More often than not you remember games you have been to for the right reasons. A day out in a cup final, a thrashing of your local rival or just a game where everything just seems to click. However, sometimes there are events that you will always remember but for the wrong reasons. These things are often locked away in your darkest places simply because you do not want to face up to them.
Football should be a pleasurable experience. But there are times when reality touches the game, and reality is not always a bundle of laughs. I grew up in a turbulent time for the game. During my most impressionable years I witnessed the Bradford fire, Hysel and numerous games tainted by serious crowd trouble. Football Hooliganism had been a feature of our game home and abroad for most of the decade, and the rise of organised groups was testament to the fact that the police had no idea how to counter the frequent incidents.
As a West Ham United fan I was fully aware of the presence of the Inter City Firm, and the Under 5’s. As a regular both home and away since 1980 I had seen scary incidents at Coventry City after the 1981 League Cup semi-final and the near riot at St Andrews in a FA Cup tie in February 1984. But one game will always stick in my memory, primarily for what could have happened but also for events a year later. Continue reading