Fans seek to take back the sound of their stadium
When Fernando Torres was knocked unconscious in Atlético Madrid's game at Deportivo La Coruña, the expressions of shock among both sets of players were overlapped by cruel chants from the Riazor Blues ultras, who are still after revenge for the death of 'Jimmy'. But in a most pleasing exercise of collective decency, the rest of the stadium shouted them down. Peaceful fans are starting to reclaim the sound of their ground, for so many years in the hands of radical supporters. It happened recently at the Calderón, when the Frente sought to influence the atmosphere against Barcelona. And at Sevilla, where the Pizjuán's patience has finally snapped following the Biris' vile banner backing a suspected rapist.
Ultras can't be allowed to feel they're a positive force
Ultras are bad news for football and bad news in general. It's absurd to take a lighter or dimmer view of them depending on whether they belong to the team you support, or are aligned with your political allegiances. Because, fundamentally, they're all the same: a product of ignorance, narcissism and the bravado of being part of a gang. We've tolerated far too much from them; we've indulged disgusting chants, we've copped out by accepting the explanation that they cheer on the team, that they provide colour. That merely spurs them on, allowing them to believe that they're a positive force and are even a necessary component of their club. Making them feel the exact opposite can only be a good thing.
The most powerful tool against ultras
Lately, I've seen groups of ultras here and there becoming re-emboldened. After the collective backlash that followed the death of 'Jimmy' (with, in an embarrassing failure of the system, the culprits still to be fingered), they're beginning to reassert themselves. Unacceptable chants can be heard once more, fighting and brawling is back on the up... LaLiga is preparing new measures, but none will be more effective than peaceful supporters showing ultras the red card in every ground, using their major numerical advantage over their nasty neighbours to leave them in no doubt that the sound of the stadium belongs to everyone - not only an aggressive minority. Just as the Riazor crowd did in the case of 'El Niño' Torres.