After 18 months of empty stadiums, the Premier League welcomed its fans back on 14 August 2021. Fittingly, the first game of the new, attended season saw Manchester United take on their bitter rivals Leeds United. Old Trafford was in superb form that day, as both sets of fans made their voices heard under the sunshine.
The game ended 5-1 to United’s favour, and most of us wondered how we managed to go almost two years without hearing the roar of the fans. Leeds fans, even in heavy defeat to their rivals, seemed chuffed to be back. After all, what is football, or any sport, without its fans?
Disorder On The Rise
Fast forward 18 months later, however, and the state of the beautiful game is in a much different place. Disorder is on the rise, arrests are skyrocketing, and the attack on Aaron Ramsdale last night has taken football to lows it hasn’t seen in decades.
Perhaps the long absence of attended games has caused some fans to act more aggressive than before - almost as if they’re overcompensating for the 18 months they spent watching their teams strictly on TV. Alternatively, the disorder can be traced back to the unsavoury scenes before the Euro 2020 final, where a new generation of fans developed a taste for unruly behaviour. No matter what the catalyst is, I can’t help but shake my head in disapproval.
Of course, I should state that the vast majority of fans behave well and treat opposition fans, players, and stadiums with respect. This is not a witch-hunt by any means, but it is apparent that the minority is growing ever larger.
Everton Board Members Targeted
Anthony Gordon was recently barricaded by Everton fans as he sat in his car, with angry supporters hurling abuse at him over the Toffees’ poor form. There were also calls for Everton’s senior board members to not attend the match against Southampton this weekend due to the probability they may come to harm.
Reports state that 999 arrests were made at UK football matches between 1 July and 31 December 2022 - a 10% increase from last year. Football banning orders also rocketed to 343.
We all know what it’s like to see your team lose, but some fans need reminding that football really is just a game, and it’s not anything that should dictate your life. No matter how badly your team plays, how many penalties they miss, or how long a striker goes without scoring, there’s never any justification for endangering others. The UK has a reputation as a world-leader, a nation other countries look to for inspiration, and the growing minority of football thugs threaten to jeopardize that.
I sincerely hope that the growing unrest is merely a flash in the pan. As the UK’s reputation gets battered by eco-warriors and anti-royalists, the last thing we need is our beautiful game being dragged through the mud.
LORD PING, THE ONLINE CASINO FOR OPINIONATED PLAYERS!
Disclaimer: Opinion content is provided by experienced journalists and are not the views of Lord Ping