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HELLO ALBERT, HELLO SPION KOP!
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HELLO ALBERT • ISSUE 27  

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Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire


MANIC MOMENT

Am I the only that feels a touch of sympathy for Ernie Thomas who’s moment of madness in the Rochdale match earned him a lifetime ban from the Deva Stadium?

It had been a depressing enough game for City supporters that Bank Holiday Monday in August. A solid and competent Rochdale team with Flitcroft and Peake pulling the stings in midfield strolled to an easy win over woefully inexperienced City. The officious refereeing of Mr Foy had not made it any easier to bear and a string of bookings for City players in the first half wound the springs of frustration even tighter.

One of those shown the yellow card was pint-sized dynamo Darren Moss who tapped the ball away instinctively as it rebounded off the perimeter wall for a throw in. It was an unnecessary booking, technically correct it must be said but you see them overlooked in just about every match. Stupid bookings up the ante. When Moss slid in to win the ball in the second half, his opponent, Keith Hill (City fans may remember his previous form – sent off here while playing for Plymouth. I couldn’t help noticing that he was sent off the following match to this incident as well) started to kick him while he was still on the ground. As a result of this both players were booked and Moss, because it was his second yellow card was sent off.

This just capped it all for Blues fans who thought Hill should have been red carded straight away. Moss seemed to have done nothing wrong. Whilst the crowd were still baying in disbelief, play resumed and I heard the sound of metal clanging on metal. My first thought was that someone had burst open the fire exit in their frustration to get out of the Deva. But then I, like everyone else, watched aghast as Ernie suddenly seemed to be alongside the referee and then grabbed him by the neck and started to shake him.

The first shock was that anyone had been able to stroll on to the pitch and get even near to the referee without being prevented. City fans around me were stunned as they struggled to believe what their eyes were telling them. A sanctimonious Rochdale fan emailed the Message Board to accuse us of giving him a standing ovation. This wasn’t the case. Most were really fed up at what had happened.

The second shock was that I knew Ernie – by acquaintance. As you travel the length and breadth of the country following the fortunes of the Blues then you see some familiar faces and Ernie’s is one of them. He has followed City everywhere – hardly missing a match. I had been talking to him beforehand about the trip to Torquay two days previously. He has always seemed a decent bloke to me. All I can assume is that he “lost it” at the perceived injustice of Moss’s sending off. There is no way that he would go out of his way to cause trouble.

It’s a crying shame that there was no-one on the perimeter gate to stop him encroaching, or that no-one yanked him back into the crowd before he could embark on his moment of madness. May be we are all to blame. Most of the crowd were incensed with the referee and were caught up in the emotion of the moment – too busy to notice Ernie making his way to the pitch side gate. What made him cross the boundary between the terrace and the pitch, between vocal outrage and actual assault only Ernie can say. And I don’t suppose even Ernie understands why it happened too well.

I can understand the club being anxious to do everything possible to retrieve the situation after the event and therefore the swift announcement of a life-time ban for Ernie. But I, for one, hope that there might be some leniency expressed in the not too distant future. There is no excuse for what he did. But I can’t believe that ever in a month of Bank Holiday Mondays Ernie would do it again. And we need all the loyal fans we can muster at the moment.

Albert


ISSUE 27 Editorial
Is Rock 'n Roll The New Football?
KR's Tuesday Night Deva Jinx
View From The West Stand
Archaeology Corner
Manic Moment
Home Thoughts From Abroad
Book Review
Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire
 
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