Football FanCast columnist Rob Facey reflects on a sad night for English football by celebrating the one positive that emerged – Jack Collison.
Jack Collison came of age last night after West Ham's victory over Millwall was overshadowed by a depressing flashback to English football's dark ages.
The West Ham youngster, playing just 48 hours after the tragic death of his father, left the pitch in a flood of tears after helping the Hammers progress at the expense of rivals Millwall in a night of menace and tension on the terraces.
Missiles were thrown and alleged racist abuse spat from both sets of fans. Zola, along with any right minded individual, looked utterly stunned in the post match press conference. How on Earth is this still happening?
It is mindboggling that, with Collison's loss in mind – not to mention the shocking stabbing of Callum Davenport at the weekend – that some fans were determined to spoil the night for everyone involved by going on a rampage. A man has woken up in hospital this morning with stab wounds. It is utterly unbelievable.
We are lucky to have safe, modern stadiums. We have them for a reason, after all. It is depressing that they are still, clearly, occupied by a minority of knuckle dragging morons.
Some will claim that is shows a certain loyalty to your club. It doesn't. It is embarrassing and dangerous behaviour. Some will claim the police used heavy handed tactics. They wouldn't even be there if these grown men were capable of behaving like humans as opposed to animals.
Parker and Collison, again to his credit, tried to usher fans off the pitch after they entered the field of play. He shouldn't have to deal with that. It's not up to him. Nobody would have blamed him for deciding enough is enough but instead he continued to give his all and try and concentrate on the game.
Sky Sports News found themselves in an awkward position when, after tutting their way through footage of the violence, they then ran trailers for The Firm.
It is utterly abhorrent that modern football fans think parading around the pitch during the game, without a shirt on, no less, is acceptable behaviour. It is a shocking and sad reflection on our game.
Adrian Bevington of the FA has already spoken this morning of the threat this may pose to England's World Cup bid and rightly condemned the shocking scenes, highlighting just how far reaching this incident could be. West Ham will be fined and people will receive life bans. Good riddance; nobody wants you.
I feel sorry for Collison this morning. He is a true example of somebody who loves his club and needs to be celebrated. Nobody would have expected him to play this soon after such a loss. But he immersed himself 100% in the game and was obviously playing for his Dad. Instead the focus will be on the ‘fans' who show their ‘love' for their club by acting like thugs.
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