Whilst middle England were assembling a secret climate camp in Blackheath for their annual get-together the traditional working-class were assembling at the West Ham V Millwall game for what they do best. We all enjoy meeting up with our piers or people we enjoy the company off and the camaraderie is often the excuse for the event and the cause, as was certainly the case here. Just as a handful of righteous wet behind the ears white ruddy cheeked students won't change the world with childish direct action; some brain dead morons from Bermondsey won't be bringing back football hooliganism. The young socially aware middle-class talk about saving the planet to lift their parent's white-collar guilt for wrecking it whilst the working-class just continue to smash it up.
British Transport police have said football hooliganism has been rising outside of the games year on year since 2004 and so demanding more funding from the clubs themselves, the policing and stewarding at grounds forcing the problem elsewhere.
I stopped going to big football matches in the 80s because I knew Hillsboro was coming, being at several games myself where it got very uncomfortable. I have been in big games building to that Hillsboro conclusion. I suspect that's the same for many others here who went football in the 70s and early 1980s. My best mate was in the Bradford fire drama and yet I still sat and watched the crush at Hillsboro and Hysel on the TV in disbelief that it had happened, the photos of the crushed people being slowly suffocated still in my mind today. That could have been me. It could have been anyone who went to football in the bad old days. I kept the front page of the old Today Newspaper to remind me not to go again in that era. A work mate at the game explained his experiences all too vividly to a shocked canteen when he was able to return to work because of the trauma.
Now it's all different and it just can't happen in the newer grounds (we hope), but as we saw at Upton park, another black day in football is always lurking. I suspect it was the cheaper tickets for the Carling Cup game at West Ham that attracted the thugs, the premiership long since out of their price range, this a chance to have a pop at the old enemy over turf, what they do in this part of the world. In neighbouring boroughs they shoot each other for much less. It was almost like the last stand of the remaining white working class male in the East End, pathetically lashing out like a dying squid out of water as immigration and white flight expose their vulnerability and uselessness to society, their jobs done by others now, their shiny bald heads under the halogen not shaven for the day but that of sad pathetic middle-aged men making a futile and immature gesture of mindless resistance to change, their hair receding through testosterone rage of being nothing, the youngsters in the baseball caps and hooligan brands too stupid to pick a new image, just copying Danny Dyers Green Street look from that pirated DVD.
For some reason Hillsboro fell into that same hooligan categorisation rather too quickly, upsetting many people from that city, outrageous claims from The Sun newspaper, like that Liverpool fans pick pocketed dead bodies in the Leppings Lane End, vulgar even for The Sun. But what Liverpool fans at that game have never done is refused to take any of the blame, their behaviour at Heysel contradicting their claim it was all the Sheffield polices fault, those officers and emergency workers just as traumatised as some of the families who lost love ones.
The police reacted to the building crush outside the ground from fans with panic and fear, opening the wrong gate, sluicing fans into an already packed terrace, too many fans without tickets and full of beer at the game. People were being crushed to death outside and the stress had to be released somehow. What would you do? The police had faced similar situations before at big games and had got away with opening the gate out of desperation and sometimes incompetance. Not this time. Those ticketless fans,some full full of ale, were contributing to that crush, as caught on camera, trying to get the police to open those very gates. Other fans had been delayed on route, wanting to get near to the turnstiles with genuine tickets to see the kick off. It's what they call a fatal juxtaposition of chance. Today was the day everyone in the game new was coming but too entrenched in their positions to stop it.
The decent fans had got their early, as they do for most matches, settling in at the front of the terrace with their burger and chips and a hot cup of steaming tea to escape the crush you sometimes got at all the big games back then when it was mostly standing areas. These were the people that died that day. The hardcore...the lads who would usually arrive late full of beer and insist on being behind the goal perhaps didn't die that day. Anyone who went to games in that era were caught up in the serge of the boisterous mass as it sways in rhythmical but capriciously with the noise and excitement, the roughians positioning themselves in that throng, banging the back of the corrugated iron stands to let you know they had claimed their turf as the spitting began. The decent fans would get home to discover gob and allsorts on the back of their heads and coats, a throng of blue-collar males looking to let off all of their frustrations of being treated similarly at work all week, not always a pleasant communal experience. But that what football was back then and you certainly felt alive.
Hillsboro could have happened at any big match in the 70s and 80s and a bloody miracle it didn't. The football crowd collectively didn't respect the police and the police hated the crowd because of what they had to deal with every Saturday. Tensions built until the whole game came tumbling down in the late 1980s, the game destroyed by hooligans and ale, hate and crumbling grounds, battered and rusting from years of abuse and anger, unable to take anymore. Double the fans attended the same grounds in the first half of the last century with a quarter of the police on duty, yet orderly and concern for other fans was the order of the day. It was too easy for Liverpool to blame the Sun and some bad calls from the West Yorkshire police, who, lets face it, opened those gates to save lives, not crush Scousers. Entertaining the thought that there was malice involved in that very tough police decision is as bad as The Sun if you ask me. Barracking the sports minister at the eulogies at the recent memorial was disrespectful to the families and very silly.
The Taylor Report was thorough but respectful to grieving Liverpool and its mostly brilliant fans, the Kop the greatest and emotional football crowd there is. How can you not shiver when they sing 'You will never walk alone... ' Taylor didn't want to lay blame at anyone's feet for various reasons, it was not the time, that ambiguity its remit, and hoped the amazing all-seater concrete stadiums would be an appropriate stone epitaph of respect to those decent fans that died that day and effectively saved the game. Taylor never expected the police to take the blame, or indeed the small group of ticket less Liverpool fans who were drinking and were determined to get into the ground come what may, an act of stupidity they repeated in Athens for the 2007 champions League final by vaulting turnstiles, 20,000 more going to that game than then there were tickets available for. Of all the fans they should be the ones not causing a crush at the turnstiles. It takes a man to turn around and put his hands up and say, you know what, we all contributed to that day in someway and its time to let it rest. If it didn't happen at Hillsboro on that awful day it would have happened on another day somewhere else, a different set of innocent fans and police force and emergency services having to suffer the same tragedy. It was the thugs that killed football in the 70s and 80s and not the people trying to control the crowds. Those cages and fences that crushed those people were there for that reason and that reason only.
