Am I the only one who seems to think everyone in the country is missing something? At Eastlands on Sunday a steward was struck by missiles thrown by Arsenal’s fans, and left unconscious by the pitch-side for five minutes. A disgraceful act that none of us want to see in football I’m sure you’ll all agree. And surely a more serious incident than the pathetic, infantile pitch invasion at Upton Park last month, where it seems that the large majority of West Ham fans were celebrating.
Yet the damning of each incident compare slightly differently. The Sun calling it ‘A horror pitch invasion.’ Sports minister Gerry Sutcliffe commenting on a “return to the dark days of the 70s and 80s.” Harry Redknapp saying he was “sick to the very pit of his stomach.” Danny Dyer saying, “it’s the best thing to ever happen to resurrect my slowly dying acting career.” I might be lying about the last one but you get the drift.
So what sorts of condemnations were there for the Arsenal fans? None at all. In the mass hysteria of people queuing to attack Emmanuel Adebayor for daring to give a little back to thousands of fully grown adult’s constant abuse and vitriol he had been on the receiving end of both prior to and throughout the game, nobody has mentioned the fact that the Arsenal fans were well out of order.
The bare fact is that Adebayor wasn’t the one who concussed the steward.
Before I go on any further, in no way does this mean I think Adebayor is anything but a repulsive idiot, who fully demonstrates what is wrong with the mercenary attitude of modern footballers. His stamp on Robin Van Persie was disgraceful, and I’m sure he will receive the punishment he deserves. His very public flirting with Barcelona, “There is no player who can say no to Barcelona”, made me sick, and there is nothing wrong with Arsenal’s fans telling exactly what they thought of him. But as the old adage goes, ‘if you can’t take it then don’t give it out.’
The blatant ignorance of the away ends misbehaviour can only be for two reasons in my eyes, both as wrong as each other.
Either our country has accepted that football fans are all mindless idiots, and therefore cannot control their actions in provocation from a fellow idiot. So everybody is willing to let this one go because football fans can’t help it. This view is so patronising and wrong that I really hope it isn’t true.
That leaves the fact that Arsenal were not in Green Street, have Nick Hornby as a celebrity fan and have a reputation of a family club without a real history of football violence. I won’t insult the reader’s intelligence by explaining why treating every team on reputation is wrong.
So unless the FA have a valid reason to treat Arsenal different to every other club, then the same book that was thrown at West Ham should also be lobbed in the direction of The Emirates.