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Hooligans (England)

Last modified: 2021-01-09 by rob raeside
Keywords: football |
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[Hooligans] image by Pete Loeser, 28 December 2020

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Introduction: Hooligans

The Hooligans are a "firm" - mostly 18-15 year old "lads" intent on causing trouble at football matches. The teams officially disown them, and if they ever waved this flag in a stadium, they would be immediately evicted. Every team has its own firm, and I noticed this flag was generic, so it might be best to give it a page of its own.
Rob Raeside, 28 December 2020

According to the Wikipedia Encyclopedia:

Football hooliganism or soccer hooliganism is disorderly, violent or destructive behaviour perpetrated by spectators at association football events. Football hooliganism normally involves conflict between gangs, in English known as football firms, formed to intimidate and attack supporters of other teams. Other English-language terms commonly used in connection with hooligan firms include "army", "boys", "bods", "casuals", and "crew". Certain clubs have long-standing rivalries with other clubs and hooliganism associated with matches between them is likely to be more severe.

Beginning in at least the 1960s, the United Kingdom gained a reputation worldwide for football hooliganism; the phenomenon was often dubbed the British or English Disease. However, since the 1980s and well into the 1990s the UK government has led a widescale crackdown on football related violence. While football hooliganism has been a growing concern in some continental European countries in recent years, British football fans now tend to have a better reputation abroad. Although reports of British football hooliganism still surface, the instances now tend to occur at pre-arranged locations rather than at the matches themselves. Source: Wikipedia: Football Hooliganism in the United Kingdom.

Fights and vandalism between groups of fanatical team supporters is not a new phenomena. Worldwide it has often occurred during sport competitions, especially those between towns, schools and even countries. For example, King Edward II of England banned football in 1314 fearing the violence might spread. Historically other authorities have from time to time also tried to ban certain sports because of this, but as you can imagine the attempts have been largely ineffective.
I remember one evening years ago chaperoning a group of my students in Madrid. As we walked by a large public fountain at a main intersection we noticed police cars surrounding it. I then saw a group of armed soldiers hidden in some trees above the fountain. I nervously asked our guide if we were walking into revolution or something? He smiled and said "No, they were there to protect the fountain from angry rival football fans after the evening's game."
Anyway, I'd imagine that this flag is being manufactured as a man cave decoration, and hopefully not meant to be publicly displayed to cause violence. In this day and age one never knows.
For example, in August of 2019 during a Portland Timbers soccer game supporters waved a green and gold American Iron Front flag at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. This apparent displaying by the Timbers fans of the AIF flag resulted in a knee jerk banning of the fans from the stadium and has started a dialog about Freedom of Speech, etc. Apparently the controversy spread to the games of the Seattle Sounders, another professional soccer team in nearby Washington State. Apparently there a sign saying "Anti-fascist/Anti-racist/Always Seattle" joined the green flag being displayed in Portland. Sources: American Iron Front Flag Type #4 and American Iron Front Flag Type #6.
Pete Loeser, 28 December 2020