Its famous last words, isnt it? I said that getting home at the weekend was far easier than rush hour. Ah well, I was so wrong! It took the best part of 2 hours to get home tonight!
No, for once, not Trans Pennine Express’s fault, even if I was on one of their trains when the delay hit home. But not their fault all the same, I suspect it was a combination of testosterone and alcohol, somehow, though I cant confirm it.
This is the story as I was told by the train intercom. A group of men appeared on the platform at Huddersfield station in the middle of a brawl. Just off the end of the platform is a large viaduct, carrying the line over the ring road around the centre of town. This group proceeded to take their rumpus onto the viaduct, therefore blocking both rail lines for traffic. My train sat a short distance out of town for about 30 minutes while the police presumably arrested them, and cleared the area. Finally, we did get into town, but my hope of getting home at a decent hour had disappeared.
Why did this happen? Well, I cant say for certain, but I have a good idea. During the football (soccer for James, and other US readers) season, large numbers of men go to ‘the match’ and rabidly support their team. Some teams fans are better (or worse) than average in behaviour, but most have a few idiots in support who are more interested in fighting, and drinking, than the match. So why this week? Simple, the football season ended this month. Well, alright, Huddersfield have a play off match next weekend, but in terms of weekend activity, the animals got restless this week.
I suspect they got together in the bar somewhere, instead of the ground, imbibed copious amounts of alcohol, and any braincells they may have had, got wiped out! So then, with judgement tainted by alcohol, they seek out an argument. Given there are no opposition fans to take this out on, they start to take it out on each other, and things exploded from there. Sadly, the line is run by diesel trains, so no chance of them getting on to an electric line, or anything like that.
What baffles me though, is what I call the sports fan mentality over here. Here, for soccer games, fans have to be separated from each other for every game, large numbers of police have to be employed, so that there is a good chance of the 2 sets of ‘fans’ being kept apart, and ensuring the town survives the visit of the opposition fans. But this doesnt appear to just be a British thing, seems to be needed throughout Europe.
But in the US…
Last night I was watching one of the great baseball local derbies in Chicago, between the Cubs and the White Sox. There the fans sit together, chat together, and have fun together. No need for several hundred police officers, no need to keep the fans apart at any point. And the only delay post game would be all the fans getting on the trains and buses together in large numbers.
And next month, we have Euro 2012 championships, when England fans will take their style of mayhem and violence into Europe, oh joy! Makes me proud to be British, not!
Ah, the video, what could be more apt? Well alright, it was afternoon, not night, but otherwise…