Now top league football has been diluted by foreign money and players and middle-class fans the problems are going away. Sadly that was the only way to do it and most of the grounds are soulless now. But at least Hillsboro made the game accountable and so this will hopefully never happen again. Every time I hear fans asking for terraces to return I want to show them the pictures from the Today newspaper, the life literally being squeezed out of mums and dads, children and good people. When Liverpool fans continue to put the blame 100% on the police they are effectively expunging their guilt that many fans carried during the 80s for being part of the problem and not the solutions. I'm not asking you to shake the hands of those coppers, emergency workers and stewards on duty that day but a beer or two always helps. They wouldn't be at the ground that day if we had all behaved in the 70s and 80s.
Football isn't the problem but angry working-class males, the type of mob that humiliate England every time we go abroad. All you see is fighting abroad in beautiful European cities, disturbing sober teenagers out with their family and friends at the roadside cafes having to put up with this crap. Chairs and bottles being thrown by fat tattooed idiots near families out for meal just makes me so angry and ashamed.
When we beat Slovenia tonight to qualify for The World Cup it will be war in South Africa if the England scum try anything out there. I would not want to spend a night in a South African jail.
I'm a Sheffield United supporter and I'm what I'd call a "proper" football fan - I go to the matches and I follow my team home and away across the length and breadth of the country, rather than simply sitting at home watching Sky Sports. I've had a season ticket for 19 years, been to 60 different football grounds and attended approximately 500 matches.
I've travelled to away games by car, coach and train and as a supporter of a team who has a fairly well-known hooligan element (Blades Business Crew), I'd say that I'm pretty well-versed to give my opinion on the problem of football hooliganism in this country.
As a whole: there isn't a hooligan problem in England any more. I'm only 27, so I can't comment on the bad times of the 70s and 80s where from the reports I've seen, going to football was just a massive free-for-all, but I can comment of football in the 90s and 00s and I really don't see that there's a problem.
Sure, some people go to games, looking for trouble, it's inevitable - some people are just built like that. I however am not, and although I like to go and have a drink and a bit of banter with the opposing fans, I've never felt as though it would go any further than that. At no time have I felt unsafe at football. Generally speaking the hooligans only want to fight each other and that's fine by me!
So, here's a run-down of my experiences with hooliganism...
The Steel City Derby
Sheffield United vs Sheffield Wednesday
The Steel City Derby is the biggest game of the season for United and Wednesday fans and it brings your fair share of idiots of of the woodwork. There have been incidents of disorder in most of the recent meetings between the teams, probably the most serious of which occurring at Bramall Lane where Wednesday fans have complained of being pelted with missiles and have had flares launched at them inside the ground. Now, this to me isn't hooliganism this is just stupid people doing stupid things. As a result of the missile, United had to close an area of the South Stand which was where the flare originated from.
Playing at Hillsborough seems to go off with less trouble mainly due to the huge police operation that comes with the match. Recent United v Wednesday games at Hillsborough have been lunch time kick-offs and I've travelled to them on the tram with the wife. We've made a habit of stopping off at Wetherspoons in town for some breakfast and beers along the way. In 2007 we got on the wrong tram, which was filled with the United "risk element" as the police call them. What followed was something you had to see to believe... The police spotters had seen that the United hoolies were on the tram and gave the tram a police escort all the way to the ground with mounted police, cars and 2 riot vans at the front and back of the tram all the way to Hillsborough. The usual 20-minute tram journey took nigh on an hour that day and was mostly peaceful until we came to a standstill around a mile from the ground. As it was getting close to kick-off the doors were forced open and dozens of United fans had to run to the ground to make the kick-off.
Coming back on the tram is usually an interesting journey with rival fans exchanging verbals through the windows and inevitable hold-ups at Hillsborough Corner where the tram runs past traditional Wednesday pubs.
The worst I've ever seen it
Grimsby Town vs Scunthorpe United
Believe it or not, the worst violence I've ever seen at a football match was a local derby between Grimsby Town and Scunthorpe United in 2005 (the other half comes from Scunthorpe, and so I was doing my bit and supporting lower league football). Nothing much happened during the game (it was a boring 0-0 draw), but afterwards there was quite a bit of commotion on the streets of Grimsby with people running all over the place, rival fans charging at each other and the police were unable to control the situation.
Stoke City away
After a cracking 2-2 draw at the Britannia, some Stoke fans attempted to get to the United fans in the ground, but were held back by police. Outside, the car park doors were locked for around an hour as police dispersed the home fans who weren't happy that we'd equalised in the last minute. The journey back to Sheffield took longer than expected due to the police escorting the United coaches all the way back to Yorkshire! There were 17 coaches (we counted) and around 30 police cars and riot vans blocking the motorway exits.
Other minor events I've encountered include being coined at Derby, spat on at Grimsby, seen bottles thrown at Arsenal and caught in the middle of a small fight on the tram for a Wednesday vs Rotherham game.
The real football hooligans (the police)
I can accept that there are some nutters who attend football with the sole intention of getting into a fight. I however, am not one of them - I don't have a violent bone in my body and all I wanna do when I go to football is have a drink and watch the Blades win.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done thanks to the police forces up and down the country who view all football fans as hooligans and treat us with the same brush.
