Save trouble and celebrate with your own fans

North Devon Gazette

There may be no quick or easy answer to the crowd problems which have been creeping back into football for a while now, but there is surely one thing that players can do to help.Â

That's to stop celebrating goals in front of opposition supporters.Â

There are few more potentially inflammatory acts in a football stadium than players grinning all over their faces, putting fingers to lips or generally whooping it up, only feet from fans of the team they've just scored against.Â

It's unnecessary, it's nearly always undignified and it's asking for trouble.Â

The first people you'd think you'd want to celebrate any goal with is your team-mates and then your own supporters.Â

Even when they are only a handful of travelling fans on grounds a long way from home, it's hardly asking too much to run to wherever they're standing or sitting and share the moment with them.Â

We're not talking here about going back to the days when players used to celebrate with a gentle hug or an even more gentlemanly handshake. Nobody wants to kill the joy completely.Â

But we are talking about the important people in this equation setting the best example possible. And by all means, let's back it up on the disciplinary front.Â

If everyone knows that goal celebrations in front of opposing fans - it's easily described as 'inciting disorder or violent behaviour' - had become a bookable offence, players would stop doing it pretty quick.Â

There would be no need for police or stewards to get involved, because it would be a purely on-pitch issue in the power of referees.Â

And if everyone on the field did their best to take the heat out of such moments, there would be even less reason for the moronic minority to kick off as, for example, they did again at Sunday's Leeds United-v-Manchester United game.Â

We all get pretty worked up of a Saturday afternoon, and it's rightly part of the whole match-day experience, but at the moment, the lunatic fringe need no encouragement to point the finger at players and then misbehave themselves.Â

So let's take that excuse away from them…Â