Right of Reply: The former England footballer argues against recalling the English team from the World Cup
Wednesday 17 June 1998
If we continue to witness violence on the scale that was perpetrated in Marseilles, then I do believe that Fifa will send us home, but I would still argue it would not be a wise decision.
Send the troublemakers home by all means, but leave the football team there.
It could be that banning the team would only cause more problems; some would seize upon it as a genuine excuse for fighting and causing mayhem.
It's a very depressing situation and something needs to be done, but don't ask me what. It's difficult because these people only show themselves every now and again; they turn up only at the big events.
I was privileged to be in charge of the Republic of Ireland team who were followed around the world by thousands of fanatical, boisterous supporters. These fans were always impeccably behaved. If somebody stepped out of line, or was a little worse for wear, it was normal for his mates to get him out of the way until he had sobered up. They had a way of controlling themselves.
To the English fans in France who get caught up in the trouble, I would say give the yobs a wide berth. It doesn't take much intelligence to identify them and get out of their way. Leave them to the French police to sort out. Better that than to have the whole team sent home.
That would only be playing into the hooligans' hands.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate