This week the Home Office published statistics on football-related arrests and football banning orders of last season – 2012/13. There was a slight increase in the number of arrests compared to the previous season, but it has to be remembered last year’s figures saw a record 23% decrease. Thus the slight increase was pretty meaningless in the scheme of things. Still, it didn’t stop the red top newspapers such as the Daily Mirror starting to froth at the mouth and run the headlines like ‘Football hooliganism is back on the rise’. On face value, you’d think football was returning to the ‘dark ages’ (to quote Alex McLeish)
Lets not forget in the 1980’s when English fans had a bad reputation traveling to European games, which the red top media exploited by actually paying fans to start fights and trouble, so they had exclusive hooligan stories for their rags. It’s the sort of sensationalism of fan behavior that the press still practices today – remember MOMS having to call the Birmingham Mail to task over their feeble attempts to blow up Villa and Baggies supporter trouble?
In terms of the new Home Office statistics, across a total Premier League attendance of 13,653,958 there were 722 arrests in the 2012/13 season (and from the four English leagues’ total attendance of 29,225,443, there was a total of 1762 arrests).
Stand out figures from the Home Offices report include:
- Total attendance in excess of 39 million at regulated football matches (including cups and non-league)
- The total number of arrests represents less than 0.01% of the total, or 1 arrest for every 14,000 spectators.
- During the season an average of less than 1 arrest made per match inside and outside of stadia (Premier League 1.90, Championship 1.13, League One 0.42, League Two 0.29).
- No arrests at 75% of all regulated matches.
Arrests by Club & Offence Types – 2012/13 Season
[The statistics cover all arrests designated in law under schedule 1 of the Football Spectators Act 1989 reported by police to the Football Banning Orders Authority. The figures cover arrests at any place within a period of 24 hours either side of a match.]
Aston Villa arrests seemed to be pretty balanced between home and away matches. In contrast, Newcastle fans seem to go mad at home and behave badly away, while Hammers fans are the opposite. The prize for the nicest fans in the Premier League (in terms of lowest number of arrests at least) goes to Fulham fans with only nine arrests last season. Again, when looking at the above arrest numbers we have to take on board the relative fanbase sizes of each club.
In terms of types of offenses by Villa fans, no trend really stands out, with the main offence by Villa fans being the generic charge of ‘Public disorder’. They are one of nine clubs to have fans done on Pyro charges, one of eight done for racist chanting, while there was zero arrests of Villa fans on the account of touting…well, viagogo seemed to have ‘legally’ cornered the market on that!
Top 10 Order of Premier League Supporters Arrests in 2012/13
- Newcastle United 175
- Manchester United 145
- Manchester City 95
- Chelsea 92
- Sunderland 71
- West Ham United 67
- Arsenal 53
- Aston Villa 51
- Everton 44
- Liverpool 36
Banning Orders (currently being served)
Last season Aston Villa fans received six additional banning orders, while Manchester United top the charts with 17 new ones. As of September 20th, the amount of Villa fans currently serving a banning order, number 44, which ranks along with West Brom as the 11th most in the Premier League.
With Villa’s average attendances being on average 8th in the Premier League over the past five years, being 8th in the total amount of arrests and 11th in banning orders, means generally speaking, Villa fans are slightly better behaved than you’d expect, when factoring in the size of their attendances home and away. In short, a decent result for both supporters and also the community policing approach of the West Midland’s Police. UTV
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