Derry City vs Linfield : losing ain’t easy

When I was young, I was a bad loser. Really bad. Like Arsene Wenger, I’d feel almost physically sick when I got beaten in a handball game or a push-penny game or a game of football. I remember feeling a sense of absolution – years too late – when I saw the Roy Keane quotation: “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser”.

But I don’t remember lifting bricks and chucking them at the homes of people I thought might be supporters of the guy or guys who’d just beaten me. Nor do I remember peeing in a bottle and chucking that at the opposition. And I certainly don’t remember tearing down fencing and chasing – with my mates, of course – a defenceless director of the opposing team and putting him in fear of his life.

All that happened in Derry’s Brandywell area two nights ago, according to residents. On TV last night was the Derry City director, a man in his forties I’d say, who was close to tears as he told of his terror. In its desire to be even-handed, or show the world through a tit-for-tat lens, the BBC had the PUP’s Billy Hutchinson on, who said that Derry City supporters made sectarian chants and threw stones at the Linfield supporters’ bus, and he’d never go back to Derry again.

What to make of it? Another occasion on which fans from both sides disgraced themselves? That’s one way of looking at it.  But there does seem to be a suggestion – correct me if I’m wrong, I wasn’t there – that the hostilities were not just initiated by Linfield fans, but that their hostility had a vicious edge to it. I can understand the feelings of the supporters of Linfield. You do a round trip of near 150 miles, your team is beaten 3-1 by an old sporting foe – of course you’re going to feel sick. But there’s a difference in feeling sick and terrorising local residents and putting an inoffensive director in fear of his life. Throwing stones at a bus, nasty though it is, pales in comparison. It seems that the spirit of that Windsor Park night in November 1993 hasn’t gone away, you know.

7 Responses to Derry City vs Linfield : losing ain’t easy

  1. gerard.donaghy16 March 22, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

    Hi, This is further to my twitter comments on the match. [For some reason twitter changed my acc from madraj55@ to daniel moran@ in front]. Anyway, from what I gather [not being present at the match] it seems local hoods from the waterside were there to vent their frustration rather than travelling linfield fans. They only had to cross the bridge to cause trouble. Setanta cup is a bit like Carling nations cup, to me. It doesn't lead anywhere as regards europe so is hardly worth the hassle. I suspect it will go of the way of the nations cup as well Obviously no room omn twitter for all this. Cheers.

  2. Ryan Kelly March 22, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Hi Jude, hope you are well. Just some thoughts:
    The idea of “tit-for-tat” is one that I abhor, but in this instance I don't think that it can be avoided. Some Linfield fans clearly felt that chanting about the hunger strikers, the Pope, Bloody Sunday was entirely acceptable (it's not), some of them vented themselves by breaking barriers and chasing people, smashing windows in homes. By the same token, some Derry fans are themselves no angels. Some among the Derry support felt that chanting “PIRA” and smashing windows on buses was acceptable. At Windsor Park, some took it upon themselves to break seating, for whatever reason.

    Although I do not dismiss the real fear or suffering of those involved (those who were intimidated, pelted, or had their windows smashed), the entire affair reeks of a childish attitude of “he started it”, with both “sides” claiming they reacted, which distracts from the issue.

    The issue being that their politics (if that's what it can be called) need not be manifested so violently and especially not at a football game.

    Some, what I call the “hardcore”, in both sets of fans are very, very ignorant. They simply revel in the act (stress, “the act”) of being defiantly patriotic or political and events such as Derry v Linfield provide a platform to engage in this act – cue offensive chanting, over the top flag bearing, instigating battles etc.

    This is not about football, nor is it really about politics. It's about idiots ruining the fun for everyone.

    (I made a small comment on the incidents myself, here: )

  3. Anonymous March 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    A very “safe”comment Ryan, ye don't live in Larne by any chance?

  4. Ryan Kelly March 22, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

    I haven't had the pleasure of being in Larne for 11 years, “Anonymous”. Safe?

  5. giordanobruno March 22, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    Why the sudden concern for residents?
    As you said:
    “I assume, like me, you never got pissed or bolshie when you were young?”
    Sure its only a bit of fun.

  6. Anonymous April 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    i was at the game heres what happened, bluemen delayed getting into the ground on purpose, bluemen sing songs about truth of child abuse in the romanish church, sing song about bobby sands dying for nothing another factual ditty. bluemen wave flags of their country, derry city wave flags of a foreign debt ridden country. pira officials make slit throat signs to bluemen , blueman gets hit coming out of ground by rock from “innocent householders beside the ground” on the other side 50 men in black bomber jackets( marty's personnel security team) try to push barrier onto bluemen. linfield chairman calls for psni to protect the supporters which they do. windows gettting broken on way out of the ground, pensioner hurt. NO derry city director, no death threats, but plenty of usual shin finn spin. ps the linfield support was season ticket holders and members of the club anf they wont take this blatent lies being spun about us lying down. the club is united we have had enough. well stick together dont worry lads

  7. Anonymous April 22, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    never let the truth get in the way of a good story Jude