HAVING spent 12 years in Brum, including a good spell covering their matches on my sports beat for the MetroNews, I developed a real soft spot for Birmingham City.

Loud, passionate and straight up ­— and with a way of dealing with their ups and downs with a large dollop of black humour ­— the overwhelming majority of Blues fans are salt of the earth.

Hearing Keep Right On - at full belt - is one of my favourite non-Saints audio memories.

The rivalry between them and Aston Villa in the second city derby is unbelievably fierce, but no amount of passion and rivalry can ever justify supporters running on the field attacking players.

That has been dealt with by the courts. But the safety of players, of all sports, needs to be guaranteed, and that incident ­— although extreme ­— is not an isolated one across sports.

It is not that long ago that a punter tipped a pint over the head of Michael van Gerwen in the World Darts Championship.

Are we going backwards again in some areas?

If so, what are the causes?

I am not sure, but maybe in some aspects the rudeness, anger and anonymous trolling that occurs in social media spills over into the real world, whether that is sport or politics.

We need to get a grip. In rugby league we can’t sit back smugly and take it for granted and say it wouldn’t happen here.

That is why I winced a bit when seeing Wire v Wigan being billed as “bad blood”.

Short memories; bad blood - I remember that, trickling in the Fletcher End, when police with dogs had to break up fighting during an early 80s Locker Cup friendly between Wire and Wigan.

Those days of small gangs of lads fighting each other at games, prevalent in games between Saints, Warrington and Wigan the late 70s and 80s, are thankfully long gone, but let’s not tempt fate or stir it up too much with these silly slogans.