Today is our first post from Gareth Walker, a HCST member who contacted us asking to write football related content. We are pleased to publish this and ask any other member / Hull City AFC supporter to contact us if they have similar content.
How do you solve a problem with fan Invasion?
It’s been 24 hours since the shocking and quite frankly disgraceful attack on footballer Jack Grealish in the Midlands derby between Birmingham & Aston Villa when a so called ‘fan’ ran onto the pitch and assaulted him from behind. This follows on from the scenes north of the border when a glass bottle was thrown at Celtic’s Scott Sinclair & a Hibernian ‘fan’ confronted Rangers footballer James Taverner. Home Office figures show that arrests for pitch incursions at games in England and Wales have risen over the last five seasons from 155 in 2012-13 to 204 in 2016-17 – the most recent season they account for. Stadium safety is paramount these days with what happened at Hillsborough and with supporters trusts planning and asking for safe standing to return to grounds across the country, some may feel this is a step backwards in the pursuit for these changes.
The incidents come amid a rise in allegations of fan violence and abuse, with Raheem Sterling allegedly the subject of racist taunts from a Chelsea fan this season, while a Tottenham supporter threw a banana at Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Points deductions & closed doors matches will only punish those who aren’t responsible, and fans might see their team get relegated due to an idiot encroaching onto the pitch. Some fans may argue that this could cause situations, where a supporter could pretend to be from another club and get their rivals punished, although an investigation by the police should be able to find out where a fan’s true allegiance lies. Looking at the statistics, for the third consecutive year, more Birmingham City fans were arrested last season (95) than any other club in England’s top five leagues.
Could this be the club where the very fan culture itself must be brought into question by the EFL? Or is what is happening in football mirroring what is happening in society currently with the fatal stabbings & police cuts in the UK? Just when football is about to secure another multi-billion-pound TV deal, there is a bad combination of clubs getting richer but cutting costs and police forces cannot subsidise football. Some may argue that clubs should be forced to pay out for more in policing in stadiums to help stewards in dealing with the situations that arise, would this have a negative effect on clubs in League 2 who themselves struggle to finance the playing staff on the pitch? The only certain outcome that must come from this is the PFA and the football leagues bodies must come together and for the authorities heavily fine and life-time ban the individuals who decide to ruin the experience for everybody else.