ONE youths account of the novelty explosives trade that is ruining football…
Drizzle fills the Midland skies as fans shuffle through turnstiles, like penguins, but penguins who like football.
I shiver amongst them in dread fear of the task that awaits me. Im 11 years-old and have light pyrotechnics hidden about my person with a street value of twelve pounds and seventy pence. How did it come to this?
Like most child flare smugglers I started young. My family were poor, we needed money to put the dog through kennel college.
So I dabbled with low risk jobs – sneaking clackers into chess tournaments and fun snappers into dressage events. I almost got caught outside a velodrome once with a cagoule full of tiger balloons, but I was young and I didnt care.
Now here I am outside Villa Park, packing more heat than the Red Arrows and I havent taken my options at school yet.
The operator looks up from the child ticket I hand him. He gazes at the base of my unfashionable bell bottom trousers under which I secretly house the flares ..its touch and go for a moment but Im in!
I then dart through the rows of seats searching for my buyer an evil man who I know only as Tony Flare. He takes the product grinning and pays me in sharpened fifty pence pieces.
In my short time Ive seen flares do terrible things to men, from causing mild distraction to creating a lingering smokey nuisance but thats not my problem.
My problem is what the future holds for me. Vuvuzela running in Rio? Or worse, Flare Island Prison? Of course Ill go where the money is, which will probably mean sneaking a rocket launcher in any stadia where Luis Suarez is playing.