Terrace Talk

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In my darkest moments, I don’t think I can conceive of the rationale for the perpetuation of the lies. I can understand how some spiralled out of control, how misinterpretation of events transpired but it’s the continuation of them which is baffling. As David Conn observes in his excellent Guardian piece, the basest accusations were born of the biology, as control of bodily functions ceased as life passed agonisingly from the victims.

He destroys the tissue of lies wilfully spread by politicians, civil servants and police in collusion with the Fourth Estate. They were born of the Establishment’s contempt for anyone who wasn’t of their ilk. Football supporters were an easy target for the undisguised hatred of the ruling classes with the South Yorkshire Constabulary willing stormtroopers as they were in the Miners Strike. And they rest easy in their rocking chairs, safely drawing pensions untroubled by exposure.

The truth over the two years was laid bare and there was no hiding place for those whose actions resulted in 96 deaths. 96 people who never came home from a football match.

When we offer romantic versions of terrace culture, of the good old days, we skirt over the reality of football in the 70s and 80s. On and off the pitch, it was far removed from today and on regular occasions, malevolence was rife. But not on that day in Sheffield; at least not on the part of the supporters. Clubs and authorities treated us with contempt, resulting in the prevalent attitude among those whose primary function was to make sure that supporters watched a game safely.

Anyone who went to matches in those decades can relate to the manner of their deaths. We all have tales of being crushed, where safety barriers had the opposite effect they were supposed to. It’s still numbing even today to recall those moments.

There were certain grounds where you knew the trouble would happen outside the ground, where you had to be wary. There were other grounds where the terraces were known to be the problem, packed with like-minded souls who wanted to watch the game and of sufficient numbers to know that a back against the safety barrier was better than leaning forward no matter how comfortable that stance was as the terraces filled.

Nowadays that can’t happen. All-seater stadia have changed the atmosphere with talk of ‘safe standing’ slowly becoming reality. The Celtic experiment will be watched closely to see if it is practical with clubs more interested in the financial implications. If all-ticket enclosures can make money, they will not oppose their introduction. It’s that simple, not a case of supporting them to improve the atmosphere but to make sure the bottom line isn’t negatively affected.

There’s no real reason beyond money for opposing their introduction. I fully understand why some of the families of the Hillsborough victims would be against the idea; theirs isn’t born of ideology, it’s a human reaction to a situation which cost them the life of a loved one. Who can argue with that view being held?

The real issue is that too many politicians have no clue what the implications really are. With Premier League clubs selling only to members, it’s a different scenario to the past, society has changed and the match-going public are more genteel.

There’s talk of rebellion at Arsenal but there’s more anger directed at individuals on social media than at the board and manager for the current malaise engulfing the club. When Terry Neill’s reign ended, he didn’t have the goodwill which Arsène has built and is seeing eroded.

This weekend, Black Scarf and REDaction have organised protests at the Norwich match. Tacit approval came from the AST which urged people to read the BSM and REDaction statements to decide the action they support. Personally, I support the action proposed on 12 and 78 minutes, as well as afterwards. It’s up to others whether they do as well.

What is apparent though is Arsenal supporters are waking up. Not just on this issue but on things such as ticket pricing. We’re by no means unique with plenty of like-minded souls at other clubs but the distance between clubs and supporters hasn’t in my view, ever been wider. There’s no sense of community, of communal being. That was the essence of terrace culture, a sense of belonging and that is what we have to bring back to football.

’til Tomorrow.

64 thoughts on “Terrace Talk

  1. Wavey says:

    Good morning,

    The decision many years ago to put up the fences shows something of the regard the “rest of society” had for football fans back then. We had to be caged because that was apparently the only way to control us. It was a decision borne out of a simplistic view, if we were fenced we couldn’t do any harm. It appeared that no other considerations were made and is typical of governance based on the premise that they are so much better than the riff raff they have to deal with.
    The events of that day were a tragedy which could have been avoided, but the attempts to cover it up and lay blame on the fans is despicable. Finally the blame has been laid where it belongs.

  2. Ras says:

    Good Morning YW hope you and your Family are all well.

    I did not know that Mark King ex of Level 42 was an Arsenal supporter and is also an active member of Black Scarf.

