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Hooligan shame

A weekly column reproduced from the Bristol Evening Post

There can be no greater condemnation of the state of this nation than the ugly scenes that took place in Copenhagen last Wednesday.

A bunch of flabby, pizza-faced yobs, brains deadened by computer games and crap teachers, getting chased all over the place before resorting to throwing bicycles at their assailants. They were a disgrace.

In my day, Johnny Turk would have got a damn good thrashing for his impertinence.

And that’s what’s gone wrong with this country. Even our hooligans, once the finest in the world, have lost the plot. Throwing bicycles? Please. We’ve gone soft.

As usual, it’s all Mr Blah’s fault. When you’ve got soldiers whose guns don’t work and sailors who have to shout “bang” instead of firing shells, is it any surprise that our football thugs turn out to be about as threatening as Tinky Winky?

Even our small change is no good for throwing any more. Have you tried chucking a five pence piece at a referee lately? You could score a bullseye and they wouldn’t even notice. Now an old half-crown, that was currency with aerial impact. It would fell an Italian goalkeeper at 30 yards. And did.

It wasn’t always like this, oh no. Back in the Seventies, we knew how to riot. English football hooliganism was our number one export. Talents honed on the terraces of Anfield and Stamford Bridge made us the world leader in pre-match punch-ups.

These days they haven’t got a clue. Visit any football fanzine web site and you’ll find a few old hands telling tales of derring-do while the kids of today gather round in fascination.

It’s a bit like my grandad telling me how he used to strangle Germans. But instead of stories from Arnhem and North Africa, it’s now memories of battling on The Kop and chasing the fat boys in butcher’s coats (you know who you are) across The Shed at Chelsea.

With Euro 2000 looming, it’s time to take a stand. Mr Blah must introduce training schemes for hooligans as a matter of urgency. We could use the Millennium Dome for mock battles, with workshops on how to wreck trains or how to sneak into the opposition’s pub.

We built an empire on being handy in a ruck. Fighting is what we’re good at. This country needs top class football hooligans. And throwing bicycles at computer programmers from Instanbul just won’t do.

I’m more than a little puzzled by Jack Straw’s wizard scheme to make criminals who fail to do their community service attend prison during the daytime.

Let’s think this through. Here’s Mr Sticky Fingers, second-rate scrote from a tower block near you. He was sentenced to paint some old dear’s fence after getting caught nicking hub caps off BMWs. The fence remains unpainted, so we’re going to bang him up from nine until five.

So in the unlikely event that our old friend Sticky has a job, he won’t be able to work. And after spending eight hours drinking tea and biscuits in the warmth of the nick at our expense, he’ll be turned out onto the streets again to go burgling under the cover of darkness.

Hmm. I think it’s back to the drawing board with this one, Jack.

So, the Baby Blah makes its entrance just in time to head up the next election campaign.

We are told that apart from one “official” photo, any invasion of Baby Blah’s privacy (i.e. publishing a picture of him) will result in injunctions and all kinds of lawyer-related nastiness. Don’t believe a word of it.

The forces of evil (a.k.a. the NuLabour press office) will wheel out the infant every time Tony’s flagging popularity drops another few points. This is not a baby, it’s a photo opportunity.

He shall therefore be known in these parts as Damien. And every mention of his name shall be accompanied by the music from The Omen.

– Barry Beelzebub

* The views of Mr Beelzebub are purely personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Editor or staff of this newspaper, of anyone who thinks David James should be in the England squad, of the gutless BBC chiefs who replaced Grandstand with My Fair Lady, or of that strumpet Jolene who’s bonking Sid Perks in The Archers. What is the world coming to?

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