|100 years on - The remains of Middlewich Station in 1989, a century after football supporters caused mayhem on its platforms.|
by Dave Roberts
Many years ago someone told me that he had read somewhere that Middlewich railway station was once 'the scene of one of the first reported football riots in history' and the information has lodged somewhere in my mind all this time.
So I thought it was time we got to the bottom of the story and recorded it for posterity in the Middlewich Diary. After all, Middlewich, and Middlewich station in particular, don't have so many claims to fame that we can afford to ignore one of them.
The information about the 'riot' originates in a book called The Roots of Football Hooliganism written by Eric Dunning, Patrick J Murphy and John Williams and published by Routledge in 1988, a time when such unsportsmanlike behaviour was a growing problem in many parts of Britain.
The book attempts, as its title implies, to get to the root causes of football violence (and, I imagine, though I haven't read the book, suggest some remedies for it).
Although this incident has been touted as an early example of such behaviour, the authors are at pains to point out that it was by no means an unusual occurrence in those days, and probably only made it into the press because a newspaper reporter 'happened to be there at the time'.
That reporter was from the Liverpool Echo, and this is what he had to say:
|Liverpool Echo 1st April 1889/The Roots Of Football Hooliganism (Routledge 1988)|
Whatever the truth of the matter, it's fascinating to hear that our own humble railway station was once the stamping ground of such ne'er-do-wells.