If you've never been to an away game on the train before, I suggest you give it a go - 9 times out of 10 you'll be met at the station by an army of coppers who'll escort you to the nearest pub (at least they do something nice). You'll be kept in the pub until kick-off approaches and then you'll be marched to the ground. Want to go to a different pub? Tough. Want to go to the ground early? Tough. Meeting some friends nearby? Tough. You're staying here - the police rule all. You can't ask them nicely, you can't reason with them - you're a football fan, so you have no rights.
I can see that the police do have a difficult job at football because there are still some nutters about who just go for a fight, but half of the time the police cause their own problems with their over-zealous actions.
Please note: the majority of this was written before yesterday's match between Wast Ham and Millwall which I'm sure you will have seen on the news. I still stand by my views though - on the whole hooliganism is not a problem in English football any more.
As I listen to live radio commentary of Leeds United v Millwall , two of Britains clubs with arguably the most notorious hooligan rivalry . I thought I would express my views on hooliganism in sport . We can all talk about stories all day long of 'our firm are better than yours' or what you have witnessed in your time . A vast majority of regular football fans have definitely heard , of , witnessed or been involved in football hooliganism whilst spectating/supporting their team . In the 70's and 80's whilst hooliganism was in full flow , the most clear and obvious reason for so many lads and men conducting themselves in that way would probably be anger and frustratioon built up in their working class week . On a saturday they got to feel 'one of the lads' . The worrying aspect of hooliganism is the effect it has on families just wanting to watch football , I definitely know I wouldnt want my kids to be involved with it . Stadium disasters such as Heysel involved hooliganism led to the football spectator act , which involved upgrading grounds , increased policing and prosecution . There have been several films made about football hooliganism , the most popular being Football Factory , Green Street and CASS .
Football hooliganism, i've never understood why people would big this up at all, having studied Sociology I understand tribalism and why people feel such a protective feeling of their football team and the need to bond and identify with others, thats fine, so what they should do like the vast majority of football fans is support their team with all their passion and heart, not put on lots of weight, wear silly clothes and find back streets to have a row with like minded people from other clubs. Back in the 'good old days' big fat twerps could spend every weekend fighting other imbeciles under the banner of supporting their team, well whatever people may say about all seater stadia, the rising cost of ticket prices and sky sports, the loss of hooliganism as a mainstream industry has coincided with the family-isation of football in the UK.
Hooliganism has always been considered an English disease, obviously with the odd exception (Millwall v Hull) recently its not something we see so much of nowadays, whereas we do see regular issues abroad now whether it be racism in Spain or Croatia, rampant fighting in Southern France, or the battlefields that are Argentine football stadia on any Sunday afternoon, what is the cause, personally I think its a mixture of machismo, sometimes booze, needing to take out frustrations, wanting and identity and being a blithering idiot. We've seen some horrible tragedies caused by hooliganism and everyone involved in the game in this country have made a genuine effort to eradicate it, so lets be positive, hooliganism is awful but we've made wonderful strides in this country and we should be proud, lets continue the fight to kick racism and hooliganism out of football and concentrate on having our hearts broken every weekend by our underachieving teams!
As most people are aware England used to be the worst country for football hooliganism in the world. It has now carmed down alot in England but other countries have taken over e.g Dinamo Zagreb v Hajduk Split derby, their is violence at that game plus a number of other high intensity rivalries especially in eastern europe. Brazil and argentina hooligans fight at most games guns are a major part of this growing problem. But the worst country has to be Turkey where Fenerbache v Galatasaray is one of the most violent derbies in the world, also one of the main incidents happened when two inocent leeds fans were stabbed outside a pub in Istanbul in 2001. Violence is growing in a number of other countries such as Croatia, Serbia and Russia. These people arent football fans they are thugs and need to stop or football will be ruined for good.
I can vividly recall strolling along the side of the football ground as a throng of Sheffield United fans charged from the other direction hurling house bricks along the way. I was 11 at the time and pretty scared at what was unfolding. This was the 70's and soccer had been singled out for hooligans to treat match days as their venue for unadulterated violence. Who can forget the images from those dark days including Leeds fans ripping up seats in Paris, policemen on horseback and numerous incidents at The Den, home of Millwall? You could be forgiven for thinking that those days are over. Sadly, after last night, I have to say that they definitely are not. I went along to the Birmingham v Villa game knowing that there would be trouble. After all, it had been in the local paper (Birmingham Evening Mail) that trouble had been organised as a kind of retribution for the seeds sown at the first meeting between the teams last year. On that occasion, Birmingham had won the game 3-0 but the win had been marred by pitch invasions with one fan running on the pitch to taunt the opposition goalkeeper from a distance matter of inches from his face. Inflammatory stuff that laid the foundations for feelings of revenge. So last night feelings were running high. Normally, I park my car about a mile from the ground and walk but this route takes me past a particularly troublesome pub and the train station where most visiting fans alight to get to the ground. For this game, my brother dropped me down at the ground and picked me up so that I could drive my car back from his house. I also went along with a mate of my brothers who was worried about leaving his car at the ground. Having made it through the numerous police present, we got out fairly close to where we'd both need to enter the ground. As we walked along the Trinity Rd side of the ground, which runs parallel to Aston Park, we were met with the sight and sound of mass brawling in the park. We
looked across to see glimpses of yellow jacketed police flashing torch beams in the dark as they got to grips with what can only be described as growls of savagery from fighting thugs. Anyway, we got into the ground where, in theory, you should be safe. There were extra stewards and police on duty inside as rumours were that tickets had been sold to away fans in home designated areas of the stadium. The atmosphere was electric with a number of individuals clearly pumped up to the point where they seemed to be almost frothing at the mouth with aggression. The game kicked off and, frankly, the standard was appalling. Bearing in mind the significance of the fixture, the players hardly helped with a frenetic tempo matched by some reckless tackles that simply served to stir things up even more. The game petered into a 0-0 draw at half time and things calmed down. However, it wasn't long after the break before one of the home players was sent off for headbutting an opponent. Craziness on a massive scale, which re-ignited the blue touch paper. Soon after Birmingham scored followed by a second goal. To add fuel to the fire, a second home player got sent off (quite rightly) incensing the 40000 odd home fans to the point where something had to give. It did as several sections around the ground erupted with one group of fans trying to charge into the Birmingham fans but, thankfully, they were held back by police and stewards. One idiot ran onto the pitch to replicate the incident from St. Andrews and I along with hundreds of others left early to avoid the trouble. All the way home I listened to the local radio station as all people could talk about was the trouble. There were people with kids taking them, in some cases, to their first game. Maybe they'll come through it like I did but then maybe they won't. I mean, after all, why should they? The evening raised lots of issues: Why had the tick
