The week before Easter I was on a train through Ireland, it stopped in some small places which had little else noticeable bar the platform and the station. At one a man got on and we chatted briefly about many things, one obviously being football. He was a Manchester United supporter but was getting very excited about the game the following day between Liverpool and Manchester City. His parting shot was that Sky had built it up as the biggest game ever, as if two title contenders had never played before.

I mention this because the following few weeks brought this to my attention all the more. End of season games between clubs in all four divisions were built up to such an extent it feels like the team you are involved with, the team you may have watched thirty or forty times that season, are now reliant on ninety minutes for everything. TV loves this.

The atmosphere, nerves, one goal making all the difference! Forget Champions League drama, and think Bristol Rovers getting an Elliott Anderson ninetieth minute winner. The fact the Play-offs hype this tension up further by making it do or die, particularly in the Championship where the riches of the Premier League are treated like the Holy Grail of all football.

I mention all of this because the last few weeks of last season – from games as spread out as Nottingham Forest in the Play-offs to Manchester City winning the PL, Everton staying up; we have seen fans on the pitch and bother seeming to follow.

When we beat West Ham in 2015 to stay up, I don’t remember us bursting on to the field of play. Maybe I have forgotten it but I don’t remember 2012 and Aguero bringing out the same pitch invasion as the 2022 title did. Fan behaviour has changed, some of that has been following COVID and absence from grounds. Another point has been that for some teams this is such a change in status in a short period of time. However, attacks on players and managers more prevalent across the board.

Pitch invasions have happened for years but in 2022 the behaviour witnessed at the Euros final in 2021 has permeated further into football culture.

The increased hype of the return of fans mixed with the ridiculous nature of the coverage has allowed people, in their own minds, to mix alcohol, Class A drugs and a view that what takes place at a football ground is not the same as what takes place on the street and in a family setting. Wall to wall coverage of sport, but particularly football, has given it an importance in some people’s eyes elevating in meaning beyond anything else in life.

Everton’s reaction is a classic example of this. They weren’t in the relegation zone when they kicked off against Palace; they were mathematically safe before the final day.

Was there any need to go on the pitch? Or was it that this had to be a great celebration of the players and staff’s great escape, so they had to be seen to celebrate with them? The same players they’d booed off regularly throughout the season, now heroes once more.

The role of Sky and BT is interesting. Super Sunday was built up as really important at one point but when it comes down to the final games they often seem to feel the need to ratchet up the tension further. Martin Tyler used to build it up with a crescendo of “and it’s live” and that was about it.

Now we have an hour of coverage beforehand where Graeme Sourpuss, Jamie ‘my Dad’s Harry’ Redknapp and another former pro dissecting the match and telling us at home just how massive this game is.

Personally if it’s not Newcastle United, then it isn’t massive and if it is us then I’ll watch it and make my own mind up.

The issue football has is that people do act in a way that they wouldn’t normally sometimes. That those people are then being told this is the most important thing is going to happen in their lives and they need to take it seriously. As well as people missing out on these moments in 2020 and in some cases 2021 when they could only support their side from home.

A lot of this, obviously, lies with the people who think it’s ok to head-butt Billy Sharp (it isn’t) or attack an opposition player and goalkeeper because they’ve won this latest most important game of the season.

However, television coverage has to take some responsibility for the way it builds up these occasions, contributing to a fevered atmosphere where losing is regarded as a seismic catastrophe.

The money they have poured in to the top flight that makes Championship Play-off games worth financially a quarter of a billion for the winner, makes the tension and excitement even greater.

Maybe the answer is to get England’s Michael Owen to do the build up and calm everyone down, but TV has to take some responsibility for the behaviour it now rightly condemns and present the game as sport rather than life or death because it isn’t that.

Stephen Ord @smord84