20 AUGUST 1988, Page 23

Can your mother sew?

Sir: Yes, I suppose we should all feel grateful that the violence of Glasgow foot- ball supporters in the 1930s is now largely a thing of the past, as Richard West suggests (Prophylactic policing, 25 June). But it was still a thriving tradition in 1972, when I was in a Glasgow hospital ward.

A televised match between the Celtics and the Rangers led to a furious punch-up between two patients, both in their 60s. One of them had recently had his foot amputated; the other had cancer. As they rolled around the floor, egged on by fellow-patients (among them a significant percentage of Glaswegian vendetta vic- tims), several voices picked up a common theme: 'Put the stump in, Jimmy, put the stump in!'

The loudest voice came from the occu- pant of the bed next to mine; he'd been run down, and backed over, by an adversary driving a Ford Cortina with cross-ply tyres. Now he looked forward to the day when he was able to drive again; to even the score, he had purchased an old Rover and fitted it with radials. Oddly enough, he had abso- lutely no interest in the game of football.

R. S. Potterton 522 W. Addison, Chicago,

Illinois 60613 United States