Dear Mr Carlisle,
It's not a distressing sight. It IS what I want to see.
I'm not the only one, either. My favorite Pyro video, a montage of fans' antics at Panathinaikos vs Olympiakos in 2010, has 135,342 hits and only about twenty of them were me.
It's not just you who don't get it, Clarke. I'd actually just muted my television while Slaven Bilic was talking. This is inconceivable - the man has the sexiest accent on planet Earth, but I can't abide him talking about how the penalties for lighting Pyro are 'very minor' in Croatia and that there's something wrong with that. On one occasion, a single flare was lit in Dinamo Zagreb's west stand. Police responded by beating everyone in their path in order to arrest the 'offender', including a pregnant woman and a grandfather.
On this particular occasion, Mr Carlisle, I sympathize with your point of view to some extent. It's a shame that because so many flares were thrown onto the pitch, a brilliant game was interrupted. Fair do's: I've actually argued against throwing flares, and for harsh penalties for those who do so, but will never argue against their safe, legal use - as seen every weekend in Sweden, Norway and Austria. Fans in these countries have agreed upon a code of practice for Pyro use, and act within its parameters. Perhaps if you treat people like adults, adult behavior follows?
However, when the flares were lit, I actually jumped around my living room for a few seconds before remembering my downstairs neighbor. I settled for a few hysterical windmills, fortunately witnessed only by me in the reflection of my window - my street's pretty quiet after 9pm on a Sunday. Pyro makes my whole body warm, and my heart beat faster - even in a living room in Leeds, rather than on the stand. Passion is a funny thing. Some have a little; I have a lot, and I'm not the only one whose heart beats for Pyro.
I'm a woman, and so is the friend whose first Facebook message to me following the pyroshow was: "We so need to go to a Croatia game one day!!!" Women and children are often used as excuses to ban any type of interesting behavior of #Football. Not in my name, please.
So, Mr Carlisle, I hope I have developed your understanding of the passion for Pyro that is certainly not unique, obscure or confined to central and eastern Europe. I also hope ITV continues their excellent practice of including flares - not fireworks being thrown everywhere, but flares being lit safely in the stand - in their advertisements for Europa League coverage. This has been my favorite football channel for years because of its non-judgmental attitude to an exuberant supporter behavior. Let's not spoil the party now, shall we? #Euro2016