    He was on Talk Shite last night explaining the up coming protest.

  3. jonnygunner says:

    A very deep and meaningful post this morning YW.

  4. Simon says:

    Hopefully we will see these protests grow at every single match and something structural will change at the club.

  5. andy1886 says:

    Delighted for the families and friends of the Hillsborough disaster, though being a cynic I doubt very much if those responsible both for the event itself, the evil propaganda afterwards, and the cover up, will be brought to justice. If you’re part of the establishment the worst you can expect is a cosy retirement on a nice fat pension (or if you’re Philip Green you can steal your employee’s pensions too). Just glad that the true facts have been established before those responsible have conveniently passed on, at least they have been exposed if nothing else.

    As someone who was standing in the crowd at Highbury on 15th April 1989 as news filtered through (first that there had been ‘trouble’ and that the game had been halted, then that there had been deaths, and only much later after the game the full scale of the tragedy) I would still support safe standing. On one issue Arsenal did stand against the FA – they refused to install fencing around the ground, one of the few if not the only top tier club to take this stance for which they were criticised if I recall correctly. Although there could be surges I never recall the feeling of being caged in the way we were at other grounds. Without a doubt the people who insisted that fans be caged in like animals had a certain view of football supporters and I doubt very much that safety was high on their agenda. So good on our BoD at the club at the time, credit where it’s due.

  6. Colts says:

    It’s about bloody time, been waiting for an age for the mindless booing to cease and proper organised action to start. And I know ex players have to tow the line saying a bunch of crap but at least the manager leaving is bein spoken about by them.
    The Norwich match just got exciting, well at least i hope. I wanna see a sea of signs, i want a cameraman or photographer to capture Wenger in front of said signs kicking a bottle, arms spread, berating the 4th official. The wheels need to start gathering proper momentum.

    The 12th man has never been so important.
    Coyg.

  7. NuttnTiddy says:

    “That was the essence of terrace culture, a sense of belonging and that is what we have to bring back to football.”
    So you think insulting the players and manager of the club you claim to support will bring back the good feelings. Grow up please. Get behind the team and start GIVING support instead of publicity supporting insults.
    Arsenal have no absolute right to win the Premiership and over the past twenty years have on the whole (not always) served up top class football and about twenty other teams would give their back teeth for such a record….and you still sneer.
    Do you really expect top players to come to the Arsenal to play in front of so many appalling supporters,

  8. YW says:

    Andy

    We were in the West Lower that day. I don’t recall too much about how it spread beyond your recollection of how it morphed from trouble to the reality over the course of the match and the rest of the evening.

    I do remember a half-time ‘comfort’ break though. The talk was of the events and a Danish ‘supporter’ offered the view it was the typical behaviour of “English animals” at football matches. Wonder how long it took him to change his view, if he ever did before these days.

    On the subject of the board, they did indeed refuse the cage mentality. It cost them cup semi-finals with just three hosted in the 70s and 80s.

    Before we go overboard in the praise, they did look at a moat(!) around Highbury in about 1972 but the authorities turned down the idea.

  9. YW says:

    NuttnTiddy

    Please show me where I have insulted the players and manager. Thanks.

    I always find it curious that the only people who talk about Arsenal’s right to win the title are those who support the manager.

    The absolute right that we have as an Arsenal supporters is that being in the top four or five wealthiest clubs in the land, the manager and the board will invest in the squad and coach them to challenge for a title challenge every year. That’s the right and that’s where Wenger has absolutely failed, as have the board. Time for change.

  10. Pete the Thirst says:

    If the fences weren’t in front of the terracing there would have much less carnage, possibly no deaths at all. Unfortunately the fences were considered cost-effective against pitch invasions, when money was tight in British football. Highbury didn’t have the fences, but I regulalry experienced crushes on the North Bank when too many fans were let in, and the attendances were cooked so less tax would be paid by the club.

    Unfortunately it was only a matter of time before a ‘Hillsborough’ would happen. Liverpool fans were unlucky that it was them. Their treatment since the tragedy by the Police and elements of the Media has been disgusting.

  11. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    A sensitive and correct piece, Thanks YW.

