The crowd's off the pitch…….

I’m going to do something totally out of character and defend football supporters. It could be a sign of the coming apocalypse.

The FA is worried about plans to serve alcohol at the outdoor screenings of Euro 2004 matches, invoking the memory of the Marseille riots during the 1998 World Cup.

If you read Tear Gas and Ticket Touts: With the England Fans at the World Cup you’ll get the story of the tournament, including the riots, from the point of view of a very perceptive fan on the ground. Whilst my countrymen were far from angels a lot of the trouble happened because the French police “knew” it was going to occur. In a self fulfilling way all the rumours of English riots came true because the French over reacted to minor problems when they involved England fans- problems that would get a more lenient response if they involved supporters from other countries. The situation was then made even worse by our own press and authorities over reaction to events.

I don’t know if any other countries are running similar stories about their fans, but I doubt it.

Got to go. A pig just flew past the window.