By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
  1. David Bolt

    David Bolt Member

    May 30, 2008
    Liverpool
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    Wales

    Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

    By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
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    In today’s Birmingham derby between Birmingham City and Aston Villa, a Birmingham fan ran onto the pitch, ran up behind Jack Grealish, Villa’s best player, and threw a right hook that connected. Thankfully, Grealish seemed to be okay, and went on to score the winning goal. The man has been arrested and will likely face a lifetime ban from football, and likely, criminal charges.

    This incident came on the back of a similar one on Friday night, where a Hibernian fan jumped onto the playing area and got into a physical confrontation with Rangers’ James Tavernier as he went to take a throw-in.

    In some ways, it’s a miracle that this hasn’t happened before. Due to the size of the pitch, it's virtually impossible for clubs to be able to prevent fans from running on and attacking a player. During the bad old days of the 70’s and 80’s in English football when hooliganism was rampant, fences were put in front of the stands to keep fans in. Following the 1989 FA Cup semi-final in Sheffield, where 96 fans were crushed to death against those barriers, they were removed.

    Ever since, clubs have had to rely on fans to have the good sense not to leave the stands. Entering the playing area against the regulations at just about every ground results in a ban. That’s usually been enough to prevent all but the most committed pranksters from running onto the pitch.

    Situations like this usually bring howls of righteous indignation and the belief that ‘Something Must Be Done’. Birmingham City can expect to receive a hefty fine, and possibly a points deduction. I don’t believe in collective guilt (or innocence), so usually, I wouldn’t believe in a collective punishment.

    But I can’t see any other way. Let’s hope it doesn’t, but should this happen again, then I think the game should immediately be stopped and the team of the attacked player gets given a 3-0 win. The team who the attacker supports should instantly be given a three-point deduction.

    If basic human behaviour is beyond some people, and they are so stupid and misguided as to believe that he was somehow fulfilling his duty as a fan by attacking someone for having the temerity to be playing for the opposition, then that person needs to know that such actions will only hurt his team.

    This incident has to be a turning point for fans all over the UK. Many were rightly quick to condemn the man who punched Jack Grealish, but what all fans need to do is look at their own behaviour. Football in England has taken on a toxic air.

    Levels on fan hostility, abuse and violence are rising. There have been incidences of anti-Semitism from Southampton and West Ham fans in recent weeks. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a banana thrown at him by a Spurs fan. There was a violent clash between Millwall and Everton fans before their recent FA Cup game that saw one Everton fan get slashed in the face with a knife.

    Those are just recent examples. All clubs have fans like this. All villages have their idiots.

    I live in the UK, so I can’t say if it’s the same anywhere else, but the UK has become a much nastier place in recent years. Selfishness has increased. Empathy has decreased. Hate crimes are rising at rapid rates.

    What’s strange is that this has only spilled over into football. Other sports, including Rugby and Cricket, where passions run just as high, and unlike football, drinking alcohol in the stands in allowed, don’t have nearly as many problems as football does.

    It’s become normalised for many people to behave in football stadiums in ways that they never would in everyday life. The high cost of football tickets means that your average fan likely has a well-paying job, which in turn implies some kind of education and social skills, so it’s mystifying how those people believe that all social mores can be thrown out of the window whenever they sit in a football stadium.

    If people behaved in everyday life the way they believe it’s okay to behave in a football stadium, then they’d be unable to hold down a job (if by some miracle they got through an interview in the first place). They’d never be able to enter into a relationship. They’d likely have no friends, and not be on speaking terms with their family. As they would be hurling abuse at total strangers, as they do in football stadiums, they would also be getting into a ton of fights, so would also spend a lot of time in hospital and jail.

    The problem is even worse online and on social media where people hurl vile abuse at complete strangers for either being fans of another team, or for being a fan of the same team who thinks a little different for them. It’s got to a point where for several people their enjoyment of football is more about baiting fans and revelling in the misfortunes of other teams rather than any success their team has.

    It’s sadly commonplace for any footballer brave/stupid enough to have a Twitter account to receive a barrel-load of abuse, even from fans of their team. A lot of that abuse is just inhuman.

    Today, one attention-seeking Birmingham City fan decided to double-down on the mindless dickheadry demonstrated by his fellow fan and decided to tweet Jack Grealish a picture of his brother’s tombstone and telling him of his “delight” his brother died.

