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Football Rants

The Evening News reports this week that Councillor Pat ‘Humbug’ Karney and the City Council have cancelled the screening of England games in Exchange Square...

Published on June 23rd 2006.


Football Rants

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The Evening News reports this week that Councillor Pat ‘Humbug’ Karney and the City Council have cancelled the screening of England games in Exchange Square...

See the feedback so far below.....

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RESPONSES

I spent the weekend in Stuttgart watching the match with 35k German fans and 40k English. What was televised was a couple of thousand english/germans winding each other up with a load of hard german authorities policing things rather well. Those who got arrested did not get arrested for violence (in the main), moreover, because they were asked to leave; didn't; and hence German zero tolerance kicks in. What you didn't see is the carnival like atmosphere of all the fans (german and english) in the square whilst drinking alcohol (they even allow real glass bottles!) in a blazing sun. Its a shame Great Britain is no longer so - just full of half wit frickin chavs ruled by half wit politicians and everyone in the middle suffers. Your best bet at this world cup is to leave this country to enjoy it....now, that's the shame! (PS - if you want to watch the footy outside, get yourself over there - it is awesome!)

Michael Howard

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'Normal' people are not banned from Manchester pride; you have to buy a ticket, like everyone else. It is for charity, remember. The streets are blocked off, to stop the people who want to get in for free!! Like Glastonbury!!? It is also more of a deterrent for trouble causers, who enjoying beating up gay people, if you have to pay to access the festival. What exactly is normal anyway? As for allowing people into the city centre to watch a football match, not wise. I was in Manchester that day and all I saw was drunken people who were half dressed waving the George flag, shouting ENGERRRLLLAND. As if we need reminding. I witnessed the terrified expressions of none white people around Piccadilly gardens, who had the BNP logo, waved at them, by tattooed, shaven headed thugs!!! Not good for creating and accepting communities. Screen the matches by all means, but maybe a football stadium would have been a better place.

Jo Bell

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I'm just glad that dumb ugly ferris wheel went.....don't bring it back, it looks a joke. I thought we were progressive? shame about the football, but there were plenty of scallys ruining it, and anyone who was there knows the reality of the situation, and the atmosphere that could turn at any minute. You'd have to be naive to think that scene was like a footie match, and not teetering on the edge of random trouble. Shame everything goes like like in this city/country. p.s... I'm not defending the Cllr - they mostly exist on their own ego's... but it was probablt the right decision. Blame the violent offenders, no one else is to blame (apart from the police who are quite accepting of manchester's spiralling violence)

Paul Kelsey

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A normal day in town then? Market Street is vile at the best of times. If anyone ever gives me grief..I always give it em back...the best thing to do is stand up for yourself...otherwise the morons will think that theve won. They dont expect to get an answer back. As for the horns. My husband had to physically restain me from MURDERING the pillock on Market Street who sells them. Theres only so many times you can laugh at it when you live 500 yards away from the div.

Hazel Sutheran

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Of course you're right, Zoe, last time I went to the GAY(!?) pride march in Manchester, I was surrounded by hideously drunk, aggressive and volatile Mancunians. I felt intimidated and remember lots of arrests being made. Tut tut Zoe Whitehead, predjudice does indeed spring to mind. It is not a question of who is enjoying Manchester's public squares and streets, but how.

Jamie Vincent

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Having seen England beat Argentina and seen one of Amir Khan’s fights on the Big Screen in Exchange Square I too was disappointed to hear that I wouldn’t be able to watch future England matches there. More recently I’ve heard directly from some young football supporters who regularly attend matches and were in Exchange Square for the recent England match. These lads know football, they know football fans and they know who to avoid and why. These lads had no plans to return to Exchange Square for future England matches because they could assess the potential for future trouble. I therefore can’t criticise Pat Karney for his [and his colleagues’] decision. Had England matches continued to be shown in Exchange Square many of the sensible crowd would have stayed away and more of the idiots would have been there. The balance of the crowd would have changed dramatically, increasing the danger of behaviour tipping towards the really unacceptable. Local councillors were right, in my opinion, to take the decision they did on the grounds of public safety. They haven’t damaged visitor numbers; it’s the expectation [ often exaggerated ] of antisocial or criminal behaviour which keeps many of out of the city centre. The blame for the move lies entirely with a small group of ‘football fans’. I went to the Castlefield screening this afternoon. It was a good family atmosphere and of course a great result. So well done Pat Karney & co for a brave but essentially sensible decision and well done David Beckham too. Bending the ball is much more impressive than bending the truth.

Joan Davies

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The Politburo have seen the people having fun and have decided that it can't be right. So much easier to criticise a few bad eggs - and everybody else by association - rather than to properly police and steward such an event. Who could have predicted that Sun + Beer + Likely-England-victory-on-big-screen might lead to people enjoying themselves? Don't worry, Unkle Pat, the crowds may well yet dissipate for good, lured by other shopping and entertainment centres, with cheaper parking.

John Clegg

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I agree with Mark, what would happen if we actual hosted a World Cup? Would party atmosphere that we see in Germany be banned in cities across the UK? Treat people like animals and they behave like animals. What next Karney? Ethnic Minorities sitting at the back of the bus????

Matthew Bentley

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Should we be surprised by the actions and words of Karney and his council gravy train - they are just left wing control puppets in Blair's malitia - with the greatest fear of having to do some work for a change, tidying the streets after the screening!!

Trevor Joiner

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I agree with the decision not to hold it. I am not a football fan and had no choice but to go shopping on that saturday.....the crowds were horrendous and intimidating. Lads half dressed and pissed, hundreds of excruciatingly loud horns going off every few seconds and very pissed off police people getting antsy with people innocently shopping as well as the fans. I don't think that the heat helped to be honest and although i love events with plenty of booze and a good atmosphere i think that an event such as that would be much better held in a an open park/field space with proper policing. I know people who were working in the centre on the day and they agree - it is just too unmanageable in a city centre and disrupts the day for those of us who go out to avoid the constant showing of football on the telly! PS the amount of rubbish was the worst i have ever seen and i've been to festivals and concerts with many more people.

Charlotte Smith

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I agree with Mark Garner's comments, Pat Karney should put his own house in order first. There is far more trouble at the gay Mardi Gras which he organises, and "Normal" people are barred from the public houses around Canal St. The Streets are closed to pedestrians - surely this is not lawful but he gets away with it. WHY. He has the nerve to try and stop normal people enjoying themselves, its about time he went.

Brian Ford

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I was in that crowd and did not see young kids having alcohol. Did see alcohol being smuggled in and weed being smoked tho. One of my sons was near to the trouble it was just behind him and it was started by 2 guys. There was not enough police. They decided to stop folk going into the square too late as it was over filled and they stood along the perimiter of the fencing, they moved amongst the crowd before the match but not seen during the first half. I recommend that everyone should be sat down that was a lot of the trouble, when folk say excuse me and then stand right in front of you. There was a lot of very ignorant people there. On the news report at one venue people were sitting and there was no trouble. My boys now pay to go to the cinema to watch it no trouble recorded.
I agree with the rants - all the councillors grab the head lines non came to my house during the elections. They are seen in the local paper's posing but not one of them turned up to a meeting over job losses at the local hospital,although they are in the papers saying they give their backing to the petition.

Jean Doyle

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Here Here to your article. Instead of cancelling the whole thing and taking their ball home (no pun intended) the council should have looked at ways of making this a safer event. There are events all over the North West that are well controlled and (god forbid) FUN so what Manchester Council are saying is that this is completely beyond them... Shame on them...

Kathy Gilfillian

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I was there too, you're right, the man's a pillock and should be voted down by the other councillors...too much power currupts and too little creates megalamaniacs

Graham Braithwaite

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I've had the misfortune of coming across Mr Karney at various points across the past 15 years and every time he has one agenda, grabbing headlines. Didn't you see him on TV last week, described as a 'local citizen' (he obviously felt they wouldn't have used his comments if they'd known he was a cllr). On an average afternoon in Mcr city centre they're would have been more arrests than on that Saturday. As you say, he needs to stop PR'ing (aka whoring) himself about and deal with real issues such as parking and city centre safety.

Charles Reid

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I was proud to see pictures of Manchester city centre shown on the bbc at half time in the first game. I was away on holiday at the time, and it all looked like the 99.9% majority were having a good time. Again this 0.01% spoils it for the rest of us because of a stupid politician. Didnt we vote them in to carry out OUR wishes with a majority rule? Apparently we now live in a dictatorship... bah

Scott Robertson

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I live in Town on Church Street and was in Exchange Square when the game was on a few weeks ago. It was loud and quite scary but aren't all football matches? The atmosphere was brilliant. I think people should be able to watch it in Exchange Square. I read there were four arrests of our 15,000. Not bad going at all me recks. Also, the wheel was removed SPECIFICALLY to allow football to be watched in the square. Whose crap idea was that? Now we have no wheel, no football and no visitors! WHAT A FARCE.

