The score posters are Blu-Tacked to the wall, the flags are up and, once again, a minority of hooligans are attempting to sabotage the fun.
For a few days, the Euro 2016 headlines have been taken over by stories of violence, and not just in France itself. Even my home town saw a street riot at the weekend between two groups of ‘football fans’ from adjacent pubs, clashing in the street, fighting and throwing glass bottles after England’s match against Russia.
I’m pretty sure there are very, very few Russians in the small town where I live, so I am guessing these rival factions were actually both groups of England supporters?!
It’s hard to imagine where the connection is between the sport itself and this kind of behaviour? The players don’t condone it, the vast majority of football fans don’t condone it. All this violence is damaging the game, its image and everyone’s enjoyment of it.
Football is a popular hobby in this country, with boys and girls enjoying it as a healthy, competitive team sport that they can take part in – a positive alternative to technology, hanging around on street corners or even joining gangs. We need to make sure it stays as a positive influence and not let the hooligans take it over.
Let’s hope the authorities involved can stop this destruction of the Euro 2016 championships in its tracks, without any more repeats of the kind of scenes we have been witnessing. Let’s hope the focus can get back on the beautiful game itself.