    The media also has a responsibility for this. They help to whip people up into a fervour before games. They have a way of covering the game where the negatives, i.e. a bigger team losing to a smaller one are covered far more than the positives, which adds to the atmosphere of schadenfreude and derision.

    They allow referees to be mocked and abused for mistakes, or even correct decisions they don’t agree with, which leads to players, fans and coaches seeing the referee as fair game. This has had the effect of referees at amateur levels, who tend to be teenagers, being verbally and physically abused and giving up refereeing, which is destroying amateur and youth football.

    Football is supposed to just be a distraction from everyday life. It’s supposed to be something to be enjoyed. It’s not supposed to be hostile. It’s not supposed to be a vehicle to enable people to abuse complete strangers.

    While it was a depressingly real incident, today’s attack on Jack Grealish is a metaphor for modern football. That man in Birmingham acted out of sheer intolerance. Many others do exactly the same. If we all stopped for a moment and took a deep breath before speaking or acting and all tried to show the tolerance we have in our everyday lives, football will be a better place for it.
     

Comments

Discussion in 'England' started by David Bolt, Mar 10, 2019.

    1. American Brummie

      Jun 19, 2009
      There Be Dragons Here
      Club:
      Birmingham City FC
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      Absolutely ********ing embarrassing, as a Blues fan myself. It's just a game, and it makes Brummies look as bad as everyone else makes them out to be.
       
      barroldinho and YoungRef87 repped this.
    2. mark_ward

      mark_ward New Member

      Arsenal
      England
      Mar 11, 2019

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      does this goon think he is some kind of peaky blinder?
       
    3. Terrier1966

      Terrier1966 Member

      Nov 19, 2016
      Club:
      Aston Villa FC

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      It is possible this guy had a seat in the front row and just bolted with no notice. It is also possible his mates knew what he was about to do as he ventured down from a seat several rows up. If he was stupid enough to do it, likely some were stupid enough not to stop him.

      I would assume if he went to the rail and was going to jump off the upper deck somebody would grab him.
      That so many cheered him for doing it gives you an indication of how interested they were in stopping it.

      So, a points reduction, fine etc. against the club is harsh and not completely fitted to the crime but lets the fans and team know they have to police themselves too.
       
      barroldinho repped this.
    4. mark_ward

      mark_ward New Member

      Arsenal
      England
      Mar 11, 2019

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      15 mins of fame, sad really
       
      barroldinho repped this.
    5. autogolazzo

      autogolazzo Member

      Mar 4, 2007

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      A turning point for fans?

      How about a reminder that this sort of thing almost never happens (not a miracle, obviously) in this day and age of football and is a reminder of how bad things used to be.
       
      mschofield and barroldinho repped this.
    6. barroldinho

      barroldinho Member+

      Man Utd and LA Galaxy
      England
      Aug 13, 2007
      Ex-pat in HB, CA
      Club:
      Manchester United FC
      Nat'l Team:
      England

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      Disturbing to see this kind of thing in English football again.

      Brilliant post David.
       
    7. Jenks

      Jenks Member+

      Feb 16, 2013
      Club:
      --other--

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      There is no rapid rise in hate crimes in the UK. There are spikes following terrorist incidents and notoriously after the Brexit vote, but aside from that the rise has been steady and proportionate with the ballooning migrant population ever since the UK adopted a policy of mass immigration in the 90s. I would be interested to know how you quantified a rise in selfishness and fall in empathy. If it exists then I suspect "progressive" identity politics shares some of the blame.
       
    8. Roger Allaway

      Roger Allaway Member+

      Apr 22, 2009
      Warminster, Pa.
      Club:
      Philadelphia Union
      Nat'l Team:
      United States

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      A possible countermeasure:

      At a semipro game in Chicago in the 1960s, a fan ran onto the field to congratulate a player named Willy Roy (later an NASL star), after Roy had scored a goal. Roy knocked him flat with one punch.
       
    9. mark_ward

      mark_ward New Member

      Arsenal
      England
      Mar 11, 2019

      Why The Attack On Jack Grealish Should Be A Turning Point For Fans

      By David Bolt on Mar 10, 2019 at 6:08 PM
      in these modern days I could see the fans family suing the player for assault
       

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