With Newcastle fans having yet another ‘free’ weekend due to the club’s policy (no matter what the official NUFC Fans Forum minutes might say) on the Cups, it was left to the Aston Villa fans to provide the highlight of the weekend.
Having experienced the backward nature of many Aston Villa fans over the years, especially their embarrassing behaviour when Newcastle were relegated in 2009, it was great yesterday for a national/international TV audience to also get a glimpse of what we already knew.
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The FA Cup quarter-final against West Brom resembled a Jeremy Kyle special whenever we were treated to close-ups of the Villa fans.
With Villa leading and the match drawing to a close, it was noticeable how Aston Villa fans were being allowed to mass at the side of the pitch, with a number having already ran onto the playing surface for their five seconds of fame, with hardly a steward/policeman in sight and seemingly no punishment.
It was all very reminiscent of many of our trips to the Stadium of Light in the past, or the infamous day when Newcastle stayed up at Leicester in 1992 on the final day of the season.
Notice the use of the word ‘PAST’.
So yesterday Aston Villa fans flooded onto the pitch when their team scored the clinching second goal, then again at the final whistle. Running around gurning for the cameras and taunting the West Brom supporters.
Luckily for all concerned, the Baggies fans don’t have a reputation for getting ‘involved’ and Villa, their fans and the police got very very lucky for their poorly thought out ‘planning’ for this high profile (for Villa) match.
If there had been any number of other clubs in opposition, then it would have been a given that significant numbers of away fans would have confronted the Aston Villa fans and their behaviour.
Yesterday it was clear that the police and stewards weren’t in control of the situation, with Villa fans allowed freely to roam the pitch with players of both teams and the match officials open to assault.
Adding hundreds or even thousands of away fans to that situation could have caused one of the biggest riots for years.
Showing the Aston Villa fans up even more, Fabian Delph admitted that he himself had been scared and that Villa fans were even biting players
It is maybe too much to hope that the FA will kick them out of the FA Cup for what occurred yesterday.
However, West Brom would be well within their rights to demand action, as those final minutes clearly left their players intimidated. With Villa fans having already ran onto the pitch in their hundreds, then there being thousands of the home supporters allowed to stand around the perimeter, ready to run on again without any police/stewards in sight to stop them.
A range of comments after the game:
Aston Villa official statement:
“They have let both themselves and their club down.”
West Brom manager Tony Pulis:
“If you are Villa then you need to look at the stewards as they came over to our fans and there was nobody there.
“I am sure the FA will look at it without me poking my nose in – if we’d had a lot of stewards it would be sorted out.”
“It was dangerous. Someone tried to take my boot off.
“People tried to kiss me and were biting me and It was scary.”
Co-Commentator Mark Lawrenson:
“Why would you do this? You’re winning, absolutely stupid. Loads of villages have lost their idiots tonight. “
Pundit Kevin Phillips:
“I think there’s going to be repercussions for Villa here as I don’t think there was enough police or stewards to stop them coming on the pitch.”