Belfast Telegraph

Alan Green: Birningham violence was so predictable

Ignorance was behind those who wondered if the violence at St Andrews, the night before the World Cup vote in Zurich, might affect England’s chances. How could it if regular crowd trouble in Russia didn’t dissuade those who voted?

However, that’s no excuse for us to ignore it. Midlands police have sound reason to normally insist that all games between Birmingham and Aston Villa kick-off at lunchtime. Any other time is to invite the violence that erupted at the end of the Carling Cup tie, as it did the last time the teams met in cup competition.

There was absolutely nothing in the game, what actually happened on the pitch, that explains, never mind justifies, what took place. Those that took part simply haven’t got a brain except the part of which that planned the violence.

Hooliganism, if truth be told, has never gone away. Yes, it’s largely absent from the grounds, but you try walking the streets outside safely after a match between major rivals.

St Andrews was a reminder of the need for constant vigilance or else there’s a real danger of slipping back towards the worst excesses of the 70s and the 80s.

Belfast Telegraph

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