    England has one of the best funded, best organised and least effective Police forces in the world, which hides behind a sneering contempt for the public at large. Usually they get away with arguing that they have no duty of care to protect the public which is their standard motif. Praised by politicians, protected by a toothless CCRC and with a largely sycophantic press they are a cabal of apathy to crime which the courts have exposed in this case. Too little, too late.
    The good news at least is that if the Tories would like to replace Blair’s patronising nannyism with a truncheon and a police state the UK police won’t help anymore: in comparison to police all over the world their lives are far too easy to want any part of that or anything slightly difficult or dangerous unless absolutely cornered. They would rather shoot innocent and defenceless Brasilians on the underground or hurd soccer fans to their deaths than go out and take on real criminals.
    Thoughts are with the Scouse fans today.

  12. Ras says:

    @Colts

    I am in agreement with you. There has to be an orchestrated approach to the whole protest. A joyful noise has to be heard from the Wide spectrum if Arsenal supporters who have had enough if this continued duopoly.

    This continued approach of AW being really answerable to himself Madness.

    AW I believe does take defeats etc badly. Hrs etched all over his demeanour. Who who who if ANYBODY Is asking him what is he doing. Who? Is he accountable to? Nobody as long as he reaches the required standard (4th).

    NO business should be allowed to operate like this. He operates within a vacuum. He’s virtually Untouchable.

    A ground swell of opinion has slowly but surely started to amass.We are not for turning.

    The reverberations are going to be felt at Colney..

  13. andy1886 says:

    Me go overboard on the praise YW? Not likely to happen is it 😉 Yup, ‘trouble’ was assumed to be of the disorder variety at first, but soon it became clear that the fans were the victims not the perpetrators. I was standing in front of the East Lower, North Bank end of the pitch, and there were people with radios passing the news out amongst us. Don’t recall much about the game to be honest, all the talk was about what was going on in Sheffield. I also recall it didn’t take long for dear old Mrs Thatcher to stick the boot in after the briefest of crocodile tears for the victims….

  14. Pete the Thirst says:

    The police / fan relationship back in 1989 was very them and Us. Hatred on both sides wasn’t uncommon.

    I recall coming out of Anfield after beating Liverpool to win the League in 1989. We were confronted by mounted police who very kindly told us that “the locals are going to kick the shit out of you” then they just trotted off leaving no protection for Arsenal fans. In the event the Liverpool fans were very gracious in defeat, shook our hands and congratulated us on winning the league. It felt like Hillsborough had drawn a line under the violence that was common around Liverpool matches. Once again the police misjudged the situation.

  15. NuttnTiddy says:

    “Personally, I support the action proposed on 12 and 78 minutes, as well as afterwards.”

    YW, please don’t be so naïve. Just what do you think the protestors that you support are going to do. Sing Land of Hope and Glory?You have been an supporter and run what I have considered to be one of the better blogs, most of the others being self seeking rants of hate and bile.Supporting a team consists of more than buying a season ticket then moaning about the price and expecting your team to win every match by a hatful of goals.
    ENJOY the match and I hope your blog returns with more sense and reason next season.

  16. Simon says:

    Tiddy, I think protests might encourage change. If you want Wenger out this summer then you will be disappointed however. If you want Kroenke to sell up you are deluded.

  17. YW says:

    NuttnTiddy

    The form of protest, with signage during a game at specified times, is the current manner of protest. There may be a song but the over-arching reality, which all organisers are pushing, is support the team. You can do both – be fed up to the back teeth with the ‘regime’ as well as being behind the team.

  18. andy1886 says:

    Pete, I recall of couple of matches when we were packed in in the previous 87-88 season, Liverpool at home was around 60k and also the League Cup second leg when a similar crowd was in for a mid week fixture. I recall jumping up in the North Bank and not coming straight back down because I was jammed between two rather large gentlemen. But I never felt unsafe, and at 5’5″ I’m not exactly a giant.

