WBA against WOLVES, the return of the hooligans
What happened in the last Black Country Derby?
The fourth round of the competition most popular with English audiences is taking place. The historic FA Cup. A “The Hawthorns” It's not just any race planned, but this “Black Country Derby”. We are in the heart of the West Midlands. Real England that for years smelled of the acrid smell that came from the factories. Where “Coal comes from the earth.” Spots with black faces, calloused hands, snorting, spitting, hunched backs. The pride of the old working class remains intact in the 21st century and rivalries remain a ritual that is jealously adhered to.
Hard, angular, that seem to wither before returning with force, like an extinct volcano that suddenly erupts. West Bromwich Albion vs Wolverhampton It's not a game like the others. In fact, despite the difference of a category, i.e “Baggies” They hold the field well. On the counterattack they fall behind, fight, but with twelve to go they concede 0-2 to Cunha.
Then what many feared happens. The fans heat up and they enter the field from part of the stadium.
The riots broke out in the corner of the Halfords Lane stand where some of the West Brom players' family members were sitting. The two factions engage in a duel in the stands and on the field, and when the players return to the tunnel, the police intervene. The number speaks of five arrests during the game, plus one before. At least one fan was carried on a stretcher, while another, his head dripping with blood, was carried away with his arms behind his back. A ball boy was hit in the head with a plastic bottle. West Brom have pledged to ban for life any fan found guilty of the clashes. “The club will work with West Midlands Police and the Football Association to fully investigate the incidents which led to the suspension of play.” We read a note from the Biancoblu.
The news apparently made the rounds on British front pages and websites. Paul McInnes, on Guardian, focuses on the fact that it was so “the first Black Country derby with fans in 12 years, which was ruined by violence after the 2-0 win”. Confirms the arrests of people aged between 16 and 58, as well as police and football association investigations. A dry chronicle The Independentwritten by Lawrence Ostlere, writes about “Horrifying scenes that are a warning for football”.
Over thirty years have passed since Lady Margaret's harsh blow to English hooligans. Heysel, Hillsborough and the Sunday brawls are a memory, but awareness must remain high. Also because history leaves no room for doubt. “A bald man had blood flowing from a wound on the top of his head. Fans appeared to chant “let him die” as he was taken away by police. A ball boy required treatment after being hit by a smoke bomb. Children were violently taken away and forced into the field to find safety. Disabled fans at the back of the West Stand were caught in the melee. Some were taken away on stretchers.”
The UK woke up on January 29th and tried to come to terms with the past. Does something come back without us noticing, or is it just a flash in the pan? According to the data, incidents have been sporadic in recent years. The Football spectator law 1989 and later the Football Disorder Act 1999 aimed to prevent convicted hooligans from attending matches.
But according to Ostlere, the events in the aforementioned FA Cup derby are a reflection of this “deep rivers of tribalism that have flowed through the country for decades”. And often the good old English Cup is the perfect place to settle scores. Teams from different categories meet and when the draw draws pairings such as the Black Country Derby, The atmosphere is seething in the air.
The signature of theIndependent talk about a “A country where football’s weaknesses are actually just a reflection of those of society – racism, sexism, violence – and tend to come to the fore when the outside world becomes more difficult.” Frustration often finds an outlet in football. “ positions, although it seems more likely that the origin of last Sunday's clashes was not political (or cultural).. If anything, it is a question between rival companies, emblematic of a territory where the roots of the working class run deep. Where fans like those of Wolves and West Brom, not forgetting those of Walsall and Birmingham City, represent the pride of a country of hard-shelled people. Exceeding a country's support. Citing the cinematic fresco by Shane Meadows: “This is England”.
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