Why Hooliganism is still a major issue in modern day football

Following the Old firm derby on Sunday, the fixture’s 416th since its very first in 1890, the sporting world was reminded of the dangers that still apply when going to a live match.

As often seen with bitter rivalries, tensions run high when building up to the event as both sets of players and supporters are aware of the consequences upon defeat.

After the events of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, hooliganism in football has seen a drastic improvement. However, after recent events in European fixtures especially, it may be back on its way to the dark days of the past.

The Glasgow derby

With the league all but wrapped up for Celtic, Rangers headed to Celtic Park aiming to bridge the 10-point gap heading into the business end of the season.

After defeat for the Gers, they’re looking likely to end Steven Gerrard’s debut season as runners up in light of Celtic winning their eight-successive title.

Despite the game being filled with action, drama and controversy, the score line wasn’t the main talking point from yesterday.

Sky Sports reported on an incident which occurred after the game yesterday, leaving ‘three people treated for stab wounds after a brawl believed to be between Celtic and Rangers fans’.

Detective Inspector, Peter Crombie insisted that the police are “treating the attack on the 47-year-old man as attempted murder, and the attacks on the 29 and 30-year-old men as serious assaults.”

The violence could have easily been sparked by the high aggression in the game after Rangers went down to 9 men following off the ball incidents.

Champions League fear

During the last few seasons of the UEFA Champions League, football supporters, most notably English have been victim of violence whilst following their team.

One of the most recent case of hooliganism involving a Premier League team in Europe occurred in Liverpool’s first leg of their semi-final against AS Roma last April.

Liverpool fan, Sean Cox was knocked ‘unconscious to the floor’ by Italian fans ‘carrying belts as weapons’. (Telegraph) After suffering life changing injuries, the Roma hooligan was jailed for over three years.

Another incident of violence involving an English team occurred in the return leg of PSG and Manchester United this season. After United’s shock comeback against the French champions, the Mancunians were in full voice on their route back to England.

During a taxi ride, one fan was ‘stabbed in the chest’ in attempt to ‘protect a female friend’, the driver presumably angry at the celebrations. (Sky Sports)

Despite the Champions League being a great spectacle for any football fan, people are now thinking twice before attending, especially when in the presence of younger supporters.

Safe standing

In attempt to create better atmosphere in English football, many supporters are calling for their respective clubs to introduce safe standing.

Wolves became the first Premier League club to introduce this, with Spurs following suit in the construction of their new ground.

However, the policing at football matches should be reviewed thoroughly before introducing safe standing as many steward jobs are taken up by students who have limited training and want to earn a bit of extra money.

The latest incident involving stewards failing to carry out their role happened in the Second City derby when a Birmingham fan escaped the watch of police and attacked Jack Grealish on the pitch. This shock occurrence poses the question to why there isn’t more policing at matches, especially high intensity derbies.

Do you think safe standing will have a positive or negative impact when introduced in more Premier League stadiums?

Matt Butterworth.

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