Back to the neanderthal age of football?

Monsieur Salut writes: he calls himself Matty at Twitter but I will not embed the tweet, purporting to show a full name, because a) it may not be his for all I know and b) I have no wish to spread his word, other than to challenge it …

Maybe I missed an element of self-defence in the untold story when “Matty” tweeted this: “To the Sunderland fan that chinned a Pompey fan sat in the home end. Hats off to you sir.”

Was the “chinned” Portsmouth fan doing more than we, as Sunderland supporters, do often enough when he sat in a home area? Had he put women and children at risk with some vile, aggressive behaviour or even brought into the Stadium of Light one of those flares that certain visitors – minority pondlife among Pompey and Coventry support being guilty as charged – like to throw towards people beneath them in the North Stand?

There certainly wasn’t anything in the tweet to suggest it. Just the implication that being an away fan in a home section was sufficient reason for one human being – if that is not being excessively generous – to assault another. It is depressing enough on any level; oddly enough, I would expect anyone capable of writing “Hats of to you sir” to possess a degree of wit and that depresses me further.

And most disturbing of all, worse than our Matty’s possibly kneejerk approval of an act of simple thuggishness – unless he can now offer evidence or at least testimony of actual provocation – is that at the last count, 1,335 people (presumably SAFC fans) have actually “liked” his tweet.

This is not the best forum for trying to reason with them. Almost certainly, no one who thinks it is a good idea to act like a mindless yob would bother to come to Salut! Sunderland. If they did, they’d soon be put off by the grown-up writing and joined-up thinking evident in our posts and a vast majority of readers’ responses.

But as someone who has never wanted to “chin” another person at a football match, however angry I have become with events on the field or around me, I feel entitled to show renewed solidarity with football’s slow but obvious advance from its neanderthal age.

And I claim the right to believe that in order to ensure our game does not degenerate once more into ugly hooliganism, someone who does make an unprovoked attack of the sort Matty seems to acclaim should be banned from every stadium and allowed back only if able to prove he – it would be a “he”, though women were among the “likers” – no longer represents a threat to others.

I did try to point out to Matty that unless there genuinely was an issue of self-defence, which could change my view greatly, this was an act of lowlife thuggery. I even thought a light might go on above his head when I mentioned that Sunderland supporters have often enough had to make do with whatever seats they could find in home ends. I have seen yobs wearing other clubs’ colours make similarly disgusting attacks on our fans.

Matty replied with a routinely abusive tweet that he seems subsequently to have deleted. Perhaps he’s now considering civilisation as an option to barbarism.

5 thoughts on “Back to the neanderthal age of football?”

  1. I did see the assault on the Pompey fan and saw no provocation other than the stewards were already escorting him out. Looked to me someone else also tried to have a go at him too before he got out. No excuse at all really.

    The flare incident was very dangerous, but as I read a comment in the Echo, one SAFC fan says we did the same at away games but managed to get the flare on the pitch. Maybe this one fell short and was not an intentional effort to hit supporters.

    That said having away fans above home fans is a stupid idea,coins and bottles can come down too,the club need t to rethink that now.

    • I can report that the club is rethinking where the away fans are housed and would have to be should we get back into the Premier League.

      Somehow the Mags are not as yet having to move away fans but a directive was passed that PL clubs should house away supporters on the lower section.

      If you remember when the stadium first opened the away section was behind the goal at the south end and it was built so that there are partitions in the concourse at that end to cater for different numbers. More tickets must be made available for visiting clubs in the FA Cup for example and the police control is housed in the upper reaches of the South Stand (Roker End).

      The two main problems with that were a) when there were few visiting fans the section looked empty and b) when there were plenty of visitors the away side were kicking towards their support – usually in the 2nd half.

      Now though there are plans to move visitors there are considerations about having to move season card holders. My preference would be to house them in one of the corners – either N/W or S/W, where the tunnels are.

      • Hi Malcolm,
        I spoke with a past CEO at the club and the decision to move supporters was to “dress” the stadium to make it look better. So you are right to mention how the stadium looks. The trouble is safety seems to be an issue once again(sadly).

        I think the corners would be a good idea

      • Cheers. I was thinking about how at Leicester City the sun is an issue for visiting fans which would suggest the NE corner if we were to follow suit.

        When I went to Burton a mate of mine who is a Mag but lives in Burton and has a season ticket, got me a seat in the home stand, then before kick off very kindly announced to those around me that I was a Mackem! I had no bother and judging by the lack of reaction from about a dozen others in the same row and the one in front, both when Burton scored and when Maguire found the net, it seems I wasn’t the only visitor.

        I find it all a bit sad that some people feel it is acceptable to abuse or be physically violent towards someone else simply because of the team they follow.

  2. A brave and level headed article. I imagine (as I don’t do the twitter stuff) that you will have suffered dog’s abuse on those fori (?) through daring to tell the truth. Well done!

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