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 Red11 REDitorial

Published: 22 Oct 2000


by Anonymous

The escalating crowd trouble which has been a part of both pre and post matches recently has not exactly been unexpected. Some of us have been predicting this for some time now. We have seen it gradually filtering itıs way back on to the scene over the last few years. But now itıs gathering a pace and very soon it will be out of control if nothing is done to contain it.

During the late sixties and throughout the seventies, football on the terraces and in the streets was a raging battleground. A frightening array of weapons and some heavy boots were used to bring the opposition to their knees. With the advent of crowd segregation (now why didnıt anyone think of that before?) the terraces, or the stands, as they are now, are more or less free from trouble. Out in the streets though, itıs a different story, as recent reports have so graphically illustrated.

At any game now you are aware that there are bound to be problems somewhere. That somewhere used to be far away from the grounds and easily avoidable, but itıs been creeping ever closer since the start of this season. Now itıs in the next street. So, where will it be next time?

Where thereıs a group of lads with mobile phones glued to their ears you can be sure they are passing on instructions. The word is out, spreading through the ranks. And suddenly thereıs a charge, with the local Dibble following behind. Crowds very quickly scatter, but in narrow crowded streets the effect can be devastating.

Naturally those who are taking part in this latest wave of aggression are not old enough to remember the carnage of the past decades. The horrific chaos that went hand-in-hand with football in the late sixties and seventies. If they had borne witness to that horror they would almost certainly think differently. Their antagonistic posturing is the same as it always was. The results are also the same. Someone, somewhere is going to pay a heavy price. And it is quite possible that it could be the ultimate price.

And what of those innocent bystanders who have no previous experience of this? How will they cope when faced with a mob on the run? I can answer that very easily because I have already seen it. They donıt cope. The children are scared out of their wits and the parents scared for them. The future of the game will be driven away once more. The children wonıt be coming back because their parents wonıt bring them.

I foolishly believed the Red Army had grown up. I thought our supporters were above all this. Too proud of the name and history of Manchester United to even think of dragging the name into the gutter where it gets kicked into submission. Unfortunately some who would purport to be Manchester United supporters seem intent on grinding the name of our club into the ground while the rest of us are forced to observe the degradation.

And where it will end this time?

Surely no-one who possesses any intelligence whatsoever condones this thuggery, or do they?

And letıs not confuse the fighting with what goes on inside and outside every football ground, because they are two very different phenomena. The banter between rival supporters is important to the game. Winding up the opposition is part of the fun. Violence is not - and football should not be used as an excuse for it.

The game is part of tens of thousands of lives and the few who perpetrate, or silently support, the violence should not be allowed to take precedence over those of us (the vast majority) who abhor it.

REDitorial by anonymous

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