|Eaves scored a 93rd minute winner|
On Saturday I drove over to Rotherham to watch Hull City play Rotherham United in the third round of the FA Cup.
Hull City's supporters had been allocated all of the south stand. I decided to find a peaceful place to sit up in the top left hand corner. And there I was reading the matchday programme all on my lonesome with just five minutes to kick-off when around a hundred young men emerged from the concourse beneath the stand to sit in my chosen area. Oh dear.
They were noisy - chanting their support but were generally good-natured. For them it was a fun day out with their mates - supporting their team.
Hull City took the lead and the lads cheered like mad, some of them falling in a heap, laughing like crazed dervishes. Then Rotherham scored an equaliser before one of their forwards - Kyle Vassell scored a wonder goal to put The Millers ahead.
Hull City's fans went silent but an older Rotherham fan - sitting in the adjacent corner of the ground was dancing up and down making rude gestures to the visiting supporters. Amazingly, this grey haired and pot-bellied guy was with two young boys - possibly his grandsons. His "celebration" finished with a couple of straight arm Nazi salutes aimed once again at The Tigers' fans.
The Hull lads around me started aiming abuse at the Rotherham man - their chants even suggesting that he might be a paedophile. I realise that American sports fans will be amazed to learn that such nastiness and personal abuse can often feature in professional football grounds in England. To Britain's working class, football can be far more than sport. Psychological undercurrents run deep and allegiances frequently have the character of religious belief.
Anyway, halftime arrived and a chief steward in a high-vis jacket arrived in my area of the stadium. For some strange reason he singled out one of the lairy Hull City lads for questioning, saying that he had been aiming personal insults at the Rotherham fan and that the abused fellow had complained about this.
It was at this point that I interjected - explaining to the chief steward that the complainant had wound up the Hull City fans and that to my disgust he had aimed Nazi salutes at them.
The chief steward then said something quite odd - "Well I'm Jewish so I know how upsetting Nazi salutes can be."
I said, "They are offensive to me too and I have no religion!"
Anyway, the young Hull City fan who had been targeted was grateful of my intervention. We shook hands and I agreed with him that it was very odd that he had been singled out. Some of his chums proceeded to pat me on the back and shake my hand etcetera as the chief steward retreated to take my complaint to the Rotherham fan. How ever briefly, I became the young supporters' hero - standing up for what is right in the face of what is wrong.
In the second half, City's centre forward Tom Eaves scored his second goal to draw the teams level and then in injury time he sent a looping header over Rotherham's flailing goalkeeper to win the match with a well-deserved hat trick.
Needless to say I went home happy with the swagger of a temporary hero. Eat your heart out Clint Eastwood!