Jack Grealish Attack: What is really feeding the growing fury of certain supporters?

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 12 March 2019, 09:00

WELL, it’s obvious that half and half scarves haven’t worked.

So now the clubs, the fans, the authorities and the world at large must come up with another way to quell the seething menace of rabid individuals taking ownership of big football matches with one man riots.

With the English game now such a global monstrosity, experts in every corner of the world will lay claim to know the way out of the problems gripping a multi billion-pound industry.

The attack on Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish is deplorable. As was the shove sustained by Manchester United’s Chris Smalling.

The response will be ‘close the grounds, jail the culprits, fine the clubs or give the players body armour’. All the while failing to see what is really feeding the growing fury of certain supporters who cannot contain their adrenaline.

Prior to the birth of the Premier League in 1992 football was a game reserved for football fans. Big crowds inside shabby stadiums and large scale crowd trouble in the 1970s and 80s particularly.

But once Sky TV and a few ambitious men in suits like Arsenal’s former chairman David Dein decided there were vast amounts of money to be made it was game over for football as it was.

 

Rebranded, repackaged, beamed into every living room and pub, morphing from something football supporters did on a Saturday afternoon at three o’clock into a key component of your very well being if the TV cameras are right.

The advent of Super Sundays, sticking four local derbies together in one day to suit the television schedulers and whipping up fervour, getting fans outside stadiums to jostle and jeer live into the cameras, making it ok to cry when your team gets relegated.

Skyrocketing tickets prices, players earning a million quid a month and wall-to-wall 24/7 in-yer-face coverage merely turns up the heat under the frothing tribalism that is a huge part of what sold English football to the world in the first place.

Forty years ago, crowd trouble was a regular occurrence at many grounds, Some more than others but it sometimes came with the price of a pie and a bovril. A lot of it went unreported and unnoticed because it was the preserve of football fans who went to the matches.

Those days are gone but in its place has come a monster in a different disguise. A beast where we are force fed a diet of passion and ferocious devotion to your club.

That if you don’t hate a particular rival team then you are not a real fan. You are just like one of the inert day-trippers taking in a game on a weekend jaunt from Singapore, Japan or America populating half the grounds these days.

When one or two mindless simpletons who are unable to keep it all in perspective react to the hype, we wonder why and blame society, instead of looking inwardly at what football has become in this country and how it has played a part in getting us to what happened at St.Andrews on Sunday lunchtime.

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