THE torrid crowd antics which have tarnished English football in the past appear to have invaded the pitches of junior soccer matches.

And who are the main culprits? Not the child players of the beautiful game, but their disruptive and unruly parents.

Verbal and physical abuse from adults on the touchline (that is when they are not encroaching on the pitch itself) is on the increase.

Earlier this season one referee was knocked to the ground in a game between two Huddersfield junior league sides.

No wonder it can be a struggle to attract match officials when they face the bullying tactics of parents who are singularly obsessed with the fortunes of their individual offspring.

The rules of the game itself, as well as any team spirit or sense of fair play, are irrelevant to these selfish and anti-social adult spectators who only succeed in making a disgrace of themselves and embarrassing the youngsters they are allegedly there to support.

It would be extreme to suggest that parents who have no official involvement with a match should drop their children off and not return to pick them up until after the final whistle – but it is heading in that direction.

Matches between two sets of youngsters should be a happy family activity rather than an occurrence of conflict which would not be out of place in a war zone.

There’s only one piece of advice to yobbish adult spectators – grow up.