I had to question my morals over the weekend as violence flared in France before, during and after the first set of Euro 2016 matches.
Of course violence can rarely be defended, but the explosion of journalists expressing their hopeless insights on the matter has been, well, a bit more than irritating.
Again, not because I condone the ugly scenes, but there is another side to it and one that – after 40 or 50 years of football hooliganism – they still don’t get.
It’s not all about racism, or deprived communities, or any other social or political circumstances for that matter.
Did any of these annoying journos who feed the neo-liberal and conservative press ever dare to put their hand up in class to use the toilet? Let alone stand toe-to-toe with a mob of 50 foaming-at-the-mouth brawlers in a back street with no police in sight?
The answer to that is no.
Now, I’m not saying that I was some kind of tough guy, but as with everyone else who fought at football, some of life’s most exhilarating moments have come out of it.
I know that sounds warped and students of anthropology will attach some primal, tribal mentality to it, but the truth is very simple… it’s a lot of fun for those who do it.
It’s part of the game that used to be, before the advent of showbiz football.
The times when millions of men around the world lived for Saturday afternoons – a good game of football, a couple of beers and a proper punch-up.
I was listening to some infuriating lady on Sky yesterday, barely out of a school uniform, saying: “Unfortunately, right-wing groups have infiltrated what is a family sport.”
Huh? No lady, what happened was, our sport was taken over by corporates, sponsors, families and tourists, around the same time you came out of nappies.
Then there was the BBC’s Nick Eardley on Twitter: “Have never seen anything like this in a stadium”, following Russian fans invading the England end.
Had he never heard of Heysel?
I mean, do some research you ignorant twit and keep your knickers on.
The vast majority of fans in France are there purely for the football, but there’ll always be thugs along for the ride.
The Russian hooligan gangs are still very active. Like many places in the world, their football fighting culture was born out of the “English Disease”, almost modelled on it.
An opportunity to “have a go” at their European counterparts to show their worth was always likely to happen.
Part of the unwritten hooligan rule book says no innocent bystanders should not be attacked.
Unfortunately, with a tournament of this size, and global press covering every moment, it appears that Marseille is an inescapable battle zone.
There has apparently been three very serious injuries which is terrible. But apart from that, there’s been little more than chair and bottle throwing in a small area near the harbour.
Its’ wrong, it’s bad, it shouldn’t happen, but can we just get back to the football please? Look at me, wasting a whole page on it!
Must end off by saying – as predicted, England, great squad, capable of great football, like we saw in the first half against Russia but managed by a complete plonker.
Could he not see Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli completely drop out of the game after both performing well in the first 45?
Could he not see Wayne Rooney’s brilliant Scholes-esque midfield display before taking him off? Could he not have just bump into a bunch of Russian thugs on his way to the hotel?
I nearly chucked a chair through my TV when they equalised… oops, sorry, wouldn’t want anyone branding me as a hooligan.