    AITG – Yes, you’re correct of course, we do have a very professional police force over here, but they are not in place to serve the public as the politicians would have us believe, they are here to maintain the system and the status of the elite that employs them. I’m sure older supporters recall police officers on horseback randomly riding through crowds of supporters flailing around with batons in the late seventies and early eighties. Because as YW mentioned, football fans were of course all nasty little working class scumbags 😉

  19. andy1886 says:

    NuttnTiddy, if fans want to protest what is wrong with that exactly? Is this North Korea? Guess not. You can say don’t do it in the ground during the game but when else can fans express their opinions to the two people who can make the changes they want (Arsene and Stan)? It’s the only place and time that they can make their voices heard. Arsene isn’t going to engage on a blog, he isn’t going to read any letters or emails from fans, and he isn’t going to pop down the pub and discuss it over a pint. Even at the AGM questions are pre-approved to avoid anything the club doesn’t like.

    As for ‘support the team’ it’s a lazy argument. The best way to support the team is to convince the club to buy better players, have a better manager, or at least to get the current incumbent to change his approach. Let’s not forget that in this business orientated PL these ‘fans’ are primarily ‘customers’, and customers have every right to complain if they don’t like the product. And before you suggest it, successful businesses do not respond to customer dissatisfaction by telling their most loyal customers to go elsewhere if they don’t like it.

    Nobody expects to win every game, to win titles every year. But it’s perfectly okay to expect the club to do everything they can to do that, and if they fail then fair enough. Arsenal and Arsene are not doing that and haven’t been for many years. It’s not good enough. If you want to merely ‘enjoy the game’ like another form entertainment then feel free. For many supporters our club is much more than that.

  20. C says:

    Thoughtful and top post Yogi.

    I’m happy for those families because its viewed as a win and though I have never personally been affected by a tragedy like that, I would imagine that a win is a win and those families deserved this win.

    I think the thing that this protest is showing is that the supporters for the most part are unifying and that is what has been missing. All to often the supporters have been divided by Arsene and now I think the supporters are coming together to support and want our club back.

  21. Colts says:

    Ras

    Fingers crossed for a few thousand. I don’t think he take defeat that badly, he’s way too lax for that. Example: Aaron’s lax. He doesn’t strike me as the “I hate losing more than I enjoy winning type”.
    Personally I just think he’s prone to petulant drama queen episodes, as that attitude has reared its head many times over the years throughout many squads.

    Aitg @ 10.11

    My thoughts exactly. Perhaps immigration has another role to play.

  22. MikeSA says:

    You amaze me YW. I take my hat off to you for answering in a civil manner. Personally I try to keep quiet instead (often failing miserably).
    I always find these clowns amazing, so full of themselves and sure they know “the mature approach”, which is in effect either mindless hero worship or acceptance of sheer mediocrity being peddled as a luxury product (a bit like young kids at the fun fair who only see the bright paint and gloss over the tacky scuff marks chips and scaly layers along with dirt and grease smears.

    I think you quite clearly stated that it was everyone’s personal choice whether they were inclined to support this or not, and if they did, in what manner they felt was best, so why on earth do these arseholes think they have a right to impose their views on everyone else and get to dictate what should or shouldn’t happen?
    I also find the attitude displayed of ” oh well, maybe you will better better behaved next season seeing as I deign to toss a scrap of faint praise in your direction” so fucking patronizing and self absorbed its beggars belief.
    Perhaps this clown should consider that he’s welcome to stand there and have a little wank over his hero, but others are perfectly entitled to hold their own opinions and demonstrate in the manner they see fit, as long as it doesn’t become violent. Funnily enough, I suspect any violence breaking out would probably come from one of these tits.

  23. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Andy Like you the game that springs to mind is the League Cup semi at Highbury vs Everton 1988. The reported attendance was something like 53,000. I was in the North Bank that evening and I struggled to get under the roof the crowd was so big in the centre. I’m not short and I was off my feet for most of the match. It was uncomfortable.

    At the time the North Bank could officially hold something like 20,000. That evening I would put another 5,000-10,000 on that figure. So 30,000 in there. Dangerous.

    Before my time but the game more seasoned fans talk of was a game v Derby at Highbury 1972, FA Cup game I think. Official attendance 63,000 unofficial 70,000 plus. Stories of crush barriers giving way.

