I watched the West Ham v Milwall match hooliganism last night with despair and frustration. It mirrored smaller scale tensions which broke out last season at a Newcastle United v Sunderland match, where there was trouble between fans.
I hope all that nonsense isn't starting again. For the last couple of decades we have had relative peace at matches: if you can block your ears to bad language and turn a blind eye to the occasional bout of drunken loutishness, matches are good places to go. You can take your kids without the worry of there being any threat. As a family, over three generations, we have been to the matches plenty of times and had a good day out. Sometimes the matches have been boring, often frustrating, sometimes exciting but never threatening. Teenager and I went on our last week: I felt perfectly safe and comfortable.
But is the tide turning? Organised large scale violence between fans, and against the police rearing its ugly head again. Let's hope it is a flash in the pan, and that if it isn't that it will be stamped on quickly and decisively by the authorities.
These people are morons, and I don't use the term lightly. Mindless, crass and ill intentioned. Nothing to do with sport, and everything to do with finding a fight. It makes me really angry, and watching those scenes, it is easy to wonder what can you do with people who have the kind of values which makes them think that stabbing and lobbing bricks at other people is a grand night out.