Eric Dier is in wrong for Cantona-esque fan row.. but it’s only human to react

first_imgTWO Erics, a quarter of a century apart, both wading into the terraces to confront abusive fans.Eric Dier’s confrontation with a supporter after Tottenham’s FA Cup penalty-shootout defeat by Norwich may not have been a violent flashpoint like Eric Cantona’s infamous kung-fu kick on a Crystal Palace fan.3 Eric Dier is facing disciplinary action after climbing into the stands to confront an abusive fanCredit: PA:Press AssociationBut it is the closest thing top-flight English football has seen over these past 25 years.There will certainly be no talk of ‘seagulls, trawlers and sardines’ when Dier is up before the beak.The Tottenham midfielder is no loose cannon. Indeed, Dier is one of the most mature and intelligent England players of recent times.At Spurs he has been regarded as a good influence on team-mates — especially his close pal, the sometimes wayward Dele Alli.Dier is a bilingual middle-class boy who spent much of his childhood in Portugal. He is also the grandson of the late, long-serving FA secretary Ted Croker.Yet none of those factors actually mattered.Dier’s respectable background and previous good character didn’t stop him vaulting ad hoardings and clambering across 20 rows of seats to confront a fan who apparently abused him and got into an altercation with his brother.3 Dier clambered over ad hoardings and seating to rush towards a supporter involved in a confrontation with his brotherMAKE YOUR DEBUT Bet £5 get £20 in free bets for new customers at LadbrokesHe must, and will, face punishment. As boss Jose Mourinho admitted, professionals cannot behave in such a way.But there is also widespread sympathy for Dier — arriving with an increased understanding that, just because a footballer earns millions, buying a match ticket does not give anybody the right to personally abuse him.The hurtful personal jibes aimed at sportsmen and other celebrities on social media has sharpened focus on this issue and made us all more aware rich and famous humans are essentially the same as any other humans.Terrace abuse is no worse now than it was 25 years ago. In fact, Premier League stadia are less boisterous places than when Cantona went berserk — and certainly more family-friendly than in the hooligan-infested 1970s and 1980s.We are certainly now more aware of racial abuse of footballers — a more serious issue than what Dier and his brother suffered on Wednesday.And the vast majority would surely have sympathy with a player, or a team, who chose to walk off the pitch in the face of such filth.Not that English football doesn’t still have a long way to go.Had Raheem Sterling or Manchester United’s Fred reacted in a similar way to Dier after high-profile incidents over the past couple of seasons, would they have garnered more sympathy than the white lad?3 Eric Cantona was banned for eight months for kung-fu kicking a Crystal Palace fan in 1995Credit: Getty – ContributorYou’d like to think so, but you have to doubt it. Dier shouldn’t have acted as he did — but then, anyone can lose their temper.And those who operate under the extreme pressure and intense spotlight of elite football are more susceptible than most.Tottenham had just been knocked out of the Cup, suffering a fourth straight defeat — three of them at home against teams they might have been expected to beat.Dier’s own career has been blighted by illness and injury these past couple of years.He should be approaching his peak, at 26, but is no longer a nailed-on starter for Spurs or England. These factors may, or may not, have played a part in bringing down the red mist.Perhaps the sight of his brother being given stick on the terraces would have made Dier lose his cool, even if things were going swimmingly for the player and his club.In his post-match interviews, Mourinho suggested that the fan in question was sitting in an area where there are many ‘privileged… corporate’ spectators, rather than true Spurs fans.This is surely a red herring. Ardent fans are more likely than casual observers to let their passions boil over.Most read in footballTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battleTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’ExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidNEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticREF RELEASEDChampions League ref Vincic released by cops after arrest in prostitution raidKEANE DEALEx Man United youth ace David Jones says Roy Keane negotiated a contract for himREF RAIDChampions League ref Vincic ‘arrested in raid into drugs and prostitution ring’NICE RONCristiano Ronaldo goes on family bike ride with partner Georgina Rodriguez & kidsFew of us can have paid to watch our teams over many years and never yelled anything at one of our own players which we wouldn’t have regretted in the cold light of day.Dier’s reaction was shocking — though not in the same league as  Cantona’s Jackie Chan routine.He will now surely be fined and banned for it. Yet many of his fellow professionals will thank him for doing them a favour.Jose Mourinho reacts to Eric Dier incident saying he was helping his younger brother during altercationlast_img

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