et arrangements gone so badly wrong yet again? Why had such an explosive fixture been played at 8pm giving people the chance to drink all day before the game? Why had the players not gauged the mood and behaved better? Why is a minority so intent on causing trouble? What goes through people's minds to turn them into such Neanderthals? My enduring image of last night is of the executive boxes to the left of the Holte End. For those that don't know, the Holte End is the home stand and is flanked on both sides by further home stands adorning the left and right hand sides of the ground. After the first goal, one section that were seated outside erupted into cheers and were obviously Birmingham fans on a Corporate package. This being so close to the home fans enraged many but, to be honest, I'm not too fussed at people celebrating their team scoring. What I found extraordinary was one particular gentleman who took it upon himself to shake his fist and give a one fingered salute to the thousands below. Precipitating a one man riot, the stewards eventually got to him and made him leave but only after this had gone on for a good ten minutes. All in all, I felt ashamed last night. I got home and told my wife it had been one of the worst nights of my life. Sure, we'd lost again but it was the events in and around the ground that had left me, at times, genuinely fearing for my own safety. You would have to have been there to feel what I and many others felt. If any of the trouble-makers are reading this then you area disgrace to Society. I really and truly had thought I'd seen the back of all this but clearly that macho culture is still alive and kicking that brings men (and women) into some kind of Fight Club approach to what should be a leisure activity. Of course, the authorities aren't completely blameless. I've asked questions above
but, of course, the bizarre kick-off time will have been driven by money as it was a live televised game on SkyTV. Frankly, the stewards and police should be commended for dealing with such a difficult set of circumstances. I understand that there was something like 40 arrests after the game whilst, I'm sure there will have been further trouble in Birmingham City Centre. Last nights scenes should not be a part of football in this new century but my real concern at the heart of all this is that do they scenes simply reflect Society's ills at a more micro level? I'm not trying to excuse what went on but this tribal culture must have its roots somewhere and there seems to be plenty of issues at a Social level right now. I suppose that is the question I will leave you with whilst welcoming any comments you may have. Thanks for reading and this will be my last opinion for a few days before I outstay my welcome! Marandina ***Latest 2pm 4/3/03*** The player involved in the headbutting incident has now aplogised while the Police are considering prosecuting players and fans. It's a good job I love the game so much otherwise I seriously consider disowning it.
Ok, just for start off i will give you my background. I come from a large Norv'en Market town from a family that when broken down decades come fr0om all over north and Ireland ( Unfortuantly). I was brought up in quite a well off part of this town, with my dad a chartered accountant, mum a nurse and my sister gaining many A-levels. I was always clothed and my mam and pap always did there best for us. I never did without anyhting and was sent all the way through school and very very well looked after. I am a well liked and respected person in and around and have many friends and am well known between young and old and many people think butter wouldnt melt in my mouth but it changes when it comes too football. I am now a Bricklayer and would be seen as a 'thug'. Im 6.2, 17 stone, shaven head. I follwoed my home team since i was 8 and england since i was 16. I travelled all over the country with my team gathering in over 90 differnt grounds gettting up at 2am in the morning to afford this and i plyed my trade as a bricklayer and am now able to follow England. Ok ok ok i know people are going to say your 18 this and your 18 that but if you put 89 and 134 together people will know that this hooligan crack is experience not age. I started following my home team away on my own since 12, and as a young naive teenager i got in with a crowd who LOVED football but also loved to fight for there town/team, so anyone with the there "not true football fans" conclusion, all i can say is ROLLOX. I have been down to London, Bristol, Cardiff, Nottingham etc etc which are all well over 3 hours away on train, under some 25 year old wing looking after me Drinking beer, smoking, singing i was loving it, it was a massive ego for a 12 year old and i was buzzin. i would do this every other week and always looked forward, whether running riot with our local rivals when we crossed paths at Birmingham new street on our way abck to our native no
rth or rookign with police on Victoria or just going for glory in the middle of Chesterfeild with locals. However i was going to leave my homeland for the biggest proudest acheivemnet yet - ENG-ER-LUND!!! As i left amatuer home hooliganism for the top league abroad fighting, i was full of pride, representing my country at last, treading foriegn soil with my English passport in my back pocket giving it large! The was England 1st fixture after world cup loss to Brazil in world cup quater finals 2002, it was Slovakia away, as i left Mancheste ron the friday i had geezers had it been a normal weekend i would be trading bottles of uriine of bricks with but it was different his like - "alreet kid, off wit' England"?. Anyway with a estimated 10,000 english off there people were obviously thinkign 10,000 england thugs as given by a certain swindon male who gave his veiw, but this is absoultly innacurate.to some england lads im just a little squabble what i do, they deal death. But off course this si england, who have never been indimated. while in Slovakia we were intimidated, security stealing money passports hiting people with batons, strip searching females before entering there hotle ( Come on please), massive police presence, closed bars, banned from entering shops, told or forced to move on when loitering, anyone coulkd see what was coming. But off course everyone else is perfect, they never get intimated. anyway on the saturday i was rung by my ole man toi find 2 england fans shot for little more than singing in a bar. at the ground bottles of urine flying over, coins lighters etc and the police are ahving giggle soon as someone realiates the police storm in. But so many of you seem to condone this that we should go 90 minutes of this and not retaliate, if you was in garden and someone was throwing bricks at you what would you do, react - exactly. same as england but the police hate us, we are hated and so of course its always our fault,
and the press obviousky have you brainless bints wrapped round there little finger who say england has a hooligan problem, because if we werent intimidated just like we are we woudlnt have crack back. wereas when these 250 out of 10,000 or call it 500 for tops have crack for no reasonothers would shake there ehad and not join in but its because its injustice that gets people wound up and go for it. just like people would wind me up with my home team, i would fight back. but if they didnt fight i would have no game. I love violnce and get a buzz because you fighting for somethign that means so much too me, but it dosent mean i dont like football, if it wasnt for football iw ouldnt fight, but because others are up for it i am.
