While the Gunners of Arsenal wrapped up an exhilarating Champions League between Roma on Wednesday on penalties, their coach, Arsene Wenger, feels that there may be other guns directed toward the Emirates.
In the wake of the attacks on the Sri Lankan cricket team last week, the Arsenal boss stated that he fears that terrorists could attack football next and that the Emirates Stadium, where Arsenal play its home games, had received threats in the past that have proved fruitless.
More Violence To Come?
Any fan worth their weight in pre-match pints can remember, or at least tell you about the days when violence was a crowd perpetrated event.
Some of the first literature I read about the nature of football had to deal with a paper I wrote for my British history class on the subject of hooliganism as it varied from England to the European continent.
The stories I came across were often times horrific accounts of orgies of violence that culminated in some nine-year-old kids head bouncing off the pavement because some larger, and often times drunk, supporter just saw that he was in a certain jersey.
But the type of violence that Wenger is alluding to could do far more damage to the modern game than anything played out in Among The Thugs ever did.
The stadia of the top flight teams are prime targets to make a statement by anyone with enough of an intention and enough explosives/toxic chemicals to make it happen. Imagine if a well placed bomb were to be exploded under a pillar in a not so modern stadium. You may not injure enough fans in the initial attack but the flooding out of the stadium would be worse than Haysel.
While it has not been highly publicized, the stadium construction in South Africa could play as an easy target for the sports centric violence that could be the new medium of attack.
Reports out of the country are still showing that the construction for the stadia is lagging behind and will unlikely be thrown together in the last minute. The buildings will not be structurally sound and the pandemonium of people that would not be accustomed to the streets of South Africa would only exacerbate this problem more.
Is This Real Life?
That's the question I found asking myself on the morning of September 11th.
And now, after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team, I find myself asking it again.
I'm not sure any fans can readily wrap their minds around what would happen if the San Siro were to collapse or if the Strefford End at Old Trafford all of a sudden exploded.
In all reality, though, as well monitored as the games are, it is unlikely that something like that will happen. But also, I wouldn't rule out that this may be the start of a new cluster of attacks that may grow into a trend that will forever tarnish this beautiful game.