Why would any parent want to take their young children to a football match? I have a seven-year-old daughter who is football mad but, even before Sunday’s scenes at St Andrew’s, I would not have felt comfortable taking her to a game.
I cover a lot of football in Scotland. This season I have heard sectarian chanting, seen seats ripped out and thrown by supporters and, at Hibernian on Friday, witnessed a so-called ‘fan’ run on the pitch to square up to Rangers full back James Tavernier.
The problems are not confined to north of the border. On Sunday, Jack Grealish was attacked on the pitch.
A Birmingham City supporter stormed the pitch in the derby and headed to Jack Grealish
Catching the player unaware, Grealish was hit from behind by the fan early in the match
I played in several hot-tempered derbies in my career — including for Birmingham against Aston Villa — and not once did I fear for my safety. Now, two players have been confronted by pitch invaders in less than 48 hours.
Lifetime bans are not enough. Jail sentences are the only way to deter these brainless individuals from entering the field and clashing with players.
It is desperately sad that our game has come to this. Off the field, things only seem to be getting worse.
The ‘fan’ was eventually apprehended by stewards and players from both of the teams