The attacks on Paris earlier this month need no introduction. Especially if you were a fan heading to today's match against Watford. Supporters were told to get to the match early as security was heightened in the wake of the tragedy in Paris. Each fan was checked and signed off on entry to the stadium, a full body search and bag check took place for the vast majority of fans.
The extra security wasn't exactly invisible and such a presence is not an easy one to feel comfortable in. I mean, the event of an attack was certainly in my mind, how could it not be? Surely others must have felt the same.
During the second half, I remember my breath leaving me as I saw a metallic object flung onto the pitch. For a few seconds, I was certain I would be witness to something horrible. I'm in no mood for hyperbole, but the context and narrative of this month has been one of national security. I hope I'm excused for being horrified at the sight of what essentially amounts to a fucking grenade being chucked onto a football pitch. Thankfully, blue smoke emerged from the Smokebomb, meaning that I could rest knowing that Villa would just lose the match and no-one would be hurt.
The fact that someone could bring a device into the ground shows that the idea of 'heightened security' didn't exactly work. To be quite honest, I'm a bit glad that it got through; A) because it was a harmless fun object and B) imagine the pure horror of anyone who would have felt that and taken it out? You wouldn't know it was a Smokebomb!.
I'm pretty certain that the Smokebomb came from the Watford away end, and if I'm wrong - I do apologise. It takes one small-minded, closed-off idiot to chuck anything remotely threatening on a pitch during a time were the world seems to be in panic and I'd hate to think a Villa fan could do something like that.