Punish the thug, not the fans, over football match assault

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From: Eddie Needham, Normans Way, Sandal, Wakefield.

I WAS unable to sleep because of what I had witnessed during the televised clash between Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday.

I’m not sure what troubled me more. The incident in which Chris Kirkland was assaulted was abhorrent but I was also troubled by the comments of the Sheffield Wednesday manager, Dave Jones, who called for Leeds supporters to be banned from away games.

It is disappointing that Dave Jones’ moderation of his comments has been more a justification for what he said than an attempt to move forward.

His attitude and suggestions remind me of teachers who lose control of the classroom.

The trouble is caused by a ringleader and a few others but the teacher cannot, within the chaos, identify who those people are.

The solution is often to punish the whole class, which is completely counter-productive.

Football abuse generates hatred, confrontation and worse. Football rivalry and banter between different supporters is a joy and a pleasure, or it should be. I gain much pleasure from conversations with supporters of other clubs. Some might ask where the line exists between abuse and banter. I would suggest that if you would say it to someone who accompanied you to the match, it is banter, if you wouldn’t, it is abuse.

From: Brian Sheridan, Redmires Road, Sheffield.

I ALWAYS put up with Neil Warnock, warts and all, even when he signed a player he had earlier described as a “sewer rat”. Not any more.

One has to keep a sense of perspective about untoward events at Hillsborough’s Leppings Lane end, but at the recent local derby the Leeds manager reacted about as sensitively as the apocryphal reporter who asked Abraham Lincoln’s widow what she had thought of the play.

Don’t be fooled by the apology for remarking that Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland made a meal of being assaulted – he didn’t actually, an unheralded fist and fingers in the face is not nice. Nor the ludicrous claim that 99.9 per cent of the travelling fans were ashamed of the assailant.

He showed his true colours when he ascribed Wednesday manager Dave Jones’ distress to the fact that he had not won the game.

Sorry, Neil, some of us, including Dave Jones, can see further than the result of a football match. Of course Jones was disappointed at not winning the game, but he has a daughter who would have heard the cruel taunts directed at her father, just as Chris Kirkland’s young daughter would have been horrified to see her father assaulted.

From: Roger M Dobson, Ash Street, Cross Hills, Keighley.

AS expected there has been a lot of controversy regarding the lenient jail sentence passed on the moron who assaulted the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland.

He obviously pleaded guilty and will have to be given a third off his prison sentence. In reality he should have been transferred to the Crown Court for a proper sentence. Magistrates need a good shaking up when it comes to sentencing.

From: Tom Ulley, Stradbroke Road, Sheffield.

It has been widely reported that the thug who attacked the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper last Friday was unemployed, had drunk a large quantity of vodka and ten pints of lager prior to the assault.

Add this to the expense of travelling to and from Cheltenham, where we are told he lived, and the exhorbitant cost of watching football these days, surely he would be better employed advising the Chancellor of the Exchequer how to manage the finances of this country than being kept at great expense in prison?

From: John Watson, Hutton Hill, Leyburn.

HOW many times throughout the year do we pick up the paper and read of football hooliganism? What a let-down it has become after the Olympics, where the crowds all mixed together regardless of who they were supporting and there was hardly an incident reported.

I think the only way to halt this football “disease” is to make the clubs responsible by not only having them pay for any extra policing, but also by docking them points in the league.