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Opinion

Can’t agree with Alan Shearer on punishment for Birmingham City after fan attacks Jack Grealish

2 weeks ago
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Alan Shearer has been having his say about the Birmingham City fan who attacked Jack Grealish on Sunday.

This the most serious of three incidents this weekend where fans entered the pitch to confront players, it also happening with Arsenal and Hibs fans against Man Utd and Rangers respectively.

Football fans everywhere were stunned by the TV footage yesterday, showing a Peaky Blinders dwarf run on and cowardly attack Jack Grealish from behind, throwing a punch as the player was completely unaware that he was being targeted during the game.

Not surprisingly there has been outrage about these incidents and much debate on what could/should be done to prevent these kind of incidents happening.

Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer having his say on Sunday night.

Alan Shearer speaking about the Birmingham fan attacking Jack Grealish (as well as other fans going onto the pitch at other games this past weekend) on Match of The Day 2:

“Absolutely disgusting.

“I think they should have the strongest possible punishment, which means points deduction, playing behind closed doors.

“Because someone is going to get hurt, either a player or an official, if they don’t stamp this out now.

“They have to come down heavy.

“[Or else] Someone will get hurt in the future.

“They have to do it.

“I don’t see them having a choice, other than the strongest possible points deduction and playing games behind closed doors.”

It is not often I disagree with Big Al but this time I think he has got it totally wrong.

Yes there has to be the strongest possible punishment but the question is, who should be punished?

For me the answer is obvious, the embarrassing individual who attacked Jack Grealish should be hit with the toughest punishment possible.

When I talk about punishment I mean in the criminal courts because that is simply what it is, a crime.

It is no different to somebody standing waiting for the bus and being targeted by some random person punching them from behind.

It is surely just taken for granted that the person who attacked Jack Grealish will now be banned for life by Birmingham City.

Alan Shearer says deduct points and play games behind closed doors.

Imagine if some sad loser did the same at St James Park. Should 50,000 of us be locked out of games because of one person’s actions? Who would be compensating all of those people for missing matches they had already paid for?

Points deduction? What can a club do to stop something like this happening?

The reality is that if somebody is determined to get onto the pitch, they will get on. To stand any chance of making it impossible, you would need a solid wall of stewards/police all the way around the pitch, which just isn’t feasible. The alternative is bringing back the dreaded fences which simply can never be allowed to happen again.

There may be a case for punishing clubs if they have repeatedly had these kind of problems and done nothing about it.

Sunderland spring to mind as in pretty much every home derby match against Newcastle, dozens of Sunderland fans would end up on the pitch at some point. Newcastle supporters would look on amazed each time as instead of being arrested or at least ejected, every time they would simply be ushered back to their seats. Then in 2011 after years of them going unpunished, one of the Sunderland fans who got on the pitch when they equalised late on against Newcastle, confronted Steve Harper.

It is all about punishing the people who break the law, making an example of them to deter others. Making clear that their life will be seriously messed up if they do something so stupid, not the club they supposedly support or tens of thousands of fans affected who have done nothing wrong.

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