Well this isn't a blog that I was expecting to write! I wasn't even considering doing a blog covering the Tees Wear derby last night. I wanted to take in the game and the atmosphere and maybe have a bit of a shout and sing. Yet, I am going to write this blog due to what happened to me on my walk back to the car.
So just a quick view on the game. As a football fan, I felt that the game was a great advert for North East football. Encompassing the pride and passion that the fans have for their teams and that workmanlike dogged determination from the players. As a Middlesbrough fan, I was disappointed with our 2-1 defeat obviously, but yet I was incredibly proud of our young injured team who held of an in form Premiership Sunderland side for almost 210 minutes before succumbing to defeat.
Now to the walk home which wound me up. I came out of the game disappointed but reflective, echoing the feelings I expressed above. Yet, because of the 4,500 Mackems who had made the trip down, the road I normally walk to get to the car was blocked, leaving me to walk around the entire stadium to get to where I was going. Not only that, but I was pushed and shoved in the middle of a 20,000 blockade to get around the North Stand. (Those of you haven't been to the Riverside, the stand closest to the River Tees) Now this gap isn't the biggest at the best of times, but it becomes smaller still when ITV dump their TV Lorry in the middle.I might as well have swam down the Tees.
After battling my way through the crowd, and being persistently elbow in the back by some bastard behind me, I wasn't in the best of moods. I turned for the home straight, a cheeky walk down the East Stand and I was away! I turned the corner to find myself almost blocked in by a crowd.
It never ceases to amaze me how hard some people believe themselves to be when stood behind a fence or a police line. When a punch or a movement is made, you want to see the crowd scatter. I have friends in America who have become obsessed with films like Green Street, and seem to like the idea of football hooliganism. Now I am not a hooligan, I am the first one to put my hands up and say that I am soft as shite.Yet I have been in my fair share of crowd line ups and seen enough fights and walked in enough police escorts to know that its not cool, and its certainly not clever.
Anyway to my point, the crowd of Boro fans had been pushed back to the fence, so I turned to the police officer next to me (you know the people who are to 'protect and serve' the British public) and I said "How do I get out of here?" He looked at me in a blank 'you are a football fan = football hooligan' type stare, and didn't grace me with an answer. So I saw a gap form, so I went for it, some would stay stupidly, but I wasn't prepared to hang around and get filmed and branded as a hooligan. As I briskly went through a gap, one of societies protectors charged his huge horse at me, and if it wasn't for a bit of nifty foot work I would have been trampled.
On a side note, when are the police going to do away with the mounted division. They are there for crowd control supposedly, yet in all of my experience of crowds, the horses do nothing to make the situation better, and probably do more to make the situation worse, and hurt people in the process. I am not an expert in police tactics, but I feel that last night could have been solved with officers on their feet, and not with John Wayne riding round threatening anybody who walked past, trying to get out of the way. In some ways, I hope he had actually trampled me, then I could make damn sure that the disgrace would never work again! People are going to get trampled by one of them beasts, people probably already have, yet I struggle to see how that is 'protecting and serving my community'?
So in dodging this rodeo retard, I said "Watch out! Fucking Hell!" To myself more than anything. I then heard one of the standing police officers say 'Chill out son." This was too much for me to handle. I am not one to answer back, I am normally quite laid back, but the frustration of the game and the situation got to me.
"What?" I replied petulantly.
"Chill out" repeated the officer.
So I said, in not a loud but stern tone "In all due respect officer, yous have made me walk around the entire ground to get here, I was pushed and shoved all down there (pointing to the North Stand) with nobody giving any order to the direction people are going, and I get here to find a crowd which yous have pushed to the fence in my way, and in my attempt to get out of your way, I have been charged at, and almost trampled by a horse! So in fairness, please don't tell me to chill out!"
"Sorry mate" the officer reluctantly replied.
A minor victory. A major victory was that I was finally on my way to home.
Now I am not knocking the police, they do a good a job, especially in my area. However, a bit of calm and a lack of John Wayne's in uniforms would go further towards a smoother and less aggressive transition of the people that they are essentially there to protect. Instead of tarring us all with the same mucky 'Hooligan' brush. Lets be honest, if anyone saw me they would say "Hooligan? Howay!"