The supposed English disease of Hooliganism, is always hyped up in the Media with such documentaries as the one on BBC2 leading up to the World Cup, or the Undercover expose of the Chelsea Headhunters by some muppet of an Irish fella. The fact is, the old bill are now on top of any such acts and very few "rows" happen anymore due to the Police being very clever and the firms not being very organised. However when they do are organised enough, why is hooliganism different from ther average drunken fight on a saturday night between a group of lads? Hooliganism is like an extreme sport, stupid as it may seem there is nothing more exciting than coming out of a train station 20 handed knowing that there could be 40/50 Yids round the corner. Its also about loyalty, its about being able to stand with your mates and not run when being put under pressure. I was in Munich for the 5-1 drubbing of Germany and was part of a 300 strong mob that went looking for Germans in the Marienplatz, there was nothing better than knowing any minute now you could be fighting with your rivals, its far better than BMX riding or Snow boarding anyway.
As many of you know I enjoy my football. Not old enough to properly remember the seventies when hooliganism was commonplace in the game I have been shocked by the level of violence that I have seen rising. I want to recount a personal experience of hooliganism and hatred that I experienced personally. To set the scene, last september I was drinking in a Glasgow pub with my friends before a Rangers' game. Unbeknown to us a group of celtic fans had entered the pub. We continued to drink, laugh and enjoy the buildup to the game. One of the celtic fans obviously did not like us being there and decided to come over and confront us. After some obscenities being thrown our way and us retaliating back all hell seemed to break loose. The gang of celtic fans charged at us. We were all sitting around a table and were taken by suprise. After a scuffle I saw a broken glass heading towards my face and in a panic put my arm in the way. Result: I ended having to have my arm held in the air by one friend whilst another applied pressure to it until the ambulance came to try and stem the blood that was pouring from my arm. I ended up with 36 stitches in my arm, my tendons connecting to my hand being torn with just a millimeter to spare them from being completely severed which would have left me with no use in my left hand, and two veins in my wrist being slashed. I am appalled by what I have experienced and for a while would not go out with my rangers' shirt on and certainly would not go to a match. Several months later and my physical injuries have healed less a mass of scars that look like a roadmap, my psychologial scars have also healed but I will never forget the hatred that I experienced that day. It left me thinking; how do innocent people end up getting involved in violence all because of the shirt they are wearing and the team that they support? How do you start off being in a pub drinking and enj
oying an afternoon and then end up in an emergency department because someone decided that you need beating up, all because you dare to disagree with the team that they "support"? All in all what is football? Is it worth losing two pints of blood over like I did? Is it worth losing your life over? After all, and I would not have said this a year ago, its just a game. I have read books about hooliganism, by authors such as Dougie and Eddy Brimson and it makes me stop and think about how much hatred that this sport brings. Obviously people are proud of what they stand for and defend their beliefs, but there is a way to do this when it comes to sport. Rugby fans are a different kettle of fish. Yes they share the passion for their game, Yes they enjoy the rivalry involved but vary rarely does it result in gangs of men bashing each others head's in. Hooliganism in football to me seems to be set up by people who in all reality do not have football as their prime concern. They merely attach themselves to a football club, and use that club as an excuse for a fight. These people regularly contact others at rivals "forms", or combat groups, and set up fights either before or after a football match. Convenient times and places are arranged for these battles and each group knows approximately how many will turn up on each side. They have no real interest in the game, just the battle before or after it. They do not care who they injur in the fight, men, women and children can be caught up in the bloodshed unwittingly. I have been walking away from games and seen groups of men charging at the opposition "casuals" and not caring who gets in the way. The whole thing sickens me and it annoys me that these idiots attach themselves to the beautiful game. If they want to fight why don't they find a piece of wasteground and fight there and let the real fans watch the gam
e in piece? Football hooliganism is a problem, but in all reality I feel that the hooligans would find other ways to vent their hatred even if football wasn't around to be blamed!
