Sunday, 8 April 2007

Spurs Violence in Seville

I'm old enough to remember the riots by Spurs fans in 1974 and the trouble that I witnessed first hand in Holland and Belgium in 1984. I also saw the footage of the trouble on the terraces last Thursday eve in Seville and think that everyone should be careful before jumping to conclusions. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/europe/6531683.stm In the 70s, Spurs 'fans' rioted. Simple as...it was over the top and (rightly or wrongly) the club was punished with a Europe ban that only lapsed because it was an embarrassingly long time before THFC made it back into Europe. In the 80s, the thing had spread...in both Holland and Belgium we were targetted by their hard core supporters and were then attacked by the police- both attacks a response to perceived trouble caused by a generation of violence that was still pretty abundant on Saturdays in England (no Sky making everyone go to matches on Sunday lunchtime or after work on a bloody Monday night). I'm no thug (really) but I was chased by some blokes with swords (inside the ground), bitten by a police dog and hit over the head in a random baton charge. That was 23 years ago. I don't need to go on about the the changes and their effectiveness post Bradford and post Hillsborough, but suffice to say, English clubs have sorted it by and large. I saw a bloke ejected from the Park Lane end last Sunday for swearing a bit too vociferously! Trouble is Italian and Spanish clubs haven't sorted it AND travelling English fans will always be a target even after so long. What seems to be a new phenomenon is that the police are so eager to have a go that they don't even wait for a minor scrap between fans as an excuse to wade in and hit people very hard with sticks which no doubt compensate for inadequacies elsewhere. Now they just wade in. If Spurs (or Man Yoo, gawd bless their cockney fans) get fined, banned, closed door semis or whatever then UEFA will have made a huge mistake. Bottom line for me though is I won't take my boy abroad til it's sorted. Thinking about it...I can't believe I was allowed to go...

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