Nasty off-field antics make me long for dogs

2012-06-19 14:35

It’s been a pretty decent week on the football pitch at Euro 2012.

For all the anti-football played by Greece, the brain-dead jingoism of the English commentators the minute the Engerland team look like going further than the group stages and the insane antics of the fans from behind the former Iron Curtain, there has been a solid menu of ball.

And there have been some super moments, with my man Mario Gomes, arguably the most wasteful striker in European football, coming right at the big moment game after game.

There have also been some serious disappointments – Holland going home early, a Spain side rendered
one-eyed without David Villa, the World Cup’s leading fox in the box, Engerland going through at the expense of Sweden – but on the whole the ball has been up to scratch.

That’s on the field. Off the field, well let’s say the events of the past week or so paint an awfully depressing picture of the state of European football and Eastern Europe as a whole.

Before the tournament began, Polish and Ukranian authorities – and Uefa – had a lot to say about crowd control and racism, all proclaiming rather loudly that racist chants, neo-Nazi salutes and crowd violence would not be tolerated.

All kinds of crowd control measures were being punted – from gas bombs to new-fangled non-lethal weaponry to crotch biting attack dogs – with all kinds of slappings down being promised to those who ran amok.

Fair deal, but the powers that be clearly lacked the will to unleash the dogs and put the weaponry to good use if the behaviour of the right wing Eurotrash inside and outside the purpose built stadia is anything to go by.

How else can mass marches and riots by Russian fans be explained; or the letting off of flares in the stadia by Croatian punters; or the chants against Italian wunderkind Mario Balliotelli and the hurling of bananas onto the field during the Croatia-Italy fixture?

Clearly Uefa’s money is not where its mouth is when it comes to dealing with these sick ratbags and their herd mentality.

As dodge as our own police service can be, it’s hard to image them sitting back and allowing that kind of nonsense to take place outside Moses Mabhida or Soccer City during the 2010 World Cup.

Watching the images of the Russians and Poles beating each other in the streets raised the question of why Eastern Europeans are so keen on fascism and putting the boot into anybody within kicking range.

My old mate Jimi Pohoski, the son of a Slav refugee who somehow ended up in Joburg in the 1960s, had his own theory, particularly when it came to the Russians, Poles and Slovaks.

The brothers from behind the Iron Curtain, Jimi once explained, had such an ingrained history of being oppressed that the minute the boot was removed from their neck, they went in search of a confrontation that would invariably end in a beating.

“They are so used to having electrodes attached to their scrotums that they miss the jolt. When nobody is beating, electrocuting or gassing them, they don’t know what to do with themselves.

These cats really miss the bite of the last. They’ve been the targets of all kinds of institutionalised abuse since the days of the Tartars. They don’t deserve democracy – they don’t know what to do with it,’’ he once mumbled.

“They’ll go out of their way to provoke the cops just to get a hiding.’’

I don’t know that I agree with Jimi’s analysis 100%, but it does explain why the Eastern Europeans have been getting so Bolshy off the field.

And it does raise questions about what happened to the crotch ripping attack dogs.

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