Football legend Rodney Marsh says no alcohol is allowed during football matches because fans are ‘crazy’.
Beloved fan favorite Marsh also called supporters “crazy” and urged them to stay put before matches and as sober as possible.
In a chilling remark, he claimed that a “tragedy” would occur if the booze was allowed to flow freely in ninety-minute matches.
Football legend Rodney Marsh says no alcohol is allowed during football games
The former Manchester City talisman boasted that he had never attended a match ‘sober’, always enjoying wine and champagne.
His controversial comments come in the wake of footballers from all competitions expressing joy at the return of crowds to stadiums after COVID blockages.
MP Tracey Crouch is pushing for a pilot program to allow the drinking of alcohol in football stadium seats during the full duration of professional matches.
When asked why he thought the new proposals couldn’t work, Marsh replied, “Because football fans are crazy. Football fans are crazy.’
The famed pundit insisted that unlike other sports fans, the rugby crowd, including Prince Harry, quoted the public as saying: “[It] are not the same people. Prince Harry is going to rugby.’
He continued: ‘You take six thousand people into a space with no seats that just bump into each other while they’re drinking; you’re going to be in huge trouble and you’re going to have a tragedy, I’m telling you.’
Marsh then verbally sparred with co-host Tom Rennie about the proposals, insisting it was “not safe” for onlookers drinking.
“No, it’s not (safe). The next thing the beer is spilled on someone and oh my, oh my.’
The 78-year-old believes that almost all English grounds have rowdy and problematic fans who cause trouble, regardless of the drink.
MP Tracey Crouch is pushing for a pilot project that will enable drinking in football stands
Rugby fans are allowed to drink alcohol while sitting in their seats in English stadiums
Marsh said: ‘In the last 30 years the only ground I’ve been to live, and I’ve been to most of the grounds, where there’s no problem, is Fulham – don’t push, push, yell or yell or get naughty .’
Marsh debated with his co-host Rennie about the merits and pitfalls of fans appearing on Sirius XM FC satellite radio at the Grumpy Pundits show. Marsh is known for making controversial comments during his media career and was even fired from Sky Sports once.
Rennie hopes the legislation will become law: ‘There are downsides. We can only move society as fast as our slowest members.’
Marsh sarcastically hit back at Rennie, who admitted he liked to drink beer in his chair at sporting events: “Because you can’t drink alcohol, you’re not happy. There you go! What a sports fan you are!’
He asked why fans have no patience to enjoy games without a pint in their hand.
“Why can’t you sit down and have a drink for 20 minutes. Why do you have to drink sitting or standing for the entire match?’
Marsh later gave some ground, saying he could see an argument for being forced to sit and drink throughout the game, “like you do in the pictures.”
Marsh says that regardless of the outcome of the pilot, he believes the government will not allow legislation. “This isn’t going to happen. This is being voted down because it is a matter for the government. The League cannot do it alone. I think this will be voted down. I could be wrong.’
He then said to Rennie, “When the vote is on, I want you to come here on the first Friday where there’s a riot, and you say, ‘I’m sorry, Rod. I misunderstood because there was a huge riot in Millwall.”
Renie hit back, “I’m not going to do that.”
Marsh says the drunken fans mingling with family groups would be a disaster.
‘What about the husband and wife and young son, who go to the game, who don’t drink and are religious, who stand next to Charlie Farnsbarn and Fred’s mate, who drink these great big pints of lager and scurry about? ?’
He’s unhappy that those groups just need to ‘know what’s coming their way?’
He mocked the premise, then joked, “If you only have the drunken alcoholics section, I agree.”
Rennie fired back at Marsh, insisting that not all drinkers become rowdy troublemakers at games.
The ex-Sky Sports pundit laughed: ‘I have to say I don’t think I’ve ever been sober to a football match.
“I always have a drink when I go to the football, a nice glass of wine or champagne and smoked salmon and lobster before the game and enjoy the game.” He added: “I know several people who go to football with bottles of brandy and take pictures during the game.”
On the radio show, Rennie discussed how foreign leagues allow booze in games. But ex Fulham and QPR striker Marsh hit back, citing recent violence in France.
“Some might say in France, where they run onto the pitch and fight each other, that drinking beer in the stands can be a problem.”
Dozens of Marseille fans stormed past stewards last Wednesday to invade the field and confront the Angers fans
Marseille and Angers supporters competed on the pitch after Wednesday night’s scoreless draw
The Ligue 1 clash between Nice and Marseille was halted last month after problems with the public
Rennie said that was “an isolated example,” but Marsh brushed it off the table: “Oh yeah, yeah.”
He added: “They did it three weeks earlier when one of the guys stabbed one of the fans. He did hit a drunk fan for coming on the field.’
MP Crouch wants to push for a pilot project to allow drinking alcohol on seats in football stadiums during matches.
The Chatham and Aylesford MP will publish her independent, fan-led review in-game, with possible changes to the alcohol rules as top suggestions.
Drinking in stadiums has been banned since 1985 and fans are only allowed to consume alcohol in the concourses of Football League grounds – a rule that often means more pints quickly sunk before matches or at halftime.
Tracey acknowledged that the violent scenes seen at Wembley during the Euro 2020 final were not helpful in the context of the review, but said a progressive overhaul of the match experience was still needed to help support clubs.
Marsh reflected on the withdrawal of standing fans by Margaret Thatcher’s government after a series of crowd problems in the 1980s.
Marsh admitted they had no choice between hooliganism and drunken fans.
“It goes back to the tragedy of the Heysel in 1985 and after the game it was horrific. Not only Liverpool, but the entire league of England was banned from European football for five years. And they upheld the ban and the appeal. And then they said that was part of the reason.”
Speaking of the 2021 reforms, he thought, ‘Why would you do that if everything works reasonably well?’
This week Crouch told KentOnline: ‘Currently there is a universal ban on the sale of alcohol during football games in the National League and above.
“You can’t take a pint to your seat. “Clubs like Maidstone and Dulwich Hamlet in National League South would explain to you that they cannot get promoted financially because if they do they have to close their bar.
“Clubs can’t afford to be successful, so you have this weird situation where Maidstone wants to do well and win the league, but by doing that, they’re hurting their sustainability financially.”
Crouch said lifting the alcohol ban could hold the key to lower clubs’ financial future
As part of the review, Tracey visited Dulwich Hamlet FC yesterday, where she met Peter Crouch and The Duke of Cambridge, who also support grassroots football.
She suggested that football should take responsibility and better sustain itself – and that the scheme could help protect clubs lower in the ‘football pyramid’. Teams such as Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham have installed safe standing places for the potential pilot for the time being.
In January 2005, Sky Sports fired Marsh for making a tasteless joke about the Asian tsunami disaster during a phone show.
The station fired their long-term movie star after “offensive and unforgivable” comments about You’re On Sky Sports.
Marsh’s comment included a play on the word tsunami in which he said David Beckham had turned down a £10 million contract to sign for Newcastle because he couldn’t possibly go there after what the Toon Leger did to Thailand.
“I sincerely apologize for any insult caused by my thoughtless and inappropriate comment,” Marsh said. “My intention was to make a light-hearted football joke.”