Mass Brawl

I’ve just been reading about a Christian League game called off because nearly all the players were fighting. It brings a whole new meaning to “mass”.
It reminds me of a team I hung about with. We played one Sunday morning on a pitch called Corker Bottoms in Sheffield. We were in a league called the Nomads league, because we hadn’t got our own pitch and played on a different pitch each week. The team was called West Street United, made up of a group of Sheffield United (spits on ground) supporters plus a couple of Owls fans who drank in a pub called The West Street Hotel.
First of all, the pitch was really muddy then “Dog” our left back hadn’t turned up and neither had the referee. It was up to us as the home team to provide a ref, so up stepped Wraggy, a man mountain, big blond beard, like a scaled down Peter Grant, violent manager of Led Zeppelin fame, definitely not someone to be trifled with.
Dog eventually turned up, complete with yellow leather trousers, red leather jacket and totally pissed. He changed on the pitch and came on. After just one minute, his first tackle nearly cut their left winger in half, there was a small fight and Dog was warned by Wraggy. the match then deteriorated into niggling fouls and dangerous tackes, punctuated by the odd fight here and there. This was football by the way, not rugby. Anyway, with 90 minutes gone, we were losing 5-3 then Wraggy awarded us a penalty for a pretty innocuous tackle in the box. We scored to make it 5-4. Then we scored again a minute later. 15 minutes of injury time later, we scored again and Wraggy blew the full time whistle. Then it started. The other team accused him of being a cheat so he booked a couple of their players. One hit him and Wraggy whacked him back. Fights then erupted all over the pitch. We were out of our cars fighting with opposing fans.
Then it really started, the goalkeeper on the adjacent pitch which backed onto ours, decked our goalkeeper after something was said, so our centre half, a total nutter anyway, decked the goalie. It was our fight, sod all to do with the players on the other pitch, it mattered not, some of his defenders on the adjacent pitch came over and started fighting with our players, then the other team playing on the adjacent pitch joined in. In all there were 44 players plus fans and even the two refs having a mass free for all. Police were called, the fighting continued for about half an hour after the police arrived. A police car’s window was put through and even a bloke whose house backed onto the pitch jumped over his fence, punched someone in the face and jumped back over. Two blokes in an adjoining allotment were shouting abuse at the police when they manhandled a woman who had punched another spectator. Monday’s Sheffield Star headline was something like “Mass brawl at Sunday League game” or something. The letter throwing us out of the league arrived a few days later, the other three teams were fined and warned of their future conduct. Most unfair as it takes two to tango.
I think it was after that I began match fishing on Sundays. More peaceful.
And now I follow stockcar racing, the toughest of all sports, where the hits are on the track, the combatants shake hands after races and we all go home with smiles on our faces. Only the cars get damaged. Like this one at Stoke last night. Normally the front axle is chained to the chassis, obviously this one wasn’t or maybe the impact was so violent it snapped the chain!




  1. I’m confused. When Stock Car racing started it was literally old cars ex-stock, more or less as the manufacturer intended, but with a few added safety features and hazards like glass removed. Now they’re specialised beasts, unrecognisable as manufacturers’ models. I agree, they are extraordinarily exciting to watch racing, but surely they should be called something else?


    • You are right of course. The real “stock” bodied cars now are called 2 litre saloon stockcars and until last year were exclusively Ford Sierra bodies. Things move on and they are now adopting Mondeo bodywork. The F1 stockcars are indeed specialised, single seater, 7 litre, 14″ Goodyear racing tyres et al. There are bangers still, various formulae depending on the engine size then there are the Unlimited bangers where you can see anything from a stretch limo, Lincoln Continental, Rolls Royce or even a hearse. I suppose they are the original stockcars if ahem, push comes to shove….. 😀


      • Thanks for the info. Now I understand why I was confused. A lot more categories than I expected. Obviously a great sport, when you get to grips with it! 😀


    • Sadly it was a regular occurrence. Even more sadly, a lot of referees have packed in because of violence towards them. When you think about it analytically, it’s one or of they’re lucky, 3 men in black versus 22 players plus subs, managers, trainers and supporters. I would never do it without protection and I’d never be able to run properly carrying an AK47 around with me on the pitch. 😀


    • At least I won something fishing and the camaraderie was so much better. We all wanted to win and we were very secretive towards our own methods of fishing especially when it was a winning method, but we were all really good mates. I met and fished against people from all over the UK and although there were one or two prima donnas from the home counties, they largely got ignored.


  2. Feisty amateur footballing days.

    As for the other Mass ‘dis-unification’…they’ve got great beatific pretenders as role models at the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, who simmer in their priestly garb for ages at the other sectors of the Christian faith in the same building, then when the mood boils over, wow; you have yet another international incident being reported of nearly all the factional priests at fisticuffs with one another. The more frequent minor orthodox priestly skirmishes at the Holy Sepulchre don’t usually hit the headlines.


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