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Opinion

The ones who threw darts and petrol bombs at each other – Surely those fans no longer exist?

3 months ago
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Last week, along with 50,000 others, I was inside St James Park to watch England hammer Italy.

I appreciate that there are many of you out there who would rather stick needles in your eyes than watch rugby, but I have found that in recent years as my enjoyment of football has dipped, my enjoyment of rugby union has increased .

Why is that ?

Well lets just call it the Michael Owen syndrome.

We really didn’t need his book to know he did not give a toss about this club. I despise the man, but the thing is you could substitute Owen for Marcelino, Luque, Colback etc etc etc. The list of wasters in a black and white shirt is huge.

Time will tell whether we will add the class of 2019 new signings to the list. Let’s hope they don’t turn out to be yet more money grabbing mercenaries.

You may be able to tell that I really don’t have a lot of time for the majority of modern players but I guess its not their fault. If a club is dumb enough to offer you a ridiculous contract, you would have to be crazy not to take it.

Meanwhile, on Friday night I watched the Italian defence getting seriously pummelled but they were still prepared to lay their bodies on the line in front of 19 stone monsters like Courtney Lawes and Billy Vunipola to stop a try, even when the game was lost.

I guess they are either mad or just totally committed to their shirt. Probably both.

Anyway, this piece isn’t about rugby as such.

It’s about beer.

Sitting in level seven, I was able to take a couple of bottles of lager with me. I would have liked a couple more but at five quid a bottle, I resisted the temptation.

However, as we well know, if I were to be in that seat for the Brighton game, I would find myself being thrown out the ground for this action.

My question therefore is, how can I be trusted to drink while watching a game of rugby but not watching football?

We all know the reasons. Football fans are the scum of the earth. End of debate.

But surely that reasoning is based on the fans from the past. The ones who threw darts and petrol bombs at each other.

Surely those fans no longer exist?

Over the years the noisy, passionate and probably very drunk young men have been engineered out of the grounds. The ground is now safe, your details are on a database and cameras are watching your every move .

I looked around the crowd on Friday night and it seemed to be much like a typical football turn out. There were plenty of women and kids and very few gangs of young lads acting up.

This was the master plan of course. To rid the grounds of undesirables and replace them with people who will not choke on the hotdog they have paid five quid for .

So now this has been achieved, hasn’t the time come to treat us as adults and trust us to drink our lager out of a plastic bottle?

I do get the arguments against the change. If you can’t wait 45 minutes for a pint then you have a problem and it could lead to a succession of people wanting to get past you while the game is going on, but personally I think the time has come for change.

In 2019 I appreciate there are plenty more important things to get wound up about but wouldn’t it be nice if the authorities treated football fans like other sports, who can be trusted to drink a lukewarm Coors light without turning into a lunatic.

Of course, it may be that I am being naive. Possibly all the old baldy types like me would immediately regress to our youth and start screaming “I want to be a Magpie Ranger” while grabbing the lad in front of them round the neck.

Sounds good to me.

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