Football must look after the supporters

PUBLISHED: 16:00 24 February 2007 | UPDATED: 10:07 14 September 2010

It's quite remarkable to comprehend that the events in Lens this week could possibly be associated to such a high profile Champions League tie.

Forget that it's 2007, or even the fact that France hosted the World Cup Finals less than ten years ago.

It's quite remarkable to comprehend that the events in Lens this week could possibly be associated to such a high profile Champions League tie.

Forget that it's 2007, or even the fact that France hosted the World Cup Finals less than ten years ago. The evident level of ticketing, stewarding and policing was little short of an embarrassing shambles.

I thought the days of overcrowded terraces and archaic accesses to football grounds were well and truly cemented in the past; apparently not in France.

Judging by the television reports and pictures, it's just fortunate that there weren't more serious injuries or worse.

The European Champions League is overspilling with cash. The money generated by the TV rights alone is enormous.

Why then are the loyal bands of travelling supporters so often subjected to appalling treatment by the authorities and local gendarmeries?

Once again, it is those who pay the money and give up their time that come off worse. How is that?

Isn't it high time that the fans are given a little bit of respect? I listened on the radio to some of the United supporters who had been at the game midweek.

No doubt, ordinary, law-abiding citizens being treated like cattle or sub-human scum. I'm not quite sure how it's allowed to continue or why we put up with it.

If it wasn't so ridiculous, the fact the police rapidly resorted to using tear gas and heavy-handed aggression with batons would be plainly laughable.

To say the action of the law was 'over the top' and perhaps 'heavy handed' would be understated and, as if matters weren't bad enough, I understand some who had travelled weren't even granted entry to the match.

Please don't get me wrong, this is not a one man crusade to dent the 'entente cordiale'.

It's quite simply a plea to the hierarchy at FIFA, UEFA, the FA, whoever, to consider the people who really matter (ie those who turn up and pay at the gate) when the huge riches are budgeted and dished out.

What happened behind that goal on Tuesday evening in Lens simply should not be repeated; not in the Champions League, the Premiership or anywhere else.

This is the 21st century and it's time football realised it needs to look after its number one asset.

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