24 hours after a fan assaulted Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, the English criminal justice system was able to arrest, charge, try and jail the 27-year-old assailant. No politicians, football administrators, or clubs were involved. Nor was alcohol, the perennial bogeyman. Days were not spent discussing Strict Liability. Only the police and courts were required.
We know lots about the perpetrators. There are many women at football now, but these people are always male. There are many people of colour at games, but not among the offenders, this is a white crime. And, they feel entitled to be violent by throwing coins, bottles or punches.
West Midlands Police and the Birmingham Magistrate’s Court have shown us how to react. Their action will not end what currently ails football, but it is appropriate. The politicians can ponder at their leisure why an underclass of white males erroneously feel entitled to carry out violent acts, on our streets as well as our stadiums.
Calling this a football problem, when it is obviously societal, will not wash. It is not new either, violence like this has come and gone in waves for generations.