My latest Birmingham Mail column
Sport has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in recent days. First we had the moronic so called England fans tarnishing their country’s name in Holland followed by the disgusting ball tampering incident by the Aussie Cricket team.
Like most people in the country I was saddened and angry watching the TV coverage of the behaviour of those 100 or so idiots who shamed themselves, their families, and their country with their anti-social and embarrassing thuggish behaviour in Amsterdam. Most of us have an opinion on it and I suspect most of us feel the same.
Let us get things into perspective at least 99.95% of folk in this wonderful country of ours are decent law abiding people who behave properly whether here or abroad. Sadly it’s the 0.05% who get all the headlines with their bad behaviour which is usually fuelled by alcohol.
So the perception abroad can be that England is full of those sort of people when nothing is further from the truth. It is the same for lots of supporters who follow England but who do not behave like thugs. However, sad though it may be, all England fans can get tarred by that particular brush.
I do not have the answer as to why these thugs behave as they do when other countries travel without any problems whatsoever. Perhaps they are not football fans but hide behind supporting England to satisfy their lust for aggro?
I have heard people say it’s not footballs problem but societies? I am not sure exactly what they mean by that and to me it just seems like an excuse to pass the buck.
How do we stop it? Firstly we must stop making excuses for them such as; it was the fault of the French or Dutch or whatever country’s police force. Or it was the fault of the opposition’s supporters because we England fans were just having a good time.
Secondly make the punishment fit the crime. No more fines or community service but lock them up. The Anti-sport brigade will say it is only football that has the problem. Well as I said before these people use football as a platform to satisfy their urge to gang together get drunk and consequently terrify innocent people who are going about their daily business.
The thought that if you take away football, l then these idiots would be sitting at home knitting or reading is laughable. They do it because they enjoy it.
I really do fear for the security of all fans who are travelling to Russia for the World Cup finals because the Russians also have their idiots who like nothing more than fight and cause trouble. However those England fans who travel with the intention of causing trouble or who do cause trouble while drunk will find the Russian police a lot less tolerant or understanding than the Dutch or French are.
I sincerely hope there is zero trouble at the World Cup. In my opinion if you don’t go looking for trouble you won’t find any.
The ball tampering by the Aussie team in their test against South Africa is just another example of the depths some sportsmen will drop to in order to win or gain advantage. We see it week in and week out in football where it’s almost accepted as the norm.
You just don’t expect to see it in cricket although in recent times we have had match fixing scandals and ball tampering incidents.
I find it quite amusing that David Warner was one of the Aussie “Leadership group” that decided to tamper with the ball. To make it worse they instructed a younger player to use a piece of tape to do it.
However David Warner has shown he has more faces than Big Ben. A few years ago he hit out at South Africa who were accused of ball tampering at that time saying it was “shameful” how right he was. He also said that Australia’s players “hold their heads high” and he also made it clear that he would be disappointed if anyone of his Aussie team tampered with a ball.
Sometimes sport at the highest level can be very hypocritical while not being very sporting at all.