The introduction to this article should say it all really, so I won’t spend too long on this. Simply stated, those who set off a smoke bomb/flare on a train during their trip to watch Reading at Brentford are at best immature, misguided fools and at worst absolute idiots, to put it politely.
If you haven’t seen the incident we’re talking about yet, here you go.
Reading have actually set a smoke bomb off on a train pic.twitter.com/8NV93A5R1a— Callum Maguire (@callummaguire96) September 16, 2017
Reading Football Club themselves have been quick to condemn the behaviour, with the following statement.
"Reading Football Club wholeheartedly condemns the dangerous and extremely irresponsible behaviour seemingly displayed by an individual or individuals whilst travelling on a train to watch us play Brentford on Saturday afternoon.
Behaviour of this nature is entirely unacceptable.
As a club we actively assisted the relevant local authorities with an investigation into the incident yesterday and we openly appeal to our fans to report any information which may assist in the identification of those responsible to the British Transport Police.
We also acknowledge that the vast majority of the 1,650 away fans behaved impeccably in backing the team from the first whistle to the last at Griffin Park and should be commended for their superb support."
As mentioned, British Transport Police are investigating, BTP spokeswoman Connie Primmer said:
"We are aware of the reports of the incident and are making enquiries.
"If anyone has any information and has not yet spoken to police, we would ask them to call 0800 40 50 40 or text 61016."
Look, most of us have got over excited at some stage as football fans. The strong emotions this silly game can serve up can cause a whole range of extreme reactions, from tears, to swearing, to goading away fans, or any number of things that you’d probably look back on and perhaps cringe a little, or a lot. With that in mind, I can understand the passion for your club perhaps spilling over, especially when you’re in your late teens/early twenties as those in the video seem to be.
Likewise, passion is something we’re all keen to see more of in the stands and around the football club. A rocking, noisy Madejski Stadium, or even the town centre before a game, is something we all want because it improves the matchday atmosphere. The fans in the video are clearly the sort that are happy to make noise, whip up atmosphere and get people going. Unfortunately on this occasion that enthusiasm was 100% misdirected, to a dangerous and stupid place.
Letting off a smoke bomb on a train at any time is idiotic, yet doing so less than a week removed from a terrorist incident on a train takes that stupidity to a whole new level. I’m sure (or I really like to hope) that fact didn’t cross the mind of whoever set it off, if it was even done so deliberately, yet whatever the case you can’t ignore that aggravating factor.
Personally I don’t like pyro at all but I can understand why some who go to football set them off and believe they improve the experience. If the Madejski Stadium was full during a massive night match and with five minutes to go the whole crowd was singing as we celebrated a famous win, MAYBE then you could appreciate some gentle blue mist rolling across the East Stand. Yet with thousands of empty seats in a generic 3pm Saturday kick-off in September.... no, sorry I don’t get it.
There’s a good reason smoke bombs and flares have been banned and as the Football Supporters’ Federation reminded fans recently, anyone attempting to bring one into a football stadium risks a prison sentence for doing so, even if it’s a first offence.
Everyone makes mistakes, passion can sometimes be directed into the wrong place but please, please, please try and actually think about how you’re showing that passion before you do something that could cost both you and others dearly next time.