Post punch PR

If I’m being honest, I probably shouldn’t be writing this right now. It’s a well known fact that you should never drink and drive, however a lesser known cautionary tale goes as follows: Don’t whip yourself into a Twitter frenzy, then write an article….

So after an evening of reading about how I’m a scumbag and I’m directly responsible for some moron lunging into precious little Jack, I’ve decided to vent a little to you, my beloved readers.

Firstly, I’ll give you my account of the ‘incident’ as I saw it. Well… I didn’t see it! Not at first.

I saw a scuffle and a crowd of players. I saw a puddle of Grease on the floor and heard the roar of the crowd. Naturally (in my derby day induced hyper state) I joined in the cheers, which admittedly grew louder as I realised a fan had gotten involved.

I instinctively assumed that some drunken lout had run on to flick the Vs at Grealish and whilst I’m a firm believer that fans belong in the stands, I was all for it in the moment. It wasn’t until a couple of minutes later when my phone flashed and vibrated, alerting me to the incoming video message.

My wife had kindly sent me the footage from Sky and as I watched, the true nature of events became clear.

To steal a few lines from the National press; it was HORRIFIC! SERIOUS! SHOCKING and APPALLING! That one fan’s actions single-handedly caused a part of football to die! I was dismayed!!!

Well… no, I wasn’t….

I actually laughed. I regret it now, but in the moment the thought that someone had run on and taken a swing at the most detestable man on the pitch was humorous to me. Perhaps it was more of a shocked sense of comedy and the laughter was borne of a sense of disbelief but whatever it was, my first instinct was to laugh.

Does my laughter condone such an action? Of course not. Does it mean I ever wish to see anything like this happen again? No, it certainly does not. But I once saw my mate fall out of a tree in Solihull and wet myself at that too.

He was on crutches for months but that fall remained just as funny.

So why am I telling you this? Well it’s all in the interest of honesty, since there hasn’t been a great deal of it since.

Whilst Lee Hendrie preached his disgust on Sky Sports and called for the game to be abandoned, fans inside the ground began a chant of “one punch, and he knocked him out”.

I joined in.

In fact that chorus line rang out throughout the rest of the game but interestingly each rendition became quieter and quieter. I, myself began to sing with less vigour as half time approached and by the time the lads headed out of the changing room for the second half, the song lost all appeal.

Derby Day is a whole mess of emotions. Hate, love, desperation, excitement, dread, there’s a whole cocktail of passion in there. As time ticked by and my brain sobered up, the laughter fueled immaturity had evacuated my consciousness and the reality of this moron’s actions set in.

I’ve heard the moron in question be referred to as a “so-called fan”. Well I reject this “so-called” nonsense. If he says he’s a fan, he’s a fan. He may not fit neatly into our ideal template of a Blues fan, but he believes his actions were a part of some twisted notion of fandom, therefore he’s a fan. Not a fan that will be attending too many games in future I hasten to add, but a fan all the same.

Unfortunately, like every club, we have our fair share of idiotic fans and local derbies seem to attract these scumbags like moths to a light-bulb.

This fan with the intelligence of a moth (and the right hook of one) is a deplorable excuse for a human being and it genuinely blows my mind that someone would ever think that running onto a football pitch mid-game to sucker punch a rival is a good idea, let alone an acceptable one.

A lifetime ban and short prison sentence await this specimen and as many have said, I sincerely hope he gets the book thrown at him. His gutless assault of Jack Grealish is genuinely one of the most disappointing moments in all my years of supporting Birmingham City and I look forward to celebrating any and all punishments that come his way.

That’s HIS way, not OUR way.

Now, the media being the media are fanning the flames of outrage as best they can with talks of 10 point deductions, closed stadiums and financial penalties. As expected they are over exaggerating their faux anger whilst tarring us all with the same brush.

Sky News even advised that playing behind closed doors may be “harsh on the law-abiding minority”

“Law-abiding minority”?!

“Minority”?! I don’t personally remember running on the pitch and twatting anyone but in fairness I am getting old and my memory isn’t quite what it used it be.

Sky News have since changed this article and corrected it from ‘minority’ to ‘majority’ after questions were asked by Blues fans. Maybe it was an accident? Maybe it was a freudian slip. Either way, this rhetoric of “they’re all the same” is rife throughout mainstream media reports.

Dean Smith himself even suggested in a post-game interview that 15 000 cheering Blues fans are equally to blame. Of course we are Deano, I remember standing in the queue on Garrison Lane, waiting for my turn to run on the pitch!

