Women and children first?

  • by Tino
  • Filed: Tuesday, 9th November 2021

A long-term season ticket holder was delighted to be able to attend West Ham's recent Europa League encounter in Genk with her young son. Sadly however, the night didn't quite go according to plan...

The trip to Genk was my 12-year-old son’s first European game. He begged to go, his school had a two-week half term break and the stars were aligned. He was so excited. How could I say no?

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I made sure we were safe; I booked plane, hotel and ticket before we left. I only went to main squares, caught the official bus to the ground and made sure we had seats away from the main throng.

I took every precaution to make sure he was safe and the trip was everything he wanted it to be - and yet the night ended in tears. Not because of the result, nor the opposition, but because of the thoughtless behaviour of our own fans.

We didn’t manage to get onto the first three buses back to Hasselt, so we waited in the car park for them to return for the rest of us. The buses pulled into the car park and then the moment the doors opened, there was a massive rush to get on.

At this point my son was ripped away from me and swept up in the tide. I couldn’t see him anywhere. I was crying and screaming his name, screaming that there was a kid alone and that nobody appeared to give a shit.

I eventually spotted him inside the bus, looking frantically for me and crying, yet there was no space for me to get on. I could see him panicking. I eventually made eye contact and gestured for him to get off.

By the time he reached the door, someone kindly got off and let me take his place. Yet my son still sobbed all the way back to Hasselt.

I just couldn't understand how some of our fans could be so selfish. There was me, my son and one other lady travelling alone and the three of us were literally pushed aside so everyone else could get on the bus.

I thought our fans were better than that.

I can do everything I can to avoid the hot spots, to move him away from any trouble, to make sure we are never alone. And yet it was our own supporters that ruined his trip in the end - and I can’t tell you how much that upsets me.

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