  24. C says:

    @Tiddy

    Have you ever taken a look at supporters of Barca, Bayern, Madrid, Manure, Chelsea, Milan, Leverkrusen and every other top or topish club in Europe; supporters CRUCIFY players and managers routinely and yet the BEST futbolers in the WORLD play for these clubs and managers literally beg to manage these clubs year in and year out with no guarantee of making it through one season let alone 20. Nothing in life is promised or guarantee but birth, death and taxes but wanting and aspiring to be great especially when you have the means too is something that we should all want.

  25. andy1886 says:

    Pete, you’re probably right, I expect it was dangerous. But as a relatively young lad (early twenties) I didn’t realise it. Even after Hillsborough I didn’t feel unsafe standing, it’s one of those things that you think would never happen to you. And the truth is, if the decision hadn’t been taken to open the gates that day, if fences hadn’t been erected, if football fans were treated with the care that should have been expected, then Hillsborough would almost certainly have never happened.

  26. Harry says:

    “They were born of the Establishment’s contempt for anyone who wasn’t of their ilk.”

    This. Same as it ever was.

    Fine article, YW. No prizes for guessing which rag neglected to splash the verdict over it’s front page.

    Guess these organised protests are just a taster of what’s to come next season. Still not sure how I feel about them to be honest, no desire to see Arsene’s (of all people) time here end in rancour and acrimony, or their effectiveness. The club has been drifting though, mired in apathy, even the football itself..mostly turgid now.

    Haven’t the stomach to see Arsene’s reign end in acrimony though, and whatever anyone say

  27. Harry says:

    Oops. Ah, Fuck it. Edit me (out), YW 🙂

  28. C says:

    Can one of my UK brethern please explain why it was thought a smart idea to install fences around the pitches during that time? As a younger American I just don’t get the thinking behind it, I well and truly think it seems like one of the dumbest ideas to me

  29. Ramgun says:

    You are correct Pete The Thirst, the crash barriers did give way against Derby in 1972. The game was played in the afternoon due to power restrictions because the miners were on strike. Three years earlier I survived a terrifying incident at Cardiff City in the FA Cup where the crush trying to leave the ground was such that I could not breathe and I had shirt button shaped bruises on my chest from the pressure. We were saved that day by a side wall collapsing. Some were hurt in the fall but at least we could breathe. In October 1963 an admitted attendance for a night game against Spurs was 67000 and I can still see Jimmy Greaves and Flint McCullough pulling people, mainly youngsters, out of the crush in front of me. It was inevitable that something awful was going to happen at sometime.
    A combination of a couldn’t care less attitude from football and a poisonous attitude from the police finally caused the deaths of so many poor souls. The police, particularly in South Yorkshire, had got used to feeding lies to the Murdoch press and having them printed in The Sun during the miners strike in the mid-80’s and this they did again. It is also an indictment of the Major, Blair, Brown and Cameron governments that it has taken 27 years for this stage to be reached.
    Nothing can give life back to those who perished and some of the parents have died before the truth was finally admitted. If this does something to turn our Police back into a police force who are there to see fair play and protect our citizens then something good will have come from this lie-infested disaster.

  30. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    Nuttn tiddy
    You have said nothing today except bleat your frustration at YW, who in my opinon has been very restrained. If I were you I would read what he has written again because you will find that he has only called for change.

    It could be the change of our transfer strategy, it could be a change of tactics, like learning not throw everyone forward in search of goals and leaving ourselves exposed to counters week in week out, It could be the purchasing of a decent striker who can hit twenty five or thirty a season, or who needs only 10 opportunities to score a goal rather than 25. It could mean more engagement with the concerns of the fans over ticket pricing or building a community that includes fans.

    I would suggest that your concern for the future of the club after AW leaves is making you so agitated that you can not see the many possible alternatives in Yogi’s coomment and to a degree we all share that concern. The difference is that some of the readers would like to move on because missing finishing 4th for a few seasons while we find a new custodian is nothing in comparison to watching the naive predictable mistakes and lack of ambition churned up each year at the moment, we are supporters of a team and we need to be turned on.

    Football is not just another mindless religion where belief is the only source of redemption and we don’t have to believe in what is going on out there; there is no bible or high priests to warn us from straying; there is just good or bad football in all its complexities.