Not content with blaming the entire Birmingham City fanbase for one man’s actions, one BBC journalist has even claimed that the “blame lies squarely with Monk”.

Admittedly I’ve questioned some of Monk’s substitutions recently but I honestly don’t remember the tannoy announcing “substitution for Birmingham City. Replacing number 4, Common Sense…. number 69, Fucking Moron”

As is common in football punditry these days; every goal is a worldie, every comeback is the greatest ever and every foul is a travesty. Exaggeration and hyperbole are part of the game and the media are experts in their field.

One man made a stupid decision that could have serious repercussions for the club he supports. ONE man. Reactionary, peer-pressured cheering is NOT a statement of support and to blame the masses for the actions of one man is preposterous; let alone blaming Garry Monk!

With that being said, we did cheer when it happened. If I dared to speak for the majority then I’d be no better than the media I’ve just slated, but I know the reason that I cheered and I dare say I’m not the only one that celebrated the slog. Rightly or wrongly.

I just wish we’d own it. We hate Grealish and in that moment the incident added to the drama of the day. Both sets of fans are now paying lip service though with Witton pretending they’ve never seen such a shocking event whilst Blues fans try to claim that they were actually cheering the police that arrested the thug.

Again, I have no right to speak for anyone else but there were a LOT of cheers and numerous rounds of the “one punch” song. Let’s not try to alter the narrative after the fact. I don’t doubt that some fans were indeed cheering the arrest but c’mon…

In the same vain, Witton like to give it the big’un at every opportunity. They’re not above singing songs about Tracey Andrews or launching flares onto player-filled pitches. They have numerous pitch invasions in their history and aren’t shy of a scrap (even if it is usually with each other).

This nonsense claim of “what if he had a knife” equally applies to the two V*lla idiots that ran on and confronted Baggies players recently.

Their ‘holier than thou’ response to Sunday’s events is just as ridiculous as us pretending we were all instantly appalled by them. I don’t remember seeing them denounce Dion Dublin as quickly as we disowned this weeks idiot. At this point it’s probably worth pointing out that a Witton fan WAS caught with a knife inside the ground a few weeks ago. Butter wouldn’t melt…

One knobhead swung one punch at one player. In the heat of the moment, many of us thought it was funny. As time passed, reality dawned and Blues fans took to social media to separate themselves from the thug and praise Greasy’s reaction to the punch. These are the facts as I recall them – everything else is fluff.

Though I do not condone the event for a single second, I still hate Grealish with a burning passion and I’m not about to print off the photo of Blues players helping him to his feet whilst linking arms and singing Kumbaya.

The pitch invader does not represent me and I am not responsible for his decisions. Neither are the rest of St Andrews. The punch happened, and we’ll be punished so let’s deal in facts, not emotions and drop the Post Punch PR campaign on both sides.

You can also submit an extra vote on Twitter. We’ve made this super easy, and you can tweet by simply clicking the following links and pressing “Post” on the pre-populated Tweet:
 

This will then post a Tweet such as:
 
“I am voting for @WeAreBirmingham in @TheFBAs for #BestPodcast”
 
That will then register as a nomination in that category. Thank you for your magnificent support.

Mark Watson is a blogger and opinionist. He was a finalist in the Football Blogging Awards in 2018 and his work has appeared on numerous websites and match day publications. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkWatson1875

12 comments

Leave a Reply
  1. Anybody that didn’t realise within a microsecond that it wasn’t funny is short of a brain cell or six. Whilst you were cheering and clapping I had my head in my hands and seriously considering walking out of the ground as the enormity of the situation was obvious. It shouldn’t take until half time for it to dawn on somebody how wrong it was. If you saw somebody in the street get punched from behind for no reason would you clap and cheer before thinking about how stupid it is?

    • Dave, I think it’s a case of people just experiencing things differently with the buzz and the moment. I, like you, was filled with dread as I watched him run up and throw the fist. I think the atmosphere (that had been buzzing up to that point) absolutely dying, showed that lots of people felt the same after it sunk in.

  2. Fair play and your right about Pundits and the Media sensationalising ONE VERYBAD insident to make their program have some gravitas!! The fact that some Terrorist wants to return to Briton now has no interest comes to mind along with other more important crimes

  3. Yeah a reasonably well written piece and I’m a villa fan. However, comparison with the Dublin / Savage incident wrong!! Two professionals who are meant to be on the pitch compared to the Sunday incident! No!!! Absolutely no!

    I do genuinely believe most of the fans who celebrated the incident either regret it or didn’t understand it at the time. Certainly all of the blues fans I’ve spoke to so far do.

