After watching the shameful scenes of violence that filled our television screens over the weekend as ‘fans’ clashed in Marseille, I’m surely not the only dad with a son who is a fully paid up member of the Tartan Army who felt relieved our national team’s failure to qualify may well have saved me and his mum a lot of angst.
During the build-up to the finals I don’t recall reading or seeing anything much in the media about the danger of crowd trouble kicking off in France.
There were some reports on this side of the Channel that the English police and FA had compared notes and worked together to make sure a list of football hooligans known to them would find it tricky to depart these shores.
And I think there was one story on TV about a lad ‘with previous’ having his passport taken from him as he was about to board a budget flight to France, but apart from that, not much more.
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Certainly no “behave yourselves” or “if you don’t have a ticket don’t go” messages were flagged up until it was a bit too late.
Years ago I followed Scotland home and away and enjoyed great afternoons at Hampden Park and weekends in London after Wembley. I even selfishly cancelled the family holiday to jet off to Barcelona for the ‘82 World Cup in Spain under the mistaken belief that’s where we would be playing after making it through the first fortnight.
We travelled, we supported our team, and we obviously enjoyed a few beers along the way. But there were never any real concerns about safety. It’s tragic the same can’t be said today.