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Violence a black mark on British football

They are a funny lot, the British. They sang and danced in the streets of London when news filtered through that former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had died. Some held placards describing her as a witch!

In fact, a song called “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” alleged to portray the former Iron Lady, raced up to second on the UK top 20 rock charts, hell, I never knew she was such a hated figure in her own country.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised about their behavior since in our culture, you do not mock an elder or chant and sing when a person had died, no matter how much you may have hated him or her, like I say, they certainly are a funny bunch the British.

Then last week, Millwall fans engaged in one of the most shameful acts of hooliganism in a bloody fist fight among themselves following their club’s loss to Wigan in an FA Cup semifinal. Now, fans engage in violent acts now and then to let off steam.

I am sure most readers of this blog are aware that I am short sighted. That is why I had to rely on re-runs of footage from television to be exactly sure that my eyes were not deceiving me when I saw one Millwall lout punching a horse!

Hell, I have seen Mamelodi Sundowns supporters breaking down the gates of the Atteridgeville Stadium and trashing the Dobsonville Stadium displaying their displeasure and frustration demanding the removal of a coach at a particular time.

I have seen Orlando Pirates supporters attending a training session and then assaulting Gordon Igesund. I have also seen them throwing an assortment of missiles ranging from raw cabbages, bread, water bottles and apples at coach Roger de Sa.

I also witnessed Kaizer Chiefs supporters trashing the FNB Stadium, throwing missiles and even a drunk Chiefs supporter attempting to assault referee Lwandile Mfiki with a plastic vuvuzela. But he was so soused that after missing the referee with his first blow, he fell flat on his face.

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But to see a supporters trying to bring down a policeman from his horse and then, landing a solid punch on the poor animal’s neck was both hilarious and cruel. I guess officials from the Society Against Cruelty to Animals are searching for him.

I am not gloating about the serious violence that erupted at several British venues with Newcastle United supporters also engaging in acts of shame as well. I think the British authorities have serious challenges on their hands to stop this menace from rearing its ugly head.

It is not only violent behavior by their supporters that is a matter of concern. They also have to deal with an increasing number of racism both from players and supporters.

To their credit, the British authorities have dealt superbly with racism both on the field and in the stands. They certainly have their hands full in trying to effectively deal with violence and the verbal abuse of some of their players.

You really have to feel sorry for the British because they have to tread carefully and strike a balance because the English Premier League is the most watched league globally and they rake in millions of pounds out of the television rights.

So, while they deal with some of their supporters who display racial tendencies, they are careful not come down too harsh for fear that they might alienate some of their followers who might sympathize with those who might have suffered under the jackboot treatment.

But at the same time, they have to put their foot down and prove to their sponsors and partners that they will not tolerate hooliganism and racialism in theirgame….it is a fine line that they have to cross and they cannot be seen folding their arms.

Thankfully the South African authorities do not ascribe to the Animal Farm doctrine when dealing with cases of misconduct within local football. And it is only when they deal equally harsh to every club or its supporters that they will be able to bring order in the game.

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