Thursday, December 02, 2010

Embarrassment taints night of joy

At the eighth time of asking, Blues finally beat Villa 2-1 last night to progress to the Carling Cup semi-final for the first time in nine years (and only the third time in the 30 years I’ve supported them). What should have been a joyous occasion – particularly seeing how Nikola Zigic’s winner was a late one in the same vein as Villa have enjoyed on three or four occasions in recent years – was marred by the scenes after the final whistle.

Blues fans piled onto the pitch, and sadly a minority of them went down to the Villa end to start taunting the losers. A minority of their fans responded by ripping up seats and even lighting a flare to chuck back, which then – in full view of the TV cameras – was returned in kind. The scenes were a return to the “Dark Ages” according to Blues boss Alex McLeish and it frankly ruined what should have been a great evening.

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of it all is the attempts by some Blues fans to defend the behaviour of those involved in the violence last night. It sadly helps to confirm the stereotypical view other fans have of us as a bunch of Neanderthal thugs. I couldn’t care less what the Villa fans did – our lot should have known better, particularly just 24 hours before the vital FIFA vote on whether or not England will get to host the 2018 World Cup.

What makes me laugh is that we’ve waited seven years for the chance to enjoy a late night derby atmosphere – had the fans controlled themselves, perhaps there might have been a chance in future that our league clashes would kick off at a more sociable hour. But no, apparently football is all about smashing up your own stadium and paying scant attention to what actually happens during the game.

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