Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Senses. And the taking leave there of.

I am a lover of football, as regular readers will know, and I love the FA cup. I think there is nothing more romantic than a midweek cup replay played under floodlights, preferably in the worst possible weather conditions. It has a certain something to it that league football can never quite achieve. I also love to see bums on seats, I think it’s great for the competition and I’m always worried, for all number of reasons when ticket sales are restricted.

Yet despite all that, when word reached my ears this morning that tickets for the Arsenal v Cardiff FA cup replay have been put on general sale by Arsenal, with no restrictions, no need for membership or even a history of having bought a ticket before, my immediate reaction was to wonder whether somebody in north London has taken leave of their senses.

Football fans have cleaned up their behaviour immeasurably since the dark days of the early 80s. Yet that is not to say that incidents of football related violence don’t still happen. The Hull v Milwall game at the weekend demonstrated that. And certain clubs, such as Milwall, still have an element following them who are intent on causing trouble.

And high up in that list is Cardiff City.

I have only visited Ninian Park on one occasion and it was not a pleasant experience. The crowd was only about 4000 for a fairly tame mid table 4th division game but the atmosphere was still threatening and I have no intention of going back.

Arsenal are in effect inviting Cardiff worst element, ie the lot that have been banned, to buy tickets in the home sections for a mid week game where they will have been able to drink all day. I am predicting chaos, I am predicting a bloody riot. In addition it’s not like it will be easy to keep fans apart after the game or before it. Anyone familiar with the area will no that the Emirates is located in a rabbit warren of residential streets with access from 4 or 5 different stations. It’s a nightmare when the crowd is behaving itself.

I’m no expert in crowd control of management but it’s pretty clear that somebody somewhere has fucked up completely.

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