Thursday, 27 August 2009

Unbelievable, Jeff!

I was, frankly, waiting for this. After the violence that surrounded the West Ham - Millwall Carling Cup game on Tuesday, Jeff Powell, in - of course - the Daily Mail, reckons that the days of hooliganism in football are back again. Jeff's argument seems to be that the recession we are currently in (or may be coming out of) means that the jobless are taking out their boredom and anger on the terraces. Which was, funnily enough, also his theory in October last year, when Millwall fans clashed with Leeds fans and someone threw a coin at Harry Redknapp (which is strange because allegedly Redknapp is no stranger to receiving money. Maybe it's because this time it wasn't in a brown envelope). Of course, I'm sure you can remember the onslaught of violence in football grounds that occured after these events last season. I myself was caught up in fights with over 26 different "firms". Oh no, hang on. That's not what happened. What happened is I went to some football matches and didn't see any violence whatsoever. I even shared a tram back to Sheffield train station with some Sheffield United fans, and no-one got glassed, head-butted or drop-kicked in the face.

This being the Mail, of course, there's bit of good old-fashioned class hatred. Obviously those that lost their jobs are from the working classes, and the working classes are the "underbelly, in this case bulging and tattooed, of British society" that love fighting. Powell speaks of "the mob" and "yobs" like a Seventeeth Century writer describing the Gordon Riots, despite the fact that a lot of these people fighting will be the same people that fought in the 1980's, now with middle-class jobs in the city and middle-class houses in Essex and Hertfordshire. And he's appalled that the "...more chic, corporate enclaves of the game [are not] immune. While there is a history of violence between West Ham and Millwall, residents of west London complain of disorder outside their million-pound homes when Chelsea play at home", clearly forgetting the days of the Shed End and the Chelsea Headhunters.

As an aside, Jeff also seems to want to take the credit for all-seater stadia in England, obviously forgetting about the Taylor Report -

"... I went to No 10 and began urging then-Prime Minister Thatcher to enforce all-seat stadiums in this country."

I'm not suggesting that the scenes at Upton Park and the surrounding area were welcome. But let's get some perspective here. A small percentage of people have been taking their cues from Green Street, Danny Dyer documentaries and the Hoolie-porn of Cass Pennant and his ilk. It is not a sign of impending doom in our national game. Jeff Powell, lest we forget, is a man that feels that the birth dates of former England players should influence the selection of teams for World Cup qualifying matches. The sooner he is pensioned off, so he can sit in some care home wanking himself into a stupor over the 1966 World Cup, the better.

*The blog may not get updated for a while now (so what's new?), as I'm off on holiday to the US from tomorrow until September 7th. I may blog from there if I get a chance, although given the itinery the Missus has planned I doubt I'll have much time. If not, I'll try and make some notes as to my thoughts over there and blog about them when I return. It might be best if I take a different notebook to the one I'm currently using, which has the design of a cover of a Leon Trotsky book on the front.*

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