Rotherham United - Hooligans
UK time is: 04:17:13
Vital Login
Social Login

Choose your club

Other Sites

Network Navigation

Vital Partners

'If It's Football, It's Vital'

Hooligans

Did you know that you`re a potential hooligan? Yes, you! The middle aged man with his teenage kids, the young woman with her boyfriend, the old couple who`ve been following their club for decades, the group of lads fresh from the pub on their way to the game. Every one of you, a potential hooligan. "What me?" I hear you say. "All I want to do is go along, take my seat and watch the game". Ah, but I`m not talking about you, I`m talking about those of us who wish to stand up; according to Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport you`re a potential risk to public order.

I don`t know about you but frankly I find this crude assumption more than a little insulting, particularly given that despite the introduction of all seater stadiums a sizeable minority of fans have continued to stand in front their seats. Yes, there have been isolated and rare incidents, ordinarily involving individuals who think it`s clever to launch their mobile or spare change onto the pitch, but anything remotely approaching trouble that used to blight our grounds? No.

Unfortunately, Caborn isn`t the only one pandering to crass and cheap stereotypes. I was recently interviewed on BBC 5 Live, and one of the studio guests was the respected Daily Telegraph journalist, Patrick Barclay. During the discussion I mentioned that we receive many emails from younger fans telling us "that they can`t behave like my dad used to". By that comment - and it was clear in the context of the conversation - I meant of course the standing shoulder to shoulder with their mates, vocally and passionately supporting their team. Mr Barclays` retort was "… the way their dads used to behave became untenable and we don`t really want to go back to the nadir of the mid eighties. They shouldn`t behave like their dads - they were lethal." Now imagine if he`d of said "all young Muslims have the potential to be terrorists". They`d be an outcry and rightly so. But us football fans? We`re fair game to be pigeon holed and clichéd in a way considered deeply inappropriate, if not illegal, for other groups in society.

I can just about put up with the constant refrain "but we get more woman at games because of the comfort of all seater stadiums" (imagine suggesting to a female solider or mechanic that she`s considered too fragile to stand for 90 minutes!) but this insidious suggestion that hooliganism will automatically return to our grounds if the regulations are changed enabling us choice is beyond a joke.

The question that they avoid answering is why will altering the regulation to officially permit the widespread standing in seated areas that has been happening for more than 10 years, lead to problems with public order?

There are no safety or public order problems at present with unregulated standing, so why would officially designating certain lower tier areas for standing and providing a choice for all fans, lead to disorder?

While some media outlets have been very supportive of us, the Daily Mirror told us that they would not consider featuring the results of the latest Football Fans Census on standing (92% of us believe there should be choice) because "...they don't feel the time is right to run the story right now after the tragedy in Italy..." I took that to mean that, simply, they too are confusing a legitimate issue in this country to one out of control in some parts of Europe and South America. Steve McClaren also weighed in to the Italian debate saying: 'They have got to learn a lot about the English game, how it has come on over the years,' McClaren told Five Live. 'The safety at most grounds has improved. It is all very, very well controlled and is a great environment in which to take families, and we have to encourage that.

Hard to disagree with that, but why should the vocal and passionate fans be, if you consider the stewarding they`re subjected to, made to feel so unwelcome? Could it be that not only to the Government think safe standing areas would herald the return of hooliganism but that your club doesn`t want you cluttering up the place either with your banners and flags and disturbing those well behaved, polite supporters who`ve just spent £150 in the club shop, £200 on tickets, £16 on four hotdogs, two cokes and two teas, and who wouldn`t dream of swearing or contemplating saying anything remotely offensive let alone raising their voice?

Write to:

The Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP
Minister for Sport
DCMS
2-4 Cockspur Street
London
SW1Y 5DH

Go on, write now and ask him (a) why he thinks you`ve got the potential to risk public order if you stand (b) why can`t we have the same choice as the Germans and (c) why, in the short term the standing in front of seats can`t be properly managed - and send a copy of your letter to your club as well.

Finally, ponder this: just 9% of match going Premiership fans are under 24 with the average age of fans being 45. Now, I`m no mathematician but even I can see from these statistics that unless this trend is reversed and unless supporters who want to contribute to an atmosphere, enjoy their "match day experience" and not one orchestrated by their club are welcomed and not continually treated like criminals, then our grounds will empty naturally in the coming years and shirt sponsors will be Stannah Stair Lifts and Saga Holidays!

Amanda Matthews
www.standupsitdown.co.uk

Thanks to the Aston Villa site for this article.




Use your social login to comment on front page articles. Login using you Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn accounts and have your say!


Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

The Journalist

Writer: mexbro miller Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 15 2007

Time: 10:25PM

Your Comments (oldest first)

Change to most recent first
The clubs are moaning but who's fault is that all they have to do is just look at the price of tickets and they should be able to work it out that a family of 4 2 parents and 2 kids they just don't have the spare revenue after bills and stuff. ( polite supporters who`ve just spent £150 in the club shop, £200 on tickets, £16 on four hotdogs, two cokes and two teas, )( taken from above article) so to me what they are saying is if you stand you are not going to spend money at th club shop or at the refreshment stand and that also you are not a polite person There is a simple solution lower gate and season ticket price's stand up to and refuse to comply with the high wage demands of all the prima donna's and last but not least don't treat the loyal supporters who travel to home and away games without exception like idiots
miller4life
Report Abuse
16/02/2007 08:47:00

I'm reassured to know that the average age of a Premiership fan is 45!
sandgroanun
Report Abuse
24/02/2007 10:27:00

 

Have Your Say

Log in...
with your social network     OR     with your Vital account

Recent Rotherham United Articles

Archived Rotherham United Articles

List All Vital Rotherham Articles
Have your say
Click here to suggest an article
Click here to suggest a poll

Vital Members League (view all)

1. rybel_b 1050
2. herringthorpe 901
3. sixpence 180
4. mos60 128
5. miller4life 20
6. Millie Miller 19
7. mvmiller 13
8. handyhaddock 9
9. nogginthenog 6
10. zipadeedoodah 5

League Results (view all)

League Table (view table)

Team P W D L GD Pts
17. Fulham 46 14 10 22 -21 52
18. Bolton 46 13 12 21 -13 51
19. Reading 46 13 11 22 -21 50
20. Rotherham 46 11 16 19 -21 49
21. Brighton 46 10 17 19 -10 47
22. Millwall 46 9 14 23 -34 41
23. Wigan 46 9 12 25 -25 39

Breaking League News

Potential Loan Signings- Strikers
» Reading : 24/05/2015 21:00:01
Boro bid to complete return
» Middlesbrough : 24/05/2015 19:35:01
Mills Holds Forest Talks
» Forest : 24/05/2015 17:21:01
Gobern Expected To Leave
» Huddersfield : 24/05/2015 16:34:00
Cherries linked to Blackburn striker
» Bournemouth : 24/05/2015 15:55:01

Current Site Poll (view all polls)

Who Will Win The Championship Play-Off
Suggested By:  
Middlesbrough 64%
Norwich 36%