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Monday 7 June 2004

Antisocial sports fans [muz]

In an attempt to further procrastinate in the face of my impending exams, I've been perusing BBC News for anything of interest.

One thing that caught my eye was the fact that today alone there have been not one, not two, not three, but FOUR stories regarding measures being taken against fans considered to be 'hooligans'. More specifically, these are English football fans. Barring one incident in Turkey, I am hard pressed to think of any other incident of football related violence on the part of another nation's fans.

Even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that this phenomenon appears only to occur in relation to football. A search for 'rugby hooligans' returned two results from BBC News; 'cricket hooligans' but one. Comparatively, there were two hundred and sixty seven stories returned for a search on 'football hooligans'.

Now, while I'm sure the majority of EED would most likely use said evidence as yet more corroboration of the self-evident truth that football sucks piss, I find myself curious as to what the football fans that read this collective stream-of-consciousness site think. (Stop laughing, there must be some.)

I honestly can think of no logial explanation. While the lack of violence at cricket matches is perhaps unsurprising, rugby is ostensibly a much more violent sport than football, and yet there is almost no violence associated with the support of one's team. Indeed, at the Army Navy game this year, where you might think the fans would be more prone towards violence than normal, I observed no malicious intent, only good-spirited camaraderie and an enjoyment of the game. Perhaps this is the ultimate proof of the old adage:

'Football is a gentlemen's game played by thugs, while rugby is a thugs' game played by gentlemen.'


  1. Muz the Turks and Greeks are pretty heavy duty when it comes to football violence. Perhaps not at national level, but certainly club level.


  2. Even the Americans have a decent attitude to sport. You watch an NBA basketball game and you'll see the crowd sitting a few feet from the court, players falling into them every now and then and rival fans sat next to each other, cheering for their own teams but resisting the urge to smack their neighbour in the face.

    Football is a simple game, played by simple people and slavishly followed by people with no sense or appreciation.


  3. The reason is that football is played by Men, and rugger is played by Pansies.But slightly more seriously - football 'culture' has always had an air of violence about the supporters, I can remember being 5 years old and feeling it. It's the same reason that fights get started at nightclubs, but far less often at country clubs - the culture surrounding the attraction is filled with people more predisposed to violence. Frankly I like the passion.


  4. Ans. Dunno who you are, but your brain cell melted. To take actions of a tiny percentage of a sports following, then tar the entire fanbase with that brush is idiotic at best. You don't work at the Star do you?


  5. Some evidence would be good Skeeve.


  6. Shedir: I said it was slavishly followed by people, which it is. I didn't imply that the entire fanbase was like that. You seem to have issues with intepretation and placing your own spin and emphasis on words to suit your means. You don't work at the Mail do you?


  7. It's a game that attracts animals at the end of the day.


  8. Ahhh, the summer months, a looming football tournament... and a traditional "some football fans like a fight, so all football fans are lesser beings than saintly rugger/cricket fans: discuss" blog. Clan, I doff my cap at your predictability.

    I'm kidding though really. I forever renounce any association I might have had with football. I absolutely relenquish, requit and reneg any endorsing statements I might have had about the sport. Football is pursuit for lower mammals and should be condemned as such - I'll stake my PhD on it!


  9. I'd fucking well pay good money to see a proper brawl at a cricket match. I really would. I'd laugh my fucking cock off :)


  10. Most of the trouble at club football matches occurs outside and are very little anything to do with football, but to do with a bunch of pissed up idiots who have previously decided they want a fight. It is normally pre-arranged, certainly organised, and the people arrested are normally the 'followers' rather than the 'instigators'.

    As for Muz's ascertation that it's only England football fans that cause trouble abroad, that's absolute crap. Germany, Turkey, Holland & Greece all have very scary fans, with regular trouble.

    Again though, it's very little to do with football. It's just people who want to have a fight.

    I know quite a few reformed football hoolies - some of them are fascinating to talk to and find out what drove them to do it. Football was just the excuse used for two groups of people from different cities wanting to see who was the hardest. Very sad, but at least they don't do it now.


