As if to provide confirmation – should any be needed – of last week’s commentary regarding the protection from violence of people in Britain, this weekend brought fresh reminders that the UK is not the streets-of-gold, safe, orderly environment many who wish to come here think it is.
There are far too many native Britons willing to speak ill of immigrants to the UK for having ‘bad habits’ when it comes to a casual attitude to law and order but the sad fact is that we have more than our share of people, born, brought up and educated here, who display far worse. The increasing number of knife killings is but one example and the individuals who ran on to the pitch during football matches over the past weekend are another. In the case of the wretched individual at the Birmingham City v Aston Villa game, the fact that he punched Aston Villa player Jack Grealish to the ground shows graphically what cowards these people are – Grealish was approached from behind and punched on the side of his face.
The perpetrator must never be allowed near a football ground or pitch again. While his prison sentence must be exemplary (and we are not sure that it will be) there is more to be done to show that society will not put up with this abuse any longer. While it may be unfair to punish the players and staff of Birmingham City Football Club by a points deduction, as some are suggesting, it would be entirely appropriate for the club to have its stadium closed to all spectators at least until the end of next season – the summer of 2020. Matches elsewhere involving Birmingham City FC must also be all-ticket and tickets sold only to home fans – none to those from Birmingham City. This may seem harsh but it is not the first time this has happened.
Perhaps then those who support the club, deprived of the opportunity to watch their team play, might learn that it is right to turn on those who purport to be supporters (which they clearly are not) and hand them over to the police before they commit acts such as the one inflicted on Jack Grealish. The same sanction must be applied to all football clubs since the UK has a very long history of spectator misconduct.
Or will it take serious injury or even death to a player before we as a nation, start to take our propensity to violence seriously?