  31. andy1886 says:

    @C – A good idea? I’m convinced that the idea of fencing in fans had nothing to do with anything other than politics. Our government of the time (Mrs Thatcher may have been popular in the US but plenty of us in the UK were not blind to her spite towards working class people) had for some time been working on demonising football fans, using words like ‘scum’ as a general description of all fans. The FA in their wisdom were only too ready to fall into line and agree to cage people who were being depicted as animals. There was no logical reason for fencing, the vast majority of any trouble was conducted outside the ground, often at pre-arranged venues that were no where near the match, and often the people involved were much more interested in fighting than football which gave them only a good excuse for a punch-up.

    Of course the government took the opportunity to be seen ‘doing something’ about the people that they had spent years portraying as some kind of evil blight on society. It was good PR for them .A cage is a good solution for containing ‘animals’ so that worked really well, and those terms were in frequent use concerning football fans (animals, cage). I’m pretty sure that amongst the ill-informed lazy middle classes it was a very popular idea. My parents had no problem with it – as usual they knew that I wasn’t one of those nasty supporters, it was the rest of them (as most parents probably assumed), they had been brainwashed.

    Sure, the fences may have stopped a couple of potential pitch invasions, a few scuffles that usually involved no more than a handful of people, but their main purpose IMO was a political message that our dear government would ‘crack down’ on us nasty football fans. How ironic that that same government did far more to destroy society in the UK during the eighties and the consequences have been evident ever since. Now we know who the real criminals were.

  32. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    C

    The barriers were there to keep the hoi polloi and anything they cared to project off the pitch.

    The trouble was of course caused by Johnny Rotten who was such a shit guitarist it became popular to throw your beer bottle at people you loved and respected.

  33. C says:

    @AITG

    It is such a terrible idea, I get that you want to keep people from throwing things on the pitch but fencing them in to me just doesn’t make sense. I mean it just seems like a terrible idea even in thought, like this is the conversation that I think happened and it just sounds stupid:

    Suit #1: How do we stop these supporters from throwing shit on our shitty pitches?

    Suit #2: Lets fence them in because it seemed to work well with animals and well we do have a couple bad apples at matches that get drunk and act like animals so lets cage them all in?

    Suit #1: That’s a brilliant idea but how do we spin it.

    Suit #2: Safety naturally.

    Suit #1: Good idea

    Any rational human being: That is a fucking stupid and terrible idea, thousands of charged up futbol supporters with no place to go, something might happen like death!

    I guess its something I will never understand but there had to have been other ideas brought that could have been safer.

  34. Colts says:

    That should have been Aaron’s LAx

  35. C says:

    @andy

    Quick side note on Thatcher, had to write a paper on her, what a fucking piece of work she was.

    That is insane that any of that was the thinking behind this, the mere fact that people actually thought that it would be wise to cage in people makes no sense. I get the usual suspects wanting to meet up before a match and get ridiculously drunk and call themselves supporters while looking for a fight, deal with them all the time here in the States when I tailgate, but the police deal with them specifically with the understanding that there will ALWAYS be a few bad apples and most just want to watch the match and go home and either enjoy their clubs victory or moan about their defeat.

    The premise behind the government ‘doing something’ in sports is something that I don’t understand either. I think that is one of the things (trust its one of the few things) that I think the US government does well, they for the most part keep out of sports unless they are forced to but when it comes to things like crowd control, they have policies but mostly leave each club and sport to ‘figure it’ themselves. Its just one of those things that during any era fencing in raging supporters of all ages just doesn’t seem like a good idea especially if there is a political agenda behind it.

    Haven’t we always known who the real criminals were/are?

  36. silvergunner says:

    Afternoon YW wholeheartedly concur with you on protests of this type being a viable option for arsenal supporters showing their frustrations about the general malaise felt by most about our club.
    One only hopes the powers that be are paying attention.

  37. The Arse in Namib (AITG) says:

    C

    England is riven with class, and with that comes the badges of fear and loathing which we wear in our politics; about EU membership or in our treatment of each other. Part of us is Little Britain and proud.

    I didn’t go to any football matches during that time, but it was the age of Death Race 2000, punk and other dystopian views of the future and football was the arena where we could all be treated like the c@#ts we were told we were.

    To coin a good old English word for the occasion.

