Football hooligans? You’re having a laugh!

REPORTS in some newspapers that the football hooliganism of the 1970s and eighties is back with us, seem to have been somewhat exaggerated if they are quoting Saturday s clash at the Britannia Stadium as an example. The problems between the two sets of fa

REPORTS in some newspapers that the football hooliganism of the 1970s and eighties is back with us, seem to have been somewhat exaggerated if they are quoting Saturday's clash at the Britannia Stadium as an example.

The problems between the two sets of fans began after both sides had goals disallowed in the first half.

Goading between the two factions began where a small canvas separated them, but it was merely threatening words rather than deeds that manifested itself, and stewards quickly moved in to create a human barrier.

Although the FA are to investigate, from then on, it seems there was tension, but no more trouble inside the stadium, though West Ham fans did become agitated by Stoke's constant use of a towel to dry the ball and hands of Rory Delap, before he launched yet another long throw.

West Ham skipper Lucas Neill did the same on one occasion, before the ball-boys around the ground hid the towel, and when Delap attempted the same trick, referee Peter Walton moved in to put a stop to it.

After the game, a crowd of Stoke City followers again goaded the West Ham fans as they returned to their coaches, but by then the police had the whole situation under control and there was no violence to speak of.

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Back to the seventies! Perhaps most supporters and journalists are too young to remember what it was really like.