David Preece: How big-hearted Sunderland fans are bucking the trend after ‘idiotic’ crowd behaviour

Aston Villa's Jack Grealish celebrates after the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
Aston Villa's Jack Grealish celebrates after the final whistle during the Sky Bet Championship match at St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday March 10, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Birmingham. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or "live" services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
0
Have your say

What is it about negativity that gives it the weight and substance of lead, weighing us down and dragging us under with it?

What is it that gives it such strength and power that fighting it seems a constant and gruelling battle?

Why don’t we find it as easy to bat away and deflect criticism as we do when somebody pays us a compliment? It only makes us masters of our own downfall in the end.

It’s just easier to go with the flow of negativity’s tidal wave effect and allow yourself to be carried along with it as fighting against the tide can be draining.

It’s the comfy pair of slippers that are by your side, rather than the walking shoes sat by the front door. It’s the snooze button when you know fine well you need to jump in the shower.

It’s a choice we’ve all taken many a time. It’s the road often travelled. Because of the way of the world, or at least the way we have allowed it to be shaped anyway, negativity feels like the norm. This is how life is supposed to be, isn’t it? Isn’t it?

Is that how life really is? Or have we lowered the level by which we gauge normality way below where it should be? I hate to mention Brexit, but that isn’t to blame for all of our society’s current ills. It’s merely a symptom of the diseased culture we live in.

Pre-2008 was no Utopia, and this certainly is no Question Time to delve in to the reasons why - but almost everything is worse.

At least in the past you weren’t fully aware you were being lied to.

Not only are we fully aware that we are being lied to, the liars themselves know we’re aware of their falsehoods and have the gall to keep up their pretence.

Leading to the point now where we just don’t trust anyone to tell the truth.

What does this have to do with football? Do you really have to ask?

Look at the three incidents of fan behaviour this past weekend and you’ll find the reason.

Again, we can vilify football fans as much as we like, but this isn’t football’s problem.

It’s everyone’s problem and it has to stop.

There will always be those who stray outside the boundaries of acceptable behaviour, but three incidents like this have been coming. Dissatisfaction in everyday life spills over into sport.

However idiotic the Birmingham fan who struck Jack Grealish is, somebody who is satisfied with their life doesn’t do that.

Even if you are stupid, but you’re happy, running onto a pitch to assault a footballer doesn’t enter your head.

There’s been talk of the widespread use of drugs at football matches being to blame for the rise in violence and discriminatory abuse and no doubt there’s more than a grain of truth in that, but again, content people don’t take drugs to watch a football match either. Not even when the football was as bad as it has been before this season.

These are the headlines though and bad news sells.

And no matter how much the clubs and the fan groups protest that this kind of behaviour shouldn’t take away from the good work done by them or the charitable work done in the communities or that it shouldn’t in any way reflect badly on everyone connected to the clubs, the sad fact is it does.

It taints both the club and its fans and just as the racist chanting needs to be wiped out, so does the entering of the pitch by fans too.

Coming down hard on individuals won’t stop someone else doing the exact same thing, but playing games in front of empty or partially empty stands will be a deterrent.

If those are the types of punishments dealt out then maybe other fans will prevent their mate from running onto the pitch next time.

Clubs are responsible for the safety of all fans and players inside stadiums and if this leads to a better standard of stewarding to be required by clubs then that is a good thing, but self-policing will make every other solution to this recent spate of idiocy redundant.

This week hasn’t been all bad though and it’s great to see that as a club, Sunderland have been bucking the trend.

It was heart-warming to hear the story of the group of fans who paid for a ticket to Wembley for an elderly fan.

Now THAT is the kind of fan intervention we should be seeing make the headlines.