Finally Sunderland and Newcastle football clubs are in the top five of a table. The Premiership or the Champions League? Sadly not; unfortunately it’s a list of clubs with the highest rates of football related hooliganism.
Based on new Home Office figures just released, the “arrest” table for last year is as follows:
MANCHESTER UNITED 195
Before we get to depressed, let’s put this into context. Both Newcastle and Sunderland have some of the highest crowd attendances on a week to week basis, both home and away. There prominence therefore only reflects a clear statistical pattern. Police attitudes to football crowds and football related disorder have also become tougher, and with more games being shown on the telly, problems in pubs etc were inevitable. With an additional 5% increase in crowd attendance, a corresponding upsurge in arrests is no surprise. Finally, let’s not forget that over zealous steward, given a uniform for the first time in his life and a direct link to monitoring police officers. How many times have we witnessed supporters hauled out of their seats for mere over excitement?
So let’s not panic, and let’s hope that these table topping performances can be repeated in the football league proper!