Everton to get 8 points deduction for appalling behaviour of fans? Premier League needs to act
If ever you wanted absolute proof of how differently the media report on Newcastle United fans compared to those of other Premier League clubs, you only have to look at the appalling scenes at Everton on Thursday night.
Everton fans may brag about never having played in the lower divisions during the Premier League era, however, surely the thing that proves beyond doubt you are a lower league mentality club, is if your fans invade the pitch in serious numbers.
No doubt we will get the usual suspects piping up about what about Newcastle fans doing this…reality is though that the famous / infamous St James Park pitch invasion was 48 (FORTY EIGHT!) years ago and those invaders will be now pensioners, more likely to be jumping onto their mobility scooters as opposed to jumping on the pitch.
Whilst the very last time I can recall it happening at St James Park with Newcastle fans, was that shocker of a night 32 years, when we lost to the mackems in the play-offs. I was there that night and stayed to the bitter end but didn’t have the energy or desire to get on the pitch myself.
The bottom line is that times have moved on, if even a small number of Newcastle United fans suddenly ran onto the St James Park pitch, the rest of us would be thinking what the…are they doing???
On Monday night it was an absolutely brilliant night, despite nothing to play for, a sold out St James Park (if you wonder why I mention this, just have a look at Villa Park last night and the sheer number of empty seats…I was lucky to get one for Arsenal as they sold out straight away, I went on the NUFC ticket site as soon as the match by match sale started and was in two hour online queue and lucky to get one!) with a stunning flag display costing thousands of pounds (all paid for by fans) and put in place thanks to an incredible number of volunteers who took three days to do it, as it was the biggest ever display, so far. That flag display helping to spark a brilliant atmosphere during the game and the players responded to that.
As the game was nearing its end, over the tannoy saying players and coaching staff would be doing a lap of the pitch after the final whistle, whilst respectfully reminding fans that it is a criminal offence to go on the pitch and…just not what can happen these days. Net result, everybody was where they were meant to be, players and Eddie Howe on the pitch, fans in the stands, mutual applause / singing all round.
Society has changed, things are different these days, although clearly not at Goodison Park…
Thousands and thousands of Everton fans invaded the pitch last night after beating Palace to stay up, some quite appalling scenes that followed on from earlier this week, when that cowardly Forest fan headbutted Billy Sharp.
That makes it all the more unacceptable that then a supposed Premier League club such as Everton, appeared to not care at all that their fans behave so badly, breaking the law and creating such a dangerous situation, actively encouraging a situation where you then end up with the lunatic fringe ready to take it a step further, just like that Forest fan. Other games in play-offs (involving other small clubs…) in recent days have seen fans invade the pitch and confront opposing players and management.
Last night cowardly Everton fans surrounded and goaded / taunted Patrick Vieira.
Patrick Vieira kicking an Everton fan to the ground 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/p6fVvYnzTd
— Breezy (@UtdBreezy) May 19, 2022
Vieira was a class act, showing no fear despite all alone and surrounded by so many Everton supporters (Where were the stewards and police???), one Everton fan in particular was getting right in his face and threatening / provoking him, Vieira then giving him a small kick. Which then led to other Everton fans clearly fancying physically having a go at the Palace boss but too cowardly to be the first to do so (***If you press play on the video clip below then you will hear the F word).
— Frankie (@frankie_efc) May 19, 2022
I find it incredible that so many in the media are even suggesting that Vieira should have any action taken against him. There should be an inquiry into how both Everton and the Police handled this match, all the fans who can be identified as having broken the law by going on the pitch (and worse in many cases) should be prosecuted and banned by the club. Whilst Everton surely should be forced to play a number of matches behind closed doors if they can’t / refuse to control their fans, whilst a points deduction (eight sounds about right…) is surely the fitting immediate punishment for their appalling behaviour.
I wouldn’t care but loads of Everton fans had already been on the pitch when Calvert-Lewin scored the winner and that was anything but innocent, the Everton supporters intimidating / abusing the opposition.
— Lamptey 🐐 (@Lamptey38445607) May 20, 2022
Honestly, I can absolutely guarantee you, if Newcastle fans had behaved even a fraction as bad as the Everton fans, the media would have absolutely slaughtered us.
It totally stinks.
Just read here what Frank Lampard had to say about what happened and how BBC Sport covered his comments and the game…
“Nobody can question the celebrations at the end. It is easy to say ‘but you haven’t won anything’.
“You know what, come and work at this club for a few months and see the difficulties and what it means to people to stay in this league.
“It is a special night in Everton’s history.”
Lampard said he felt for Vieira but that the overriding emotion behind the pitch invasion was “pure elation”.
“It was a special moment for the football club and I think if done in the right way, let them stay on the pitch and enjoy it for a bit as long as everyone’s behaving,” he added.
“Let them have their moment, it’s what football is all about.”
That is the point though, the Everton fans were NOT behaving, by allowing thousands and thousands to get on the pitch and stay there, even encouraged to by their manager(!), it just gives the opportunity and encouragement for the minority to go beyond the initial breaking of the law, by going on the pitch.
For those of us who were around at the time, we very much remember the arguments used to justify fencing in fans at English football clubs. Fans unable to behave, especially with respect to going on the pitch…so cage them in like animals. Along with incompetence of those in authority and badly designed out of date stadium designs, those fences almost caused serious injury / fatalities on a number of occasions, for Newcastle fans it was that FA Cup match at Spurs in 1987, some 13,000 NUFC supporters descended on White Hart Lane and crushed into far too small an area, couldn’t get onto the pitch to escape the risk of serious harm. The situation only saved by load of NUFC fans pulled up into the seats above and eventually, the police opening up adjacent terracing to relieve the crush, to an extent anyway.
At the time you didn’t really comprehend just how close that day at Spurs came to disaster, until the horrific scenes played out at Hillsborough only two years later. Bottom line is that no matter how badly designed the stadium was, how terrible the policing was that day and the incompetence of those in charge. If there hadn’t been the fences, almost certainly there would have been no fatalities. As fellow football fans we looked on in horror at the TV footage and could only too well imagine the sheer nightmare and panic that took over, when those unfortunate Liverpool fans found themselves with no route to escape the ever worsening crush.
Which brings us back to now…
If Everton fans, Forest fans, Port Vale fans are going to refuse to behave, are going to get on the pitch and break the law in their thousands – abusing, intimidating and attacking opposition players and management, what will be the solution?
You think surely fences could never come back and I’m sure that is the case…however, I certainly wouldn’t put it past the authorities dreaming up some other alternative that could end up being almost as bad.
It might seem crazy now to younger people but back in the eighties when the fences went up, you had all kinds of other ideas put forward by the likes of Ken Bates and many others. Everything from digging deep moats between the pitch and fans, right through to electrifying the fences! Honestly, that was talked about back in the day.
The difference these days is that the authorities now have far more tools and control, if they choose to do what needs doing. Pretty much every seat is assigned to a known person in every Premier League stadium now, with purchase history etc. A multitude of cameras around ever stadium every matchday which can pick out every single fan, including for example, pretty much every single Everton fan who broke the law on Thursday night.
They need to crack down now and make an example before we descend into a situation where fans are once again going to be finding themselves becoming more restricted once again, ironically at a time when we are (were?) just in the process of seeing ever expanding areas of safe standing coming in. There was no excuse for what happened at Everton last night and the authorities need to act now.
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