    • I didn’t write the article, however, I did compare the fan reaction of both sets of fans from Sunday’s incident and the Dublin/Savage incident.

      Both sets of fans cheered an assault, the only differences being, Dublin’s wasn’t so cowardly and from behind and that Dublin was, as you say, meant to be on the pitch. Those things aside, both fans cheered an assault. Dublin has spoken of how he was a hero with Villa fans for it.

      Again, not suggesting the reaction was right, I was personally shocked as it happened and cringed at the singing afterwards. However the reaction side of things in both incidents is comparable, and neither set of fans realistically come out of it in good light IMO.

    • I also have strong memories of a villa fan or fans running onto the pitch to try and get at savage, only being prevented in doing so by others

  4. Villa fan here – don’t hate me!

    I’ve been annoyed at seeing “I don’t condone the attack but” posts on social media and I worried you were going to do the same. We will never see eye to eye on how you found it funny even in the moment, but I empathise with your honest reflection in finding humour in the darkest of events.

    My best mate once got dragged by a van after his coat got caught up in the door as he got out. When he told me I immediately laughed and instantly regretted it.

    We are all human and make mistakes, it was good to read your explanation that didn’t try to minimise *his* actions. Yes he could have had a weapon, the game would die if anything like that ever happens, but it didn’t and every club has a share of arseholes with nothing better to do than shit stupidity everywhere.

    UTV & KRO to the next derby day with one less knob in the crowd.

    • Well said Steve.
      Your appreciation of an eloquent wordsmith and his entertaining and honest assessment of a pretty surreal situation is commendable.
      A bit of humour mixed with equal condemnation from both sides will see us through.
      I was incensed listening to the tabloid headline grabbing rants of Shearer and Neville – (please read the next bit in a Stewart Lee style whining piss taking voice )…..”Let’s dish out the severest of terrible punishments…Let’s deduct loads of points off Birmingham….Let’s make them play all their games behind closed doors….Let’s make them play with no boots on….Let’s fine them 20 million pounds….It’s all their fault and we have to set a precedent
      All the best
      Rob

    • Haha thanks for reading Steve, even if you are from the dark side! Great to hear a perspective from the opposition, looking forward to the next derby day already. Hopefully the spoils will come our way this time though… KRO

  5. Great article Mark. Enjoyed reading it and everything was spot on. I live in Oz and was watching in a pub in Sydney with about 50 fans, half Blues half Villa. And I can imagine it was a similar situation albeit on a much smaller scale as at St Andrews. Some fans cheered, some grimaced immediately, some cheered but then reality kicked in, it was a certainly a mix of emotions.
    And the atmosphere went, just like that. And yet those first 10 minutes had been buoyant With an air filled with nervous excitement. I was frustrated by that!! I look forward to these derbies, meeting up with fellow fans, even rubbing shoulders with the Villa fans as it’s good banter. But that idiotic act ruined it, and I’m not sure the next few derbies will be so intensely charged as this will played and talked about for the next 2 at least.
    It’s extremely disappointing that he can have so much impact on so many.
    I do think though that other clubs should be mindful of what they are saying, as fans will undoubtably run on the pitch again, and if they do they should be dealt with and the club get exactly the same punishment we get. Because if they choose to hit a player or not the argument is they could!! They could have had a knife. Because are the pundits saying Birmingham City are guilty of letting him get onto the pitch or are they saying Birmingham City are guilty of letting him get on the pitch and also Birmingham City are guilty of him assaulting Jack Grealish (which is laughable as I’m typing).
    And yes the Dion Dublin/Savage incident is comparable, as it was also assault, although obviously Dublin didn’t unlawfully go onto the pitch.
    There was a photo doing the rounds last week of Noel Blake walking away from Steve McMahon who he’d just head butted, and Villa players crowded around McMahon. The Blues fans were revelling in it. But that photo didn’t sit right with me either because it’s assault. So Blake, Dublin and Mitchell incidents are the same.

  6. Great piece Mark,the comment about b6 being not shy of a scrap is interesting as i Googled the history of football hooliganism and found this !!!…

    . The first recorded instances of football
    hooliganism in the modern game allegedly occurred during the 1880s
    in England,a period when gangs of supporters would intimidate
    neighbourhoods, in addition to attacking referees, opposing supporters
    and players. In 1885, after Preston North End beat Aston Villa 5–0
    in a ( friendly ) match,both teams were pelted with stones, attacked with
    sticks, punched, kicked and spat at. One Preston player was beaten so
    severely that he lost consciousness and press reports at the time
    described the fans as “howling roughs”.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *