Is the issue of hooliganism growing in football?
Violence has long been associated with football in Britain and recently reared its ugly head once more when a Birmingham City supporter managed to invade the pitch and attack Jack Grealish two weeks ago.
Neil Lennon is another example of a professional who has been attacked. While manager of Celtic he was attacked by a supporter on the sideline during a game against Hearts in Tynecastle, then a few years later was struck by a coin thrown from the stands at the same venue when he was managing Hibs.
According to Scotland legend, Gordon Strachan the problem has existed for years and Strachan was able to recount a few tales from his younger years when the violence at football matches got well and truly out of hand.
“I got attacked on the pitch and got smacked on the side of the head, somebody punched me in the face. So, it’s happened before and if you remember, the Celtic & Rangers fans standing throwing bottles at each other in the middle of the pitch in the 70s,” Strachan told Pundit Arena
“I always remember being at a Hibs game, I was standing beside my mate and somebody threw a dart and it stuck in his head.”
“I think I mentioned that last week when I was doing something at Tynecastle, people behind the dugout were threatening my wife, abuse my mother, my sister and all that and I’m thinking the coach is probably going to demand to open the dugout and say ‘look are you going to do anything about it, just watch the game’. Now, could have rooted this out 10/15/20 years ago at Tynecastle, but we didn’t and guess what happened a couple years later, somebody runs on a smacks Neil Lennon in the face.”
Strachan believes the modern game it has moved beyond simply a ‘hooligan culture’ into a ‘yob culture’ and the only way to stop it is to name and shame those who feel the need to abuse players and managers.
“To be fair, let’s get it right, it’s not like for the last 40, 50, 60 years we’ve been living in Disneyland. What we have in Britain now is a yob culture, they can shout and scream abuse at anybody. But the incidents on the pitch now, I think they’ve got another problem.” Strachan said
“Not only do they have an alcohol problem but they and I know this for a fact, they have a drug problem, people are taking drugs now when they go to games, which, now I’ve never taken a drug in my life but I’m told that can actually make you go a wee bit loopy. So, you’ve got these people taking drugs as well as alcohol now, so there’s a different problem.
“The yob problem and yob behaviour has been spread through the stadiums. The number of times you see in games, people taking corner kicks and there are five or six people making disgusting signs behind their backs, screaming and abusing players and we’ve allowed that to happen.”