  38. YW says:

    Harry

    I don’t see it ending any other way unfortunately. The only way is a blaze of glory with the title or Champions League (hugely improbable) or leaving this summer. I think, at the moment, the apathy is increasing and that only feds dejection. A good summer might quell some but descending into the same mistakes next season will only lead to more of the same.

  39. andy1886 says:

    @C, Indeed, she was too. Divide and conquer was order of the day. They needed bogeymen to take on (like the unions for example) and football fans fitted the bill, so we were on the list of ‘evils’ to ‘defeat’. Turn it into a crusade and win votes, that’s what it was all about. They didn’t give a shit about the people they hurt, lives they destroyed, this was a government who closed down industries, put millions out of work, and then spun the idea that the unemployed were useless lazy layabouts. Hooliganism was made into a problem for government because it suited them to do that. Fences were a very visible solution. Job done.

    Certainly we know who the criminals are but they aren’t going to allow anything to change. This time they’ve been caught out – eventually. But they will do their utmost to ensure that the status quo remains, Stan will use sports businesses to earn money he doesn’t need and Walmart employees will continue to live on the breadline. Another reason why the little man or woman needs to use the right to protest if they want to. And why others should encourage rather discourage them from doing so.

  40. consolsbob says:

    I really can’t be arsed to respond to our new friend. Same issue as Arsenal. Tired arguments and stale opinion. No progress. That never comes without change.

    On the other topic, I have stood in a crowd of over 62000 in the North Bank back in the first Double season against Chelsea. My Dad and I were standing at about a 40 degree angle. “I think half of them were on my back, Bert”, said the old man.

    I also remember a chant at Argyle from the 60’s. “Harry Roberts is our friend, is our friend, is our friend. He kills coppers”

    Banter, eh!

  41. Bill says:

    Great post yogi.

    All that we can expect as fans is the club and its manager are doing everything they can to bring the best possible results. If you believe that is not happening or that the current manager is no longer the best option then it’s crazy to sit back and not say anything. If you believe that we have hit a period of stagnation and the best option to get things moving forward again is to change managers then voicing displeasure with the status quo is the correct way to support your club. The pressure to make a change in our case has to come from the fans. Unfortunately our options are limited and hopefully no one does crazy stuff.

  42. C says:

    @AITG

    That makes sense and I still have a laugh at times at the way the classes are viewed both present day and in the past (though the US at times tries to mimic it and well its a joke too).

    I find it extremely interesting but also alarming that futbol even during that time is so polarizing and how so often the Establishment has to weasel their little noses in and fuck up everything and call it “reform”. Sons of bitches, all of them!

  43. C says:

    @andy

    Correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t one of her major blunders the fact that she didn’t believe school kids should get free milk? I know that is random but I just remember it was one of those odd things that you can’t forget when reading about somebody.

    I think supporter of futbol will always be considered worst than they are and because of a few bad apples and the fact that its so easy for politics to get involved. Fencing in a crowd of people makes no sense and I have seen the most raucous matches in Brasil be dealt with without using fences, its a shame that lot couldn’t figure it out but I am happy that there has been some kind of justice. I don’t think they give a shit now what people they hurt or the lives they have ruined, they just happened to really get caught with their pants down this time and because of that everything has been made public.

    The best way to create change is to have a voice and speak up and that is why I have no problem with protest as long as it is done the right way. Peaceful well organized protest I have no problems with because its a voice to those that need a voice especially when it comes to matters of futbol were there is such a divide between supporters and most clubs nowadays.

  44. Goonerton says:

    pardon I for seeing some as hypercritical. I recall certain comments when BlackScarf was mention early last year. seems to be ok now though.

  45. Harry says:

    Sure, YW.

    Of course there’s slim chance of any late blaze of glory now. Can’t see Arsène radically altering his, er, modus operandi at this late hour, and, seemingly with no internal pressure on him to do so, you can only see a similar (or worse) season unfolding, with increasing unrest.

    Just not convinced that simply getting rid of AW (and I fully understand, he’s been sleepwalking into this mess for years and think he should have gracefully exited after the Cup win), will change much. We could talk all day about of the type of exciting new manager we want, one who’d shake things up and eventually get us challenging for the big prize again. Doesn’t seem to be what we’re all about now though.

    Still, we’ll see. What do I know (f*ck all, to be fair).

