Sunday, 13 May 2012

Anarchy In Manchester

Joyous scenes in Manchester as the blue part claimed a dramatic last gasp Champions League Title. I do like a good, old-fashioned pitch invasion, me.

10,000 criminals, pictured this afternoon

Of course, every person represented in tiny pixels on that pitch were breaking the law under the Football Offences Act 1991.
It is an offence for a person at a designated football match to go onto the playing area, or any area adjacent to the playing area to which spectators are not generally admitted, without lawful authority or lawful excuse (which shall be for him to prove).
I'm not sure "being mad fer it chuffed" would count as a lawful excuse, more's the pity.

Now, I've been to that stadium once and witnessed first hand how the obsession with crowd control under the 1991 Act results in attendees being unable to see the pitch celebrations behind a wall of six foot coppers and charmless stewards. The suppression of natural exuberance by the stroke of a risk-petrified statist pen leads to the detriment of just about everybody.

Even the act of standing the kids on concrete blocks at the front of the stand was denied because of 'health and safety', so their view of some historic scenes was relegated to gazing at the hi-viz jackets and flared nostrils of jobsworths and government-empowered enforcers.

Obedience, it seems, trumps the entire point of going to live - and expensive - sporting events, that being the utter, liberating, unrestrained and cathartic joy of success. Government says so, see?

Previously, on the pitch, the same pointless unthinking 'authority' had showed itself.
Manchester City had just come back from behind, scoring two goals in extra time to win a Championship - something never seen before in football history, and probably never likely to be seen again - and the goal-scorer was penalised for over-exuberant celebration!

Can there possibly be such a thing?

I'm sure there are occasions where all-encompassing powers might be required, but today proves that those with authority over our lives are too ignorant of the human condition to wield them.

Like a diver rising to the surface slower than the slowest bubble to avoid the bends, modern authority condemns us all to be considered as the worst possible miscreants to avoid the inconvenient need to apply judgement. We must all suffer a less joyful life in order for a pitifully few in charge to feel like they are doing something useful.

As someone who is more of a cricket and rugby fan, I can't quite place when the casual pitch strolls onto the playing area at the end of test matches and five nations battles were stopped, but it's probably around the same time football soiled its trousers enough for some MP to massage his ego with overweening legislation.

Granted, Manchester police will be unlikely to prosecute those on the pitch today, but probably only because there are too bloody many of them to justify spending the money. The fact that the law is there at all just shows that we could do with a lot less government than we have now. After all, encroaching on the pitch as a crime is just one of thousands of pathetic over-reactions they have come out with in the past few decades.

One day, we might see some balance in law-making from our unanimously authoritarian parliamentary parties, but that day is nowhere on the horizon as far as I can see. If they would just sit down and throw out the odd bit of daft stuff every now and then, it would be encouraging.

Repealing laws which dictate what behaviour a business owner can allow on his own property - like the Etihad - would be a start. Just saying.


TheBoilingFrog said...

I broke the law when we won the title a couple of weeks ago by going on the pitch. No action in my experience is ever taken.

Also it gets broken every home match when the toilets become a smoker's paradise at HT - the stewards rather wisely decide there's too many to do anything about it.

Tom said...

It's hard to get politicians to repeal laws because idiots will believe they are thus approving or even encouraging the formerly illegal behaviours. Personally I think all laws should be time-limited. 20 years (roughly one generation) would be a good limit. If they are important enough to re-enact, fair enough. After all income tax law is renewed annually. They never forget that!

This would cancel the infamous "ratchet effect", prevent one generation from binding another with laws they had no chance to influence and keep politicians out of mischief because they would be busy constantly re-evaluating laws rather than layering them on blindly.

Henry Crun said...

I was there yesterday and still can't get my head around how City did that. Afterwards was just fecking mental.
That match was a microcosm of what being a City fan is all about:
The first half represented the last 44 years. The build up of early season hopes and dreams.
The second half represented the dashing of those hopes and dreams, usually around Christmas or after an early FA Cup exit.
Injury time represented the coming of Sheik Mansour and Roberto Mancini who have consigned "typical City" and "Cups for Cock-ups" to the annals of history and have created Manchester City v2.0

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Nice to hear it. Of course, they could make it easier by allowing some kind of outdoor area - storing up their own problems.