I'm sick of the constant rhetoric being trotted out about football hooligans and since this has resurfaced follwoing what happened at Cardiff last weekend and at Chelsea last night,I want everyone to shut up and pay attention to this. For a start, people who have never been to a football match and who are serving up strong opinions on changing rules and regs have no valid opinion on the matter. I doubt many of these people have experienced the atmosphere of live football. Here is the difference: The fans who came onto the pitch at the end of the game at Ninian Park and mobbed the players were FANS. The people who came on the pitch at Villa Park on Sunday and carried David Beckham are FANS. Are you people really that stupid? People have been mobbing their idols in public for years and once the match is over who says they don't have a right to do so? They keep the clubs going and considering the amount they have to pay this is some justification for their actions. The HOOLIGANS (in bold letters for the tabloid readers as to appear more threatening) at Cardiff were controlled by a police barrier and this went no further than the usual array of taunts and missiles. But then again, because of the oppressive nature of our media most of you wouldn't have grapsed that. Stop believing everything that you read, see or hear. Experience things first hand and then you'll find the truth. Football is and always has been a working man's game and it's going to attract people from this background. If this offends you, find something where there is less passion, but it's more acceptable to you. Subject closed.
I remember policing my first football match at Millwall and it was one of the most frightening days of my career. All the hate on the fans faces towards me and the away fans will stay with me for along time.In those days and before you would see iron bars and half bricks going over into the away end followed by lumps of pitch and the kitchen sink on a bad day. We would always have the riot gear in the back of the vans with thirty guys on stand bye. There are no days of on Saturday in the English football season in London. Some of my colleges remember the seventies when almost all clubs had an element of young working class lads intent on mayhem after along week’s unemployment or facotry life. He recalls incidents of meter long Stanley knife deep cuts to acid in the face and hands. It’s the purest form of tribalism outside of Northern Ireland the police have to deal with and the most alcohol fuelled. Beer and lack of brains are the main reasons for it these days as the traditional football fan can no longer guarantee getting in on Saturday and will join in the trouble arranged by the firms on the internet and London pubs grapevine. Now a days with CCTV and better policing methods and hand helds we can track any trouble build up and escape route pretty rapidly. Most violence that goes on is arranged on route or between groups of hooligans so they can get their fix of moronic levity. Train stations are popular, as are boozers in the capitol with shopping centers also rendezvous battlefields. It’s not just the running with the gang they like but damage and rampaging add to the prolific buzz to a thug. Hillsborough wasn’t so much about bad policing on the day but a situation, which had been brewing through the eighties at big grounds. Hardcore travelling fans like to get drunk before matches as we saw at Cardiff and get behind the goal mouth to cheer their team along. Leaving it late to get in the ant
iquated grounds and terraces will always cause a squeeze near old-fashioned turnstiles. The Liverpool fans have a reputation for being heavily beered up before matches with a semi final being even more so. The crush resulting in the deaths of ninety people was more about drunks trying to get their usual position regardless of where their ticket positioned them. Most of the lethal pressure was applied from the behind the goal mouth area where the hooligans and the hangers on dwell and sway. The police didn’t set out that day to see if they could chaos and slaughter families. They quite simply lost control of a mob that crowd control safety was the last thing on their mind. I feel I should stick up for the West Yorkshire lads as know one else ever did in clearly what was a tragic situation. Its in lower league grounds like Cardiff away from the affluent Premiership that could be next for a serious incident. Cardiff City have by far the worse reputation in Nationwide lower leagues for violence and intimidation to away fans you kind of expected this. If a mob comes running at you and your family in a modern ground or improved older stadium a crush could easily build up with catastrophic results as we still see around the world. Most of London’s big clubs have priced out the element and the hardcore finds it hard to get new recruits from bankers and celebrities.West Ham made a massive effort to rid their crowds of the mob mentality with only Chelsea really with any serious hooligans of any note here. They tend to be dregs from the old Headhunters who tend to stick to silly Hitler salutes and racist gestures. Millwall are still the worst club by a long way here. Racist comments in crowds in most cases are not meant with malice in my experiences and it’s a away the crowd put players off. Wimbledon fans would have nine black guys out there and they would call the opposition players black so and
sos. All racism is out of order though in my book. It’s like calling Martin Clunes ugly or Paul Daniels a bald loser. What hurts them most!. I don’t think there is anywhere near as much fighting on and around grounds as their used to be with most disaffected fans staying in the pubs or a haze of marijuana smoke or worse on a Saryrday afternoon. The buzz has gone from the grounds for these guys as more and more traditional fans have returned in the new improved game and stadiums. The big games are like days out now for occasional fans as clubs branch out to restaurants, superstores to credit cards. Its becoming like corporate logos like Adidas and Nike as the top brand names take over ordinary peoples lives. The Bowyer and Woodgate case wasn’t a surprise with a lot of those cases going that way. The amount of lawyer’s Leeds put out though and the families trying to push the race angle was always going to count in favor of the players. The jury would have been minded by the judge to be lenient, as there were no witnesses and little evidence of a race attack. But those two do fit the profile in background that are most likely to try and beat up students on a Tuesday night. But it was drunken ruck and no more and I cant imagine this getting to court if it wasn’t involving famous people. Friday and Saturday nights all was throws up five or six on to one with it very rarely getting even to a cool of in the cells to the morning. We don’t have the resources to charge everyone who class someone else a n****r or a p****i on weekends. It doesn’t make it expectable in any way but it’s a fact of life that alcohol builds and executes disproportionate reactions and hate. At football you are dealing with a predominately low gene pool at some grounds with gentlemanly behavior the last thing on their tiny minds. Cardiff reminded us that nationalism the same as hate can
cause nasty situations from booze fueled lads. Getting on national TV chasing the English is as pleasurable to mining and choirs to these guys. Its also clear that the announcers were helping to drum up that situation along with the diddy chairman’s touchline antics that were well out of order. Cardiff should play their next game behind close doors with the lost gate money their penalty for the nonsense and very poor stewarding.