  46. Goonerton says:

    we call it Talkshite but, they were saying things about how the club was run years ago and I can’t recall many things that were said that was wrong or lies. Or is it that we are ok to say it but not non-supporters are not allowed to say I’m guessing.

  47. Pete the Thirst says:

    @Ramgun very interesting post. NOthing was going to change until some people had died. Very sad.

    @C the fences initially came to stop pitch invasions, which were intended to get a match abandoned. United were good at this, but it didn’t stop them getting relegated.

    The fences just got bigger and badder. I recall going to Millwall where they had razor sharp wheels on the top of the fences. Metal detectors were standard at West Ham & Chelsea. Police used to throw you out of the ground for invented indiscretions, and requisition dangerous items from your person to use in the police social club. – Reading that makes me wonder how the fans put up with it.

  48. C` says:

    @Pete

    That sounds absolutely crazy to think that people were okay with those things and fences going up. Hell you even admitted it after writing.

  49. andy1886 says:

    I’m not sure how putting people in cages is supposed to stop them behaving like animals…. And how many games were abandoned due to pitch invasions? We had no fences of course and I’m not aware of a single abandonment.

    @C, yes, Thatcher the Milk Snatcher was her nickname although she did that way back in 1971 as Education Secretary before she became Prime Minister in 1979. Should have been a warning but I guess the great British public wasn’t paying attention.

  50. C` says:

    @andy

    Kind of crazy to think that people are more likely to act like animals once they are caged (or fenced in), who would of thought?!?

    Yea well it was clear Thatcher had all the makings of a proper scum politician but nobody seemed to care.

  51. YW says:

    Goonerton

    I think many gave found them more acceptable as they dropped the polemic. I certainly did; although I agreed with their end, it’s only since they began to engage with people that they gained support.

  52. YW says:

    C

    Yeah, Thatcher The Milk Snatcher. I am of the last generation of schoolchildren that had free school milk.

    And no, I never voted for her, mostly on that basis as it showed the person she was.

  53. andy1886 says:

    Just about got a taste for it before she took it away YW, I would have been six in 1971…

    Nasty old bag, she wasn’t very nice either.

  54. C says:

    @Yogi

    Its complete madness for somebody to want to force kids to pay for milk at school. How she became Prime Minister is beyond me.

  55. Ras says:

    Watching the Athletico and Bayern match.

    If ever a team were cut from the same cloth as their Mabager then Athletico are that and more.

  56. Ras says:

    @C

    Thatcher and her Thatcherites as they became known were a gang a law unto themselves.

    Her policies at Home and abroad – ‘Special Relationship’ with the US- Ronnie ‘The Actor ‘ Reagan had her despised by many.

    The daughter of a grocery shop owner would become known as ‘ The Iron Lady’.

    She so incensed that many people that IRA bombed a Brighton Hotel where the Conservative Party were having their annual back warming – party.

    A number of High level acolytes were hurt. Thatcher escaped unhurt.

    I hated the tone of her voice. She became great material for a number of British satirists- comedians.

    When she arrived in the political scene the UK had been under the governance of Labour. The UK Then had strong unions and charismatic labour bosses.

    She decided to take them on Arthur Scargill the Head of the then biggest Miners Union was her bête noir.

    Thatcther and her lot had very little compassion for the working class.

    Under her supervision privatisation and the ‘ Free Market’ system of economics were greatly encouraged. She and a kit if her like made a lot of money.

  57. andy1886 says:

    In some respects she brought the US Capitalist model to the UK but with one big difference. That is, unlike in the US where the idea at least is that a man however humble can rise to the top, she did her utmost to ensure that while the illusion of prosperity for the working class man or woman was sold in reality it was, and remains, virtually impossible to achieve. All she needed was enough desperate people to fall for it and vote for her.

    Her legacy is what we are left with today. A rigid class system and a society where your status at birth determines your life prospects. I saw a recent study which demonstrated that it takes on average ten generations for a family to move up from the lowest to a middle class status in the UK (or conversely down from upper to middle class). Apparently this is about the same time it takes for biological traits to change, i.e. from being in the shortest cohort to one of average height given the right genetic input. Which is just the way the Upper Classes want it.

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