I have written numerous times my concerns in the increase this season of people thinking they can behave how they want in the confines of a football stadium. The sporting world is talking about how the Birmingham Derby was overshadowed by a ‘fan’ punching Jack Grealish. Of course all parties are saying the right things, just as lip service was given to Sterling being racially abused, bananas and bottles being thrown from the crowd, etc.
Some get the benefit of the doubt. The man who was tough enough to throw fruit at a black man didn’t have the gumption to admit it was racially provoked. Chelsea supporters have defended their own suggesting while pictures show Sterling was abused at the Bridge, there’s no evidence racial slurs were used (that’s okay then).
No longer can we just say it’s the minority. The animal who attacked Grealish will rightfully go to jail but others like the pitch invader at the Emirates will worse case get banned from matchdays, yet will find ways to sneak in. Again, I demand zero tolerance. Hit clubs with point deductions and force them to play in empty arenas. Enough of shrugging your shoulders because it doesn’t affect you.
The most sickening aspect of the incident at Saint Andrews was while the man, who wouldn’t act that way in a shop or post office, was being escorted off the pitch, he got cheers and a standing ovation from his peers. Just think about that? Grown adults enabling a monster, giving him the attention he desired. Why? Because he wore a blue shirt? What did he have to do for his actions not to be okay? Knock Grealish out? Make him bleed? Put him in hospital? Then would it not matter what colours he wore?
Imagine a youngster watch that, thousands of grownups telling them it’s okay to act this way. Yet how many who applauded this would have been furious if they knew it would lead to an automatic 10 points loss? Of course, owners have the highest paid lawyers who wouldn’t let that happen. Where teams release statements saying the right thing, how many would fight loss of points or empty stadiums? Because again it comes down to money.
If the FA and clubs really wanted to eradicate anti-social behaviour they could do it right away. This summer, every chairman should sign an agreement to new rules that racism and pitch invasions lead to points loss. If they don’t sign, we know they don’t care.
What’s more important, League position or safeguarding people? The UK media are quick to report racism in Russia, fighting in Italy, missiles thrown in Serbia. Those domestic Leagues ban fans from stadiums and it’s still reported they don’t do enough. Why does the press not demand the same in this country? Is it because it would be an admission that our game isn’t perfect and is regressing?
What you think Gooners? How can we clean up the game we love?