The recent events at Ninian Park between Leeds United and Cardiff City have brought back bad memories of crowd trouble, hooliganism and other troubles that have plagued football in recent times, and something people inside the game have worked so hard to eradicate. It did bring back bad memories, particularly with the slightly tarnished reputation that maybe Cardiff fans had already got. Their new chairman Sam Hammam has also come under heavy fire for his role in the events and there is to be an FA investigation into the events that unfolded. It should have been one of the best cup upsets every, the stuff only found in fairytales. Cardiff City of the second division, only promoted from division three last years versus the might Leeds United top of the Premiership and semis finalists in the European Cup last year. Leeds took an early lead in the 12th minute from their Australian striker Mark Viduka, a sweet shot from the edge of the box, great goal that it was. There was a big mess when Leeds young striker Alan Smith was sent off for use of the elbow on Cardiff defender Andy Legg. It seemed a silly situation, both were pulling on each other’s shirts, and Smiths reputation may have gone some way to help the ref along. Legg has now said that he will defend Smith in the appeal Leeds have made over the dismissal. Cardiff then equalized with a spectacular curving free kick, then only minutes from the end after a scrappy corner Cardiff hit the winner. To be fair it was a great game, Cardiff fought well and deserved the game, the youngster Earnshaw had a great game. However it then turned sour. After the game several thousand delighted Cardiff fans invaded the pitch to celebrate and congratulate the players. Several hundred supporters though baited and taunted the Leeds fans in their corner of the ground. After the game there was crowd trouble outside the ground as police and rival fans clashed, riot police had to clear the pitch afterwards. The C
ardiff Chairman is Sam Hammam was involved in the problems. He is the former Wimbledon chairman, and he seems to have brought the old crazy gang spirit with him. He spent the game parading around the ground, something managers are not allowed to do, and when the winner was scored he was behind the goal when the winner was scored and all this inflamed the Leeds fans. All in all it is a pretty sorry mess, Cardiff are in trouble and face the problems, as are the police who were claimed to be a bit heavy handed. Two things should be considered though. Cardiff has originally tried to get the game switched to the Millennium Stadium, but the FA rejected this. This was turned down because games are only moved if there is a legitimate reason, i.e. for crowd safety. It was rejected because the FA thought that Cardiff were being greedy in that they could have got three or four times the money if they played the game there. If the FA try to hand down too heavy a punishment then Cardiff can throw it back at them saying they tried but they stood in their way. Also the fact that the fans were genuinely happy about pulling off one of the best shocks in the FA Cup, maybe ever. They wanted to show their emotions, and it was only when the police got involved then things turned very sour. That is not to defend the actions of the people in the ground that were out to cause trouble and went to insult the Leeds fans. Also are the Leeds supporters that were outside the ground totally innocent when it came to the clashed. Again not to pin any of the blame or accuse anyone but it should not be taken lightly that this was going to be a clash between Cardiff and Leeds two notoriously tough teams and one that was bound to cause bit of trouble. As for Sam Hammam he claims that he has got a written permission from the FA to do his tour of the ground and he does this every game. Fair dos, it may be a tradition and if he has got permission from the correct people then it should
be ok. But again given the style of the match and the opposition involved it was clearly a very stupid thing to do. Of course it was going to irritate the away fans, and incite the home supporters. Not a good idea, maybe it was another play of his. O’Leary the Leeds boss was not happy with his showing, and I have to agree it was poor of him and inflammatory. There was also talk of an incident with a BBC radio reporter in a clash with Hammam. Again not a good report for him, he seems to have been a naughty boy. Overall there is no doubt that it was a fantastic result and a time for Cardiff fans to celebrate. However things went too far, and the end result was another incident that football could have done without. It was a sorry story; it may end with an expensive result for Cardiff either in a fine or having to play behind closed doors in future. Sam Hammam has gone down in my estimations, he has let football down. He may have big plays for Cardiff and is seen as a very popular there, and no surprise with what he wants to do with the club. Good luck to Cardiff in the next round, in football terms they have made a lot of news, but unfortunately also hitting the news for the wrong reasons.
Hooliganism has got to be the most piontless thing to be associated to football. But it always makes headlines when it occurs. Just recently Cardiff City have made dragged up the subject of Violence in football. The media, organisors and supporters and trying to understand why Cardiff City fans went on the rampage after beating one of the Premierships finest teams. Cardiff City are in the next round of the FA Cup. Nobody seems to care about that fact. Why should they? Nobody wants to see a team with thug followers progress or do well. Just think of a couple of seasons ago when Leeds faced Galatasary in the UEFA Cup Semi-Final in Turkey and two Leeds fans were stabbed, one died later. Nobody wanted the Turkish club to win. Galatasary eventually progressed to the final and played my club, Arsenal. Before that game the Arsenal and Galatasary fans caused trouble. Why? Shouldn't both sets of supporters have been happy that they were in the UEFA Cup final? Instead they thought that they had a point to proved so they tried to kill each other. What point were they trying to prove? It couldn't be that they are the best fans because the best fans support their team week in week out and let the team do the talking. Who's to blame for hooliganism? People say that late kick-offs, poor referee decsions or goal celebrations are to blame or trigger off riots. But these are part and parcel of the game and everyone needs to accept it. In my mind, hooliganism is an excuse to have a punch-up whilst blaming a football match for the reason. Being an hooligan only gives your club a bad reputation and proves that you can organise a massive fight. Why don't hooligans become boxing promters? At least they'll make a few bob and it's legal.
