Coin throwing – The dying embers of “yob” football culture?

This article was published on: 11/3/16

It’s an ugly spectacle and one that isn’t welcome in today’s game, yet still happens on an alarmingly frequent basis. In the month of October alone we saw coin throwing problems at 2 games; one between West Ham and Chelsea and the other between Preston North End and Newcastle United.

“Mob” culture

The mob mentality of British football was most prevalent in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s when widely publicised football “firms” caused havoc up and down the country every Saturday.


Following the violent waves of “mods and rockers” culture, what we know as football hooliganism began to become a common feature of life on the terraces during the 1960s when an average of 25 incidents of hooliganism were being reported each year. These incidents escalated as “firm” culture began to take hold, with each club having a branch that would look to ambush and fight opposing fans on match days.

Behaviour off the pitch gradually grew worse during the 1970’s and 80’s, with little attention paid to fan safety by the Government. It was only after the shocking events of Hillsborough, where police fabricated evidence and leaked lies to the press regarding the circumstances surrounding the death of 96 innocent football fans that the footballing authorities began to make attempts to modernise stadiums and improve their safety.

Remnants remaining

The move to all seater stadiums, enhanced surveillance and better stewarded games has ensured on the most part that behaviour inside a ground is tolerable. Even incidents of violence can be quelled quickly as stadium design and segregation of fans ensures there is largely no contact between groups of fans.

There is however remnants of the aggressive culture previously displayed in UK stadiums. Campaigns to prevent such activity are regularly highlighted including stamping out racism, violence and aggression during games. Even with campaigns trying to influence fans to be level headed, there are still examples of poor behaviour.

Coin throwing is one such way fans have taken to showing displeasure, at players and at opposing fans. Incidents as mentioned above have included fans throwing coins at Newcastle United player DeAndre Yedlin at a recent Championship game and at fans (with 7 coins hitting a small girl) at a Premier league game between West Ham and Chelsea.

Incidents like the above are harder to police than violence between fans. Coins being thrown from a crowd make it hard to spot the culprit (as with any other “missile”). CCTV is improving for surveillance of stadiums but with crowds upwards of 40,000 at many Premier league games each weekend, discerning one or two coin throwers is a difficult task.

The damage

With enough velocity, coins can easily catch against the face and cause cuts and bruising. They also have the ability to blind a person if it hits them directly in the eye. While many incidents have been reported as happening to players (Chris Brunt, DeAndre Yedlin and Rio Ferdinand among others) they have also happened to fans like the young girl at the West Ham and Chelsea game.

The damage to a younger fan of a coin throw may be more than simple bruising or cuts, in the video above, the girl looks visibly upset and possibly shaken. To associate football with such a hostile atmosphere at such a young age could easily turn what could be a lifelong love for a sport and their team into something they don’t want to associate with.

Causing such damage is of course a criminal injury offence whether it be a missile thrown at a steward, police officer, player or another fan. As such police can charge offenders with fines, public order offences and issue stadium bans to ensure they don’t get the privilege of watching their preferred team.

We would advise any football fan (especially any who take children) to try to remain calm regardless of how frustrating a game can be. It is very easy to lose your temper with underperforming players, opposition players and match officials, but to cause deliberate damage by throwing a coin, bottle or any other object that can cause damage.

Remember if you are hurt at a football game due to somebody committing a criminal injury act like throwing an object, you have the ability to gain justice. If you feel this is a situation that has affected you (not limited to simply football games) then please call us on 01695 722 222 (our lines are open weekdays from 9am to 7pm) or fill in our claim form to get in touch online.

We run a no win no fee system for clients to ensure you can gain justice with no risk. If your claim is unsuccessful you will not have to pay a penny. With no risk in getting started, see what we can do for you today.

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