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West Sussex County Times Article
I feel very lucky to have been at the Oval on Sunday to see England regain the Ashes. Once again I was impressed by the attitude of Australia's Captain, Ricky Ponting. Seemingly oblivious to a nasty mouth injury, having been smashed by a drive from Sussex's Matt Prior, Ponting did not seek to attribute blame, and he was generous in defeat.
Most of the crowd applauded Ponting, rightly having respect for the man who has scored 38 Test centuries. What a pity that a small minority didn't seem to understand the concept of sportsmanship by booing him.
Yet such ill-mannered behaviour is nothing by comparison to the appalling violence which took place at Upton Park on Tuesday night, when a group of West Ham and Millwall so-called football supporters invaded the pitch and fought outside the ground.
While others were surprised by these scenes, I am afraid that I was not. Only on Saturday, I had been at the V Festival where a small group of lager-fuelled yobs, apparently West Ham supporters, chanted racist songs and urinated on people next to them while everyone else was trying to enjoy the music.
I do not believe for a second that these people represented true West Ham supporters. Once again, it is a minority who are behaving in this way, and in doing so they bring their clubs, their sport and indeed their country into disrepute. They are also undermining our chances of hosting the World Cup in 2018.
The violence which broke out this week is now, thankfully, rare. Unfortunately the racist and homophobic chanting of some crowds at soccer matches is not. The football authorities say they are doing what they can to tackle it. Frankly, they need to do more.
We should have zero tolerance for yobs. Throw them off our trains, ban them for life from football grounds and punish them properly. Why should they be allowed to ruin everyone else's enjoyment?
28 August 2009
"I pledge to work hard for everyone in the constituency, to stand up for local people, and to be a strong voice at Westminster for your concerns"