I’m not much of a football fan, as you’ve probably guessed from the countless rugby posts on here, but I still can appreciate the beautiful game.
One thing I don’t understand is the continued acceptance of yob culture at and after these events. I’ve just read the article titled “CCTV shows fans chasing police” on the BBC website, and I am absolutely shocked. Time and again we here supporters groups stating that “a small number of hooligans create a bad impression of the game” but just watch the CCTV footage. This isn’t a small number of violent hooligans, this is a violent mob hunting as a pack and dragging down an beating police officers. Look at the faces of these yobs, they’re just normal people working normal jobs usually, but here they show how they have no regard whatsoever for public decency, or respect for law and order and those who bravely try to uphold it.
Watch the mob again, see how they move as a pack, all to fearful as individuals to take responsibility for their actions. A mass of posturing egos throwing bottles as long as they’ve got a pack around them.
Now watch the police officers, when they are heavily outnumbered you can still see them turn from their retreat and go back to rescue a lone officer who has been dragged down and is being assaulted.
Which of these two groups deserves respect? Not a tough question, the small group of men in uniform who charge back into a violent mob regardless of their personal safety to rescue an injured colleague.
Lets please see the footage shown widely, and as many of those in the mob charged with assault and affray, and actually given sentences that have to be served, rather than more watered down ASBO and suspended sentences. It isn’t about a small group looking for trouble, it is about the risk that a large proportion of a generation have lost all respect for law and order and need to be reminded that every one of their actions, even their first offence, is a crime.
Such a shame that once again the global image of Great Britain is of an unruly mob of hooligans and violent thugs. Being a football fan used to be about supporting your team, but respecting the other teams, and thanking the clubs, and police, who made the events safe to attend. We should work to get back to that.
More footage here The UEFA Cup Final Day in Video (again from BBC News).
Before anybody says I’m being one sided, I’ve seen the fans footage of the police charging the crowd, and agree that during the one charge captured on the “viewer’s video” the front line of officers did knock a man to the ground as they passed through. Ignore the selective editing, and watch how the rest of the mob moves aside, including the man on crutches. They’ve been warned by the police to clear the street and move on. The man knocked down has ignored this warning and remained in a confrontational stance directly in front of a group of officers who have made clear their intentions to clear the street of rioters. Since the two men make no attempt to move aside their actions are threatening and the officers have to meet that threat.