Crowd behaviour is a serious problem in football – Tottenham’s Eric Dier
Eric Dier believes football has a “serious problem” with fan behaviour, revealing he has told his mum she can no longer travel to watch his matches.
The Tottenham defender was involved in a confrontation with a supporter following an FA Cup loss to Norwich in March 2020, climbing into the stands after the fan had argued with Dier’s brother.
He was charged by the Football Association, ultimately receiving a four-match ban and a £40,000 fine.
He also revealed further abuse aimed at his brother in the recent 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge, from both Chelsea and Spurs supporters.
Those flashpoints have given Dier, 28, a negative outlook on the general behaviour of supporters attending football matches.
“I’ve never spoken about that situation in the press before because, to be honest, I wasn’t at all happy with the way it was handled,” he said of entering the stands two and a half years ago.
“I don’t know what I can say about it because I don’t know if I’ll get banned or fined again or whatever.
“It wasn’t too dramatic like people make it out to be. But I don’t regret it at all and I’d do it again – (for) my family, my team-mates, anyone, a friend of mine. I consider myself to be extremely loyal.
“(Fan behaviour) has definitely got worse. For me it is a serious problem. I had some family and friends at the Chelsea away game with Tottenham and they had problems and stuff.
“I wanted to emphasise it was both sets of fans – I am not saying it is Chelsea fans or Tottenham fans, it is football fans in general.”
Dier believes there can be a level of interaction with rival fans but feels it is “crazy” that his mum has to be kept away in case it escalates.
“I never complain about this stuff and I don’t really mind. We played Burnley after I went in the stands for the next away game and the Burnley fans were singing a song about my brother and I like that kind of thing – I find it quite funny,” he added.
“I like that kind of humour, you know, if it is in the right way.
“But there are some things I find very strange. It is not nice. My family would never go to an away game nowadays because of it – and that’s a shame that I feel too uncomfortable for them to go to away games.
“This has been for years. My mum has not been to an away game. She would love to, but I would be worried about it – and that’s crazy, isn’t it?
“All of our families go through it. Every player’s parents have been watching them since they were kids and have gone through that kind of stuff.”
Dier was talking on his return to the England squad having last represented the Three Lions in November 2020.
Now he has his eyes on the St George’s Park honours board, looking to add to his 45 caps.
“Not going to the Euros, maybe at that point I did not know what would happen after that. I never really thought about it like that,” he said.
“I always thought it would maybe take a while as I would need to be playing well consistently for a long period of time to maybe get back in but I just focus on playing well for Tottenham and focus on the things I can control.
“It (reaching 50 caps) would mean a lot. It’s something that when I wasn’t in the squad it was playing on my mind that I was so close to it. That did annoy me.
“I would love to be able to get to that kind of milestone. I’ve seen they’ve got a board up now in the reception of the hotel of all the people who have made 50 and 100. It’s a dream to be able to reach that.”
Dier offered to “sit down with anyone and go through every game” of a spell where the general consensus was he was struggling for form.
He is now playing what he believes is the “best level” of his career as he praised the impact Spurs head coach Antonio Conte has had.
“I don’t want to sound like a teacher’s pet but he has done a lot for me,” he added.
“Tactically I have learnt a lot. Obviously there is a huge emphasis on it with him and I have learnt so much, different things tactically.
“He is the godfather of that system so I feel like with him you’re constantly learning and evolving within that system, constantly adding new things.”