It has become fashionable to criticise the sterility of the modern
In fact, the Eurosport-Yahoo! football podcast did it on
Monday, mocking Arsenal for giving out thousands of free scarves, instructing
their fans to wave them in the air and asking politely if they would mind
bringing them to the next home game.
Amid the padded seats, £1,000 season tickets and corporate
comfort of a modern stadium like the Emirates, it is easy to take a rose-tinted
view of the 'good old days'.
to our top 100 matches series, for example, came from 1984, when Manchester United
3-0 at Old Trafford to snatch a 3-2 aggregate win in the Cup Winners' Cup.
Watch the highlights and it is impossible not to marvel at
the passion and fervour of United's
Yet this was also the era of widespread hooliganism and the
Heysel disaster. English fans were genuinely feared abroad, rather than merely
derided as staggering, lobster-red beer monsters.
There was a troubling flashback last night, when trouble erupted before, during and after the Carling Cup game between West Ham and Millwall, which saw one man stabbed.
Of course, it is easy to say the violence had nothing to do with football, that it
was just gangs of young idiots looking for a fight. And of course there is some
truth to that.
The warring fans at Upton Park last night were not the people
who worked for rival shipyards in the early 20th century, nor were they
involved when the rivalry flared up again in the 1970s. This was about young
men looking for trouble and finding it at a football match.
However, the same argument was used in the 80s, that it was
society's problem, not football's.
That was until all-seater stadia, improved policing and,
yes, the pricing out of certain fans caused the violence to stop - for the most
part, at least.
It is tough on Millwall, who have worked ceaselessly to rid
the club of its notoriety. Manager Kenny Jackett was quick and correct to point out that
visiting fans were not involved in the pitch invasions, although nobody asked
him who exactly was directing monkey chants at West Ham's
East London has proved unhappily
fertile ground for the far right, but it was depressing to hear reports of
open, unabashed racism.
Incidentally, ED has always thought it would be a good idea
to give BNP supporters the full 'Who
Do You Think You Are?' family tree
treatment, all expenses paid, and then repatriate them to whatever far-flung
corner of the globe their ancestors hailed from.
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Early Doors had its say yesterday afternoon on the macabre
spectacle that was Sol Campbell's
introductory press conference at Notts
So it was somewhat depressing to see today's newspapers focus entirely on the £40,000-a-week
contract that will make Campbell the highest-paid player outside the Premier
League, and ignore the air of tension so thick you could cut it with plastic
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I think Mourinho could do with talking a little
less. A practising (Muslim) player is not weakened because we know from the Institute of Sports Medicine that mental and
psychological stability can give a sportsman an extra edge on the field. A
player who is a believing Christian, Jew or Muslim is certainly calmer
psychologically and that improves his performance." Italian Muslim leader
Mohamed Nour Dachan hits back at Jose Mourinho after the Inter boss, whose
midfielder Sulley Muntari is a Muslim, remarked: "Ramadan has not arrived
at the ideal moment."
ALAN PARTRIDGE MOMENT OF THE DAY: Sky Sports News correspondent Gary
Cotterill reporting live this morning from outside Upton Park, holding up
assorted pieces of debris from last night's
chaos to the camera. First were two bricks, then a fence post, then a small
tree ("Quite possibly someone's
pride and joy."), some glass, a piece of flower pot ("I'm not sure what was in that.") and then some
police tape. Litter bugs.
FOREIGN VIEW: A Peruvian referee who was to work a Copa Sudamericana match in Chile
was arrested upon arriving in the country on an outstanding warrant tied to a
1997 marijuana case.
Chilean police took Georges Buckley into custody at the airport in the
He was later released after appearing in court and ordered not to leave Chile until the
presiding judge had issued a ruling.
Buckley was arrested in 1997 for smoking marijuana in public as he was
preparing to enter a concert, the communications office for Chile's judiciary said.
A student at the time, Buckley ignored an order to appear in court and
returned home to Peru,
Buckley was scheduled to referee the match between Chile's
Union Espanola and Colombia's La Equidad.
Plus there is more Carling Cup second round action.