Jailed Thugs is a Good Result for Irish Football

October 11, 2007 at 9:53 pm 2 comments

I was in Derry on Tuesday night watching Bohs lose the League Cup Final. Before the match, a gang of thugs from Dublin attacked a pub in a Protestant part of Derry, shouting ‘Up the Ra’, smashing windows and injuring a customer. By yesterday afternoon, four of these thugs had been sentenced to three months in jail. I have written before about these parasites who latch onto football clubs, and we must not allow them to destroy the enjoyment of sports events. Here are some practical things that I believe should be done to tackle this problem: >>>

Firstly, we have to acknowledge three things:

  • One, this is an ongoing problem. Recently the thugs who have latched onto Bohs have caused trouble in Waterford, thrown missiles at buses in Dorset Street and at our own manager in Longford, put a Shamrock Rovers fan in hospital in a coma, and thrown bottles onto the pitch during the game at Saint Pats a few days before the crime in Derry.
  • Two, this is a very serious problem. These thugs could kill somebody. Last week in England a Bath fan was hospitalised and a Sunday League fan stabbed. In June in Argentina a man was killed in football violence. In February in Sicily a policeman was killed outside a match. This could happen here.
  • Three, only the thugs are responsible for the problem, but we are all responsible for tackling the problem. By ‘we all’, I mean the Government, the police, the courts, the FAI, football clubs, and all ordinary fans, both as citizens helping the police to tackle crime and as fans reclaiming our club and our sport.

Secondly, here are some practical suggestions for action:

  • Football clubs, and other fans, should encourage and highlight and help to finance the activities of non-violent fan groups who bring colour and atmosphere to games, such as the NBB at Bohemians.
  • Football clubs and/or genuine fans groups should make arrangements for home and away fans to meet and mix in pubs or clubhouses before games. This was done very successfully in Belfast before the Setanta Cup Final between Linfield and Drogheda.
  • There are some naïve people on the fringes of these gangs, who are being led by others. Any fan who personally knows anybody like this should try to persuade them to join with the majority and get their enjoyment from watching football instead of fighting.
  • The thugs must not be allowed to set the agenda of the atmosphere at matches. When they chant hooligan chants, the non-violent fans should chant louder than them. This has been done in recent weeks, and should continue.
  • The allegiances on match-days must be made clear. It should be the club, and the stewards, and the police, and the genuine fans of both sides, all standing together against the thugs. And the police must be educated in the distinction between thugs and genuine fan groups.
  • Hooligan flags are banned from Dalymount. This should also include sectarian tribal flags, such as the idiotic Papal flag tricolour that has recently appeared. To take this policy further, anybody chanting hooligan or sectarian songs should be identified and banned from the stadium.
  • The FAI should facilitate all clubs in sharing photos of people banned from any stadium, so that they can also be banned from all stadiums. This is already being done by some club stewards, including Bohemians, but it should also be properly organised on a national basis.
  • Where thugs commit crimes, the police should arrest them and charge them with those crimes. If convicted they should be given sentences that will deter future violence. If the police merely minimise the impact of the thugs on the day in question, whether by containing them or moving them around, or if the courts give them minor sentences, then that only encourages repeat behaviour.
  • The law should allow police to effectively tackle football violence outside stadiums. In the UK, the courts can not only ban thugs from attending matches, but they can also ban them from buses, trains, town centres, pubs and bars on match days. In Belgium, police can tackle football-related for 24 hours before and after a match. We should have similar laws here.

No one individual or group can do all of these things, but we should each do however many of them are within our power. And, whatever our differences of opinion about how best to tackle the problem, or however frustrated we may get with each other, we should remember that we are all on the same side, tackling the same problem.

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Entry filed under: Culture, Ireland, Sports.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Rovers  |  October 6, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    I think you should fuck up,first of all the gangs dont hurt normal fans they fight the rival gangs..we should just leave them to it they are only hurting themselves

    Reply
  • 2. buster  |  December 17, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    This is a good place for tickets to the premiership guys

    http://www.premierleaguetickets.net/

    Reply

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A blog by Michael Nugent

Welcome to my blog about living in the maddest country on earth. Please feel free to leave a comment.

I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohemians football club in the 1970s.

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Bionic Bohs

As mentioned above, if you like Irish football and/or cultural nostalgia, I also write Bionic Bohs, a blog about following Bohs in the 1970s.

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