SUTTON: It was only a matter of time before a player like Dier reacted

CHRIS SUTTON: It was only a matter of time before a player like Eric Dier reacted… a Rangers fan went for me even after I retired!

  • The spotlight is on Eric Dier after he confronted an abusive fan in the stands 
  • Pumped up on adrenaline, Dier saw the troll turn his attention onto his brother 
  • It feels like it was only a matter of time before a player decided to react 
  • The conventions of politeness and decency don’t seem to apply in the stadiums 

The beautiful game can be downright ugly sometimes. Attend a match on a Saturday and you’ll find fans screaming at players, managers, even us pundits. 

They shout obscenities, make gestures, act threateningly towards you. 

Why? Because apparently what is unacceptable outside the stadium is acceptable in it. Because the abuse — ‘you’re s***’, ‘f*** off you w*****’, ‘greedy c***’, take your pick — is so rife, it’s become the norm.

Eric Dier took the situation into his own hands by confronting an abusive fan in the stands

No one gets turfed out for it.

It sometimes happens outside the stadium, too. I had a Rangers fan try to attack me a few weeks back in Scotland.

Or I can tweet about Celtic and have a troll reply with pictures of my family dog, Buster, who recently died.

Even after retirement players can still be targeted by supporters who decide to hurl abuse

Football can be toxic. Then a player reacts, as Eric Dier did on Wednesday night, and all hell breaks loose.

Is Dier in the wrong? The Tottenham midfielder was apparently sticking up for a member of his family, and if that is the case, he was only doing what we would all do.

I defy anyone to say they would act differently. As a player, you’re pumped up, you’re full of adrenaline, then abuse is raining down on you.

It was only a matter of time before a player reacted.

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