Hazel Sutheran

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Hi Mark,
I just read your report and thought it was very good, i tried to give feedback by the online form but the website wouldnt let me, i kept getting 'an error has occured..'
Id like to throw a different angle on the procedings in exchange square. The day started very well, the fencing supplied was a sound idea, the people were well behaved, the police did a good job of mingling and taking alcohol away from those who looked like they had a little too much already, then the people doubled in numbers quickly.
The fence was torn away and made irrelevant, the beer was flowing free and again for some in too much of a quantity, the police were severly out of kilter with those who were spoiling things, they threw in the towel pretty much because of sheer numbers.
It was badly organised, the expected turnout was tiny compared to how many did turn up. People crammed together, trying to get a good view, hot and stiffling weather, too much beer, it was a melting pot for trouble and those intent on being idiots were indeed idiots.
The event should still be held at exchange square, the police numbers should be treble, (i saw 15 police at the most in a crowd of 12,000). The area should only be fenced at the traffic lights either end of the square and the bottom near the pubs, people should enter in an orderly fashion without beers.
The council blame the people for the small bits of violence experienced, i blame the council for their woeful misjudgement of numbers and simply throwing in the towel without even trying a 2nd time. A councillors job seems to be an easy one.
I could extrapolate more on the issues surrounding exchange square and the matches but unfortunately i dont think anyone in the decision making department at the council would bother to listen. Thankyou for highlighting this issue, i do think that your report could have gone on to condemn the idiots who cant handle their ale and turned up to spoil it all, maybe just a medium paragraph ? : )

Russ

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Goodness me confidential! I must say that on the whole I agree with Pat Karney on this. The first screening was pretty close to the tipping point really. There were arrests, injuries and intimidation. Bottles were being hurled randomly into a crowd. The site clearly couldn't have coped with an even greater turn out in the later stages. Perhaps having two or three screens would have kept things manageable. But there were terrible scenes in Liverpool and London which, come on confidential, we would not want repeated here in Manchester. Tesco was being irresponsible selling slabs of lager to fans going to a no alcohol event. Surely you can see that? When there is a big football match in town many pubs are asked to close and comply. This helps Mancs enjoy a better quality of life than they would if they had unlimited beerage. It is perverse to support no limits sales of alcohol to anyone on match days. It is perverse to excuse adults buying booze for young children too. In Germany the authorities not only have massive resources to create controlled spaces, they also have all the known hooligans grounded in their home countries including no doubt some in Greater Manchester, frustrated and ready to create mayhem. And they have a no carry out approach to their arenas, with contrived queues at outlets slowing down the drinking. When you conclude rather spuriously that Exchange Square is owned by the people not the council you don't give an address for the person or persons at The People who will accept responsibility for crime and disorder, for serious injuries or even a crush disaster to rival Heysel or Hillsborough. Where should we send the writs? You are being perverse and irresponsible. Pat Karney is attempting to get the balance right between quiet enjoyment for the general public and residents, good clean fun for real football fans, and of course public safety. It is not easy. It is impossible to please all the people all of the time. But this citizen respects the council, police and others for their efforts.

Chris Paul

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I would like to ask Mr Karney, about the difference in huge crowds being able to gather together in numbers to party on the streets, drinking alcohol during the GAY pride fesitval which takes place each year, than fellow citizens wanting to watch one of the biggest sporting festivals ever, and support their country - the word Prejudice springs to mind!

Zoe Whitehead

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Well said...couldn't agree more!
The man is a buffoon.
Yours, capable of drinking beer responsibly (although my mother might disagree)

Suzy Fletcher

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Oh sooooo touchy Mr. Horricks. This man is so out of touch with modern manchester, an old has been springs to mind. if they really do want to reach the young professionals of manchester instead of the current ageing readership they need a new editor with fresh ideas, not someone who employs a homophobic bigot in the shape of andrew grimes. It's free and i still won't read it till both of them go!

Philip Danes

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Was the writer in the same town centre as I was? All I did was pop to THE Tescos to pick up some supplies (including beer) and in the half an hour it took me I witnessed numerous- Drunken teenagers and abusive groups of youths I was told to f*ck off when i (politely) refused to buy alcohol for a group of underage girls. I had an air horn blown in my ear (for fun) IT HURT! AND most shockingly I was winess to racial abuse. I am no prude, I like a drink, adore football and love a party but after all of the above and the scenes of drunken teenage girls squatting outside Tescos cack handidly attempting to fill soft drink bottles with vodka I knew I had made the right descision to watch the match with friends at mine!

Jenn Collins

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