  11. There are actually numerous occasions when other nations fans perpetrate violence upon each other, they just don't get screaming tabloid headlines in the english press - parochial, us? Surely not. Two examples off the top of my head - italian fans this season forced the Rome derby to be abandoned half way though then staged a major riot outside the ground and a policeman was battered into a coma by a mob of German fans not so long ago. They have actually taken the metal cages they have to put some german fans in down because they don't comply with FIFA safety regulations for the next world cup. Why do you suppose they put them up in the first place? Or the fact that not one single english fan was arrested for any form of violent behaviour in the last world cup? I'm not going to suggest that the summers events will go so swimmingly - I'm not so naive and the fact that UEFA have decided to sell 30,000 match tickets to whoever wants them over the internet after the english!FA spent a lot of time and effort setting up a membership scheme where they could root out troublemakers won't help either - but the situation is more complex than your comments suggest.

    England football matches have attracted a very unsavoury element for some years. Strangely this is much MUCH worse in London for some reason - I heard some stuff and saw some things attending England games at Wembley I haven't seen the like of anywhere else. I am absolutely at a loss to explain why this is, given London is a more diverse place than almost anywhere else in the UK.

    It is my belief that these idiots need a stanard to hang their bile and prejudice on and that football is a very convenient pole. It's something virtually every country is involved in and virtually every town in the UK has a team, so it's the ideal 'candidate' to attach your bigotry and tribalism to. The fact that these people exist depresses me and the fact that they attach themselves to a sport I enjoy for no valid reason sickens me more.

    I can only ask this - are the idiots who get whalloped and start fights in Faliraki and where have you every summer doing it because they're football fans? No, they're doing to because they are morons who think getting shedded then fighting is a reasonable thing to do. The problem with England football games is it gives them all an excuse to be in the same place at the same time, which means that instead of a small group of idiots you have several hundred and that turns a disturbance into a riot. I wouldn't bat an eyelid if we refused to let them back in after their adventures and left them all to starve on the ferryport quayside. Better off out of the gene pool if you ask me.But that's not the whole of English football fans, any more than all muslims are terrorists or all scotsmen are skinflints. It's just an easy pigeonhole to put people in that makes for a nice headline in the more lazy parts of the press. Why examine the whole story when you could have a nice 'English football scum' headline in 72 point helvetica eh?

    As to brawls at cricket matches, I think that young west indian fella may cross that rubicon quite soon. However, brawls between batsmen seems pointless given all the protection they wear...

    As to it being a chav game - I thought they all followed american sports? Basketball shirts and baseball caps seem to be part of the uniform..


  12. Oh please...


  13. American Sports: Is it because the country is too big and therefore too expensive for gangs of travelling nutters to meet up for a barney? Rival fans sitting next to each other is usually because they maybe from the travelling city but live in the visiting city. Shitting on your doorstep?

    Cricket: If cricket was the national spectator sport the headlines would be the same. Anytime something kicked off at a crown green bowling match, it would be blamed on cricket hooligans. I was at the cricket yesterday and today, and there was the same nutter element as you'd get at a football match. If anything had kicked off, again, the headlines would be 'football thugs ruin test'.

    cricket 2: No-one attends county games, so the chances of confrontation are slim, and national games are always against Commanwealth teams a billion miles away, so again, hardly any travelling fans.

    cricket 3: The long day of drinking at cricket make it almost impossible to get into a fighting state, we started drinking at 11am yesterday and the day finished at 7.45pm, I was incapable of nothing other than breathing... heavily.

    footie: who doesn't get a thrill jolt when two teams are squaring up. The best feeling in sport... bring on the Christains!


  14. Wearing decent clobber and looking the part does not make all of us hoolies. Many of us (especially @ SWFC) wear smart gear and are classed as hoolies. This is bull. We may be handy & dealt with idiots when called upon, but we do not go looking for trouble as portrayed in the press. Of course some boys do and that is their choice. The top lads are up for plenty of ale, a crack and a victory while decking themselves out in top designer clothing. PC Plod take note that sticking cameras in our faces is action which aggravates non-hoolies who may dress like hoolies!!! take bradford as an e.g.


  15. So um, 'smart gear' is gold chains, big-brand 'designer' (Eg. Philipino sweatshop) sportswear presumably? Might be smart to you and your chums but it looks distinctly low-rent cattle-class stuff to me. But hey, it's hardly a problem as I wont be in your boozer and you wont be in mine. Just as well for us obviously - quaking in our boots, as we are, at the prospect of the crowd that's 'handy and dealt with idiots when called upon'. If only I had your testosterone, then I took could zone out and claim the chav-class victory of never having to think at all. But yes really, it's the CAMERAS that make you behave like neanderthals. You were perfectly well behaved before someone thought to gather evidence.