So what will the FA do about it all? Well they’ve come out saying all the right things but will they actually do anything about it? All the fans caught on CCTV should be banned from football, but they probably won’t mind that as they don’t really care about football anyway. Sadly the clubs have to be punished as well, I know they’ve got nothing to do with the trouble but if you can’t control your fans then you deserved to be punished. There’s talk of West Ham being kicked out of the Carling Cup which could be a bit harsh but maybe it’s the only thing they can do.
And sadly just a couple of days later the Forest and Derby players are at it, not pretty at all but in truth it was nothing more than handbags. So who was to blame for all that? Well it’s hard to pinpoint the blame to one person as they’re all as guilty as each other, but Nathan Tyson has taken much of the blame and rightly so because anyone who decides to pick up a corner flag with a forest emblem on it and then waves it in front of 4367 Derby fans must need their head testing. Forest fans will site Robbie Savage’s scarf waving at the City Ground last season and they would have a point, but Savage did this to his own fans, Tyson was doing it to supporters of Forests’ arch enemy. Did the Derby players need to make so much of it? Probably not but you can understand why they did. So how will the FA punish the clubs and players? Well fines are bound to be dished out for not controlling players and that cannot be argued, Tyson however may be in a bit more trouble.
Lets hope that there are no more incidents over the coming weeks, England has a World Cup bid to protect.
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