English football has witnessed one of its most damaging weekends in a long, long time after scenes of hooligan violence marred recent days. English football threatened to return to the hooligan-plagued days of the 1970s and 80s after violent and disturbing scenes marred recent days.
Huge strides have been taken in the resulting years to make sure that football doesn’t return to the shameful scenes of violence that became synonymous with English football fans domestically and abroad.
But this weekend has seen a referee chased off the pitch during a League One game, while West Brom and Wolves’ fourth round FA Cup clash was marred by ugly scenes that haven’t been witnessed in decades after fans fled violence in the stands by running onto the pitch.
West Brom vs Wolves
The first Black Country Derby in front of fans for 12 years saw ugly scenes as fans, including children, entered the field of play to escape violence in the stands after Matheus Cunha had put the visitors 2-0 up at The Hawthorns.
It’s understood that Wolves fans were watching the game in some sections of the home end and their reaction to the goal sparked outrage from furious supporters. The game was stopped for 35 minutes as officials and players left the pitch, apart from Baggies defender Kyle Bartley who led his children away from the violence sparked in the section of the ground where they were sat.
Police and emergency services treated the injured and removed the troublemakers, with police using batons to quell the trouble. Play eventually restarted and the final 12 minutes of normal and added time were played without a goal or flash point – seeing Wolves secure a 2-0 win.
A statement from The FA regarding the incident read: “The disorder that occurred at the Black Country derby between West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers is completely unacceptable.
“Safety and security are of the utmost importance, and the behaviour of those involved is dangerous and inexcusable. We will be investigating these serious incidents alongside the clubs and the relevant authorities, and the appropriate action will be taken.”
A furious Port Vale fan tainted their League One fixture against Portsmouth on Saturday after he entered the field of play and chased referee Craig Hicks off the pitch following the awarding and subsequent conversion of an 88th minute penalty for the visitors.
Hicks was alerted to the invader by his assistants before he ran off the pitch and towards the dugouts, where he was protected by members of the coaching staff from both teams.
After the 1-0 defeat, Vale issued a statement on the shocking event at Vale Park on Saturday, it read: “Port Vale Football Club condemn the actions of the individual who entered the field of play during today’s match against Portsmouth.
“We will work with the relevant authorities to ensure the matter and the individual is dealt with a zero tolerance approach. We remind all supporters that entering the field of play is a criminal offence.”
Fighting broke out between Hartlepool United and York City fans after their National League game on Saturday. Footage emerged on social media of clashes between the two sets of fans after the hosts won 2-1.
One video showed a group of men fighting by a set of traffic lights as cars blared their horns as they drove by. Officers did eventually arrive on the scene but not until after one man was knocked out and another supporter was left bloodied.
There was also allegations about the away end being overcrowded, coins being thrown and heavy-handed police tactics on a worrying day. York released a statement, which said: “York City Football Club are shocked by the footage seen, and are very aware of events that unfortunately occurred, following Saturday afternoon’s fixture against Hartlepool United.
“We strongly condemn any form of violence, in any setting, from anybody. Further steps are now set to be taken to fully investigate Saturday afternoon, ensuring that the right measures are in place for the future. The Football Club will make no further comment at this stage until it has met with key personnel surrounding yesterday’s events.”
An event that completely sums up the mindless actions of wannabe football hooligans came as Preston and Gillingham supporters clashed at London Euston train station on Saturday despite the two teams not playing each other.
Preston fans would have been on their way to Millwall for their Championship fixture, while the Gills were away to MK Dons. A video posted to social media showed the two sets of fans goading each other before fists were thrown and handbags ensued.
Gillingham were beaten for the first time this season as they lost 2-1, while Preston drew 1-1 against the struggling Lions.
Police launched an investigation into a brawl between Chelsea and Middlesbrough fans after the Blues cruised to a 6-1 victory and a place in the Carabao Cup final on Tuesday. It was previously thought the incident happened on Wednesday but Met Police confirmed the scrap happened after the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg.
The video on social media showed a group of Chelsea fans taunting Boro supporters who were seemingly up for a fight. After the first punch was thrown, screams and cries from women present could be heard.
Few stewards present seemed uninterested in breaking the several brawls up before other fans stepped in to separate those involved in the violence.
Even outside the UK, there were shocking scenes of unexpected violence as Melbourne Victory fans allegedly attacked Sydney FC fans on Friday after the two sides drew 1-1 in the A-League clash.
Melbourne fans are said to have attacked Sydney FC supporters who were not looking to incite or get involved in any type of violence. One Sydney fan was left knocked out by the attack while later on two Melbourne fans were left out cold by retaliation from rival fans.