The last few days have left us all wondering just how much should we tolerate in the name of "sport."After personally experiencing supporter violence, my own tolerance levels have dropped considerably.
Having lived in France for over 20 years I have often seen heated behaviour during football matches but I have honestly never experienced violence on this level. I'm trying to work out if it is on-field violence leading to off-field violence or whether football itself simply fuels a culture of violence. As an avid rugby fan ( obviously, am a kiwi!!) I have never quite understood why football, such a tender and tidy game compared to rugby, is so closely related to hooliganism. What I also fail to get is the pack-like behaviour of seemingly adult men leading to street violence and public fear.
Public fear is something we felt at close quarters this Saturday evening after the Welsh defeat of Slovakia. Bordeaux is a pretty quite place and in all the years I have lived here I have never been afraid when out at night. Last Saturday was a life changer for me. Home late after a dinner party, Harry, my wee York, needed a walk. Walking down the road, a normally very quiet part of the Chartrons, we came across a group of four Welsh supporters who were not only yelling their heads off but amusing themselves by throwing beer bottles at the facades of houses, front doors, down the road... A couple of them were even pushing over dustbins and jumping up and down on them until they imploded.
One of them made eye contact with me and I smiled and said " hey guys can we keep the
My partner was now lying prone in a pool of blood and in total shock. His first comment was to complain that he could not see. The police were called and after telling me they'd had a really busy night put me through to the pompiers/emergency service and an ambulance was with us in less than five minutes. The rest of the night was spent in emergency. Must add that Harry the York had his first experience in an ambulance and the medical staff were so shocked at what had happended to us that they admitted him into the cubicle where he jumped straight up onto the bed to work as a "comfort dog."
We left the hospital - my partner with eight stitches to the forehead, a battered, bruised and swollen face not to mention a possible delayed concussion. But apart from the physical injuries the worst was the huge fear of actually going back out into the street heightened by the anger that our city has been invaded by scumbag bullies who feel they have some kind of right to carry on violently to both its property and citizens.
In the aftermath my children were the first of many to criticise me for approaching the attackers. I see their point clearly however my question is still what kind of world do we live in where it is wrong to approach a wrongdoer and ask them to subside. Are we to just sit back and put up with such bullies and let them do as they please...and doesn't that just hark back to Nazi Germany where people just watched on, to scared to react, when "brown shirts" smashed up property and people alike?
Another rather obvious question is when did I as a tax payer "vote/agree" that my tax money would fund this event and all the supporting infrastructures needed to secure my city? I understand that this brings business to our city but the actual cost (building fan zones, police, medical services, overtaxed public transport) must surely outweigh any possible benefit.When speaking to our local baker she replied she was already fed up - visiting football fans had used her toilets and defecated all over the walls.
A final comment to all the international press's criticism of the French police firing tear gas onto the fighting crowds in Marseille,the very same press which has also criticised France of " extreme police presence" during the matches. Right now I take my cap off to those police who are brave enough to face these neanderthal individuals. It's not until you actually experience the violence that you can truly appreciate what the police are having to deal with and,frankly, what we experienced was pretty tame compared with what has been happening in Marseille!
Enough words. I am nothing but utterly disgusted!
Sorry, no recipes, no appetite!
This post is a reaction to my horror of football fuelled violence and is in no way attacking any particular country's supporters.