Friday, May 25, 2007

The fields of Athens, cry

I was going to bottle out of blogging about the European Cup Final and its aftermath.

The Liverpool Echo has splashed on the tear gas attack by Greek police on innocent women and children, which is shameful. You can even see the video of it here.

Nigel Hughes has bravely had his say here. This is a flavour.

As usual the travelling football fans have tried to absolve themselves of any responsibility for the chaos that ensued outside the ground. Also as usual though, the truth will be that some football fans behave like absolute idiots once they get more than a mile from home.
Last night's incident is even more galling in that it involved Liverpool supporters. Some of the culprits last night will be among those who hold a vigil for the 96 every April. Most of them will still refuse to buy The Sun. Most of them will claim that they will not rest until every employee of South Yorkshire Police has been hung, drawn and quartered.
The hypocrisy of this is quite staggering.

English football fans seem to have shorter memories than the police forces of Europe. The days of widespread violence weren't that long ago - no one is even mentioning Heysel - and mobs of beery lads chanting songs all day long is quite alien to the rest of Europe. I have no doubt in my mind the same chaos would have blighted the event had Chelsea or Man Yoo got to the final. Blame whoever you want, the Greeks, Rick Parry, the police, UEFA, none of it hides the fact that the stadium was full and people didn't see the game, because some fans "stole" the places of others.

Athens was a poor choice of venue. Next year's final is in Moscow.


Michael Taylor said...

Someone has emailed me to add a comment:

a lot of them are such unbelievable, self-centred hateful tossers. Did you see that bloke on the news?

'i bunked in. i was on the front row right behind the goal.'

Interviewer: 'and you don't think there's anything wrong with that?'

'it's not my fault, it's uefa's fault.' I sense a new club motto.

It only winds me up because I, like many, knew someone who died at Hillsborough and have fund-raised in the past for the Justice campaign. But reflection, perspective and personal responsibility have gone out of the window.

Nick Morrell said...

Like the article said, Mick, the same sort of trouble would have ensued had it been Chelsea or Manure who'd got to the final, the fact that it was Liverpool makes it unbelievable.
Without wanting to condone the minority of scumbags, I feel blame ultimately lies with UEFA. I missed going on Wednesday night because I was unsuccessful in the ballot, despite having been to every home game in the Champions League. But I have mates who went. They tell me of no turnstiles, totally inadequate checking of tickets and over robust policing. So here we are, 22 years after Heysel,18 years after Hillsborough and showpiece games are still being held in stadia which aren't suitable, whilst true fans are still being treated worse than cattle.

Nick Morrell said...

As a footnote to the unfair treatment of all football fans, it's interesting that you can get a flight to Athens next Wednesday for £150, compared to the £650 that was being charged for last Wednesday!