i have been mainly talking about wrestling in these op's so i thought i would write about something else which is dear to m heart MILLWALL i hope you like it PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE SOME STRONG THINGS IN HERE NO SWEARING BUT STRONG NONE THE LESS HOOLIGANS When I tell people that I surpport Millwall fc I am always told the same thing"oh you lot are hooligans and you are racist", and then I sigh and say to myself here we go again as I attempt to put Millwalls point accross only for it to fall on deaf ears. I have had some good debates with a certain reading fan( I will not name him to save him any embarrassment) about the hooligan problem at millwall. I have been going to see millwall religously since 1996 and I have surpported millwall since I was 7 (1985) and I can say hand on heart that I have seen 2 pieces of trouble at the den. 1/ MILLWALL VS MAN CITY There was a tense atmosphere at this game you could cut it with a knife and it takes some thing small to kick off the trouble and it came in the shape of the ref he was appaling and that made both sets of fans pissed off, I was with my little brother and my little cousin and I felt perfectly safe with the children there, there was trouble on the pitch between the players (someone pushed shawsy in the face so shawsy slapped him)there was no fighting in the ground but there was fighting(that is if you can believe what the papers say)outside the ground becouse the police started attacking everyone with batons. 2/MILLWALL VS CARDIFF I dont know why but this was not as intense as the city game and again there was no fighting in the ground(in both games there was a number of fans from millwall,cardiff and city who were arrested for being drunk) there was some fighting out side the ground. The thing is all the hooligans know our reputation and they plan to come and cause trouble for us(at the Man city gam
e one of the blokes trying to start a fight was wearing a Arsenal shirt for god sake. They now that if they go to a high tenson match at Millwall and start fighting then they will get trouble .well we dont want them here ,we never have and we never will if you want to come to Millwall and cheer on the lads then fine come on down but if you come down to cause trouble then sod off because I and every other true millwall fan does not want you there. Sorry to be so blunt but I have become sick and tired of the nazi scum(that is what they are ). If you look in a paper when there is any trouble about football hooliganism it is always Millwall that are mentioned When Steven Lawrence was murdered the people accused of killing him lived next to Charlton Athletic but what team was connected with the case? yep you guessed it Millwall there was no reason for it , it was just lazy cheap journalism and they were wrong Millwall had nothing to do with that case but the papers still brought us up anyway. When the news on BBC Southeast talk about hooliganism the footage they show the most was the game in 1985 when we had a fight in lutons shed(you cant call kennelworth road a ground)I mean come on that footage is nearly 16 years old. Now I know that millwall had a reputation from the 1960 to 1990 but that is what the real fans are trying to forget we dont need people getting cheap digs in all the time . We have kick raceism out of football days alot and they are a great success, you come down the den and you wont see 10,000 meat heads(but there are some weird people) waiting for a fight ,you will see 10,000 mums and dads with their kids and black people and foriegn people we even have some bloody good footballers who are black and foriegn(a part from bowry). We went on a tour of Germany and the English hooligans from the world cup turned up and started rioting for no reason they had nothing to do with Millwall, they di
d not have any tickets, they just wanted to cause trouble, they were in a different town but Millwall got thrown out and we got the blame. What we need is people like that to keep way , I am not saying that this rock around our clubs neck will go away, it may even be there long after I die, but the piont is that we did something to start the ball rolling by admitting that we have a problem now we have to deal with that problem. We need people behind us ,we need the papers to stop taking cheap shots at us (yeah,like that is gonna happen),we need the police to get involved more,we need the public to show support. It may take along time but in the end the true millwall fans will win. Were you at a Millwall away match?did the "fans" cause trouble?(was it all of them?) or were they well behaved? write in and let me know
What have they done to football? The focus of World Cups and European Championships seem to be on hooliganism. Why is it that England fans are the only 'rioters,' the trouble makers that everyone should watch out for? I went to the World cup 98 when I was 17. I never knew what i was in for though. On the eve of the England match my friends and I decided to set off early as to not miss a moment, but we were in for a suprise when we reached the ground. Police officers had cordoned off all of the gates on the east side because 'British' hooligans had been causing trouble and they wanted no riots in teh ground. The site was horrific, there were literally thousands of people shouting and screaming, everyone was outraged. We had all been stereotyped and because of a couple of idiots everyone was missing out. But the thing that struck me most was the amount of small children crying, it was really dis-heartening and i wish the hooligans could see what they had done. There was one little girl aged about 8, she was sitting on the kerb, the white and red paint on her faced was smudged, tears running down her face. I couldn't believe it, it was just the most harsh and cruel site i had seen. Don't get me wrong I like a couple of drinks but there were men falling about everywhere, almost every man aged 20-30 was legless. This is not the point of a football match, sure you can have fun and enjoy it but alcohol doesn't make the experience any better. The only differnce is that if you don't drink you remember what happened the next morning and you are in control. But saying these things the majority of drunken brawls I saw weren't just the 'British lads' fault. It's just a group of people from almost every nation that ruin it for the rest of us. So unless they take their partying to Ibizia or Ayia Napa football abroad for British fans is going to be a nightmare.
Football violence in stadiums declined domestically since the introduction of the Football Spectators Act, and in the 2000s much of the trouble has instead occurred away from grounds and at major international tournaments. At Euro 2000, the England team was threatened with expulsion from the tournament, due to the poor behaviour of the fans. Following good behaviour in Korea-Japan 2002 and Portugal 2004, the English reputation has improved. At the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, there were limited incidences of violence, with over 200 preventative arrests in Stuttgart (with only three people being charged with criminal offences). However, 400 others were taken into preventative custody. During that day, Police believe that on average each rioter consumed or threw 17 litres of alcohol. Despite hooliganism declining domestically, death threats by English hooligans have become more common in the 2000s. Rio Ferdinand was the target of death threats from Leeds United fans, as was Peter Ridsdale. Swedish referee Anders Frisk quit his position after receiving death threats from Chelsea F.C. fans. Reading players Ibrahima Sonko and Stephen Hunt also received death threats from Chelsea fans in 2006.