English football hooligans, potentially the most hated yet misunderstood group of people on the entire planet. Whether it be an international or club tournament, you can be sure that any fixture with an English team will bring some sort of hooliganism, yet I am going to try and explain why they aren’t as bad as the media portrays.
Personally, I feel as though they are very misunderstood, and are just trying to make their country proud in their own way.
Major international tournaments such as the World Cup and Euros always seem to bring out the most extreme of hooligans, with English football fans flooding the foreign streets in an attempt to support their country in their own way.
The 2018 Russian World Cup is a fantastic example of an event that caused unhealthy amounts of hooliganism, with one fan coming out and begging England fans to boycott the entire competition after being brutally attacked and left for dead by Russian fans in 2016
Stewart Gray, an England super-fan came out and said:
“The Russians treat matches like a military operation, like a war, not a game.”
“For your own safety don’t go or you may end up getting assaulted like me. Not one of my friends or family will be going.”
“Don’t put your lives in their hands. Don’t go to the tournament. Watch it on TV at home or in pub. It’s much safer.” (Via The Sun)
As you can probably imagine, English football fans found these comments nonsensical, and flooded to the Russian streets none-the-less.
Personally, I think that I also would have also gone to Russia anyway, as if I had already purchased my tickets, I wasn’t just going to cancel them because of some headlines? I completely understand this decision and do not feel as though they were acting reckless by attending the occasion.
The sheer number of British fans that turned up was clearly very overwhelming for Russian authorities, and this caused stampedes of English hooligans to be roaming the streets, causing nationwide panic.
Now the average Russian probably imagined a British hooligan to be a fat white male necking cans of lager as they walked down the road shouting the national anthem, and to be honest they’re really not that far away. But this doesn’t really depict that of a dangerously violent individual, so why was everybody so scared of them?
Media outlets should be held heavily accountable for the social stigma that surrounds the entire lifestyle, with their portrayal of this specific group of people only highlighting the negatives of the lifestyle, rather than giving a fair depiction of the overall way of life. Although I agree that most of the hooligans offers nothing more than violent criminality, some of them are genuine normal people who are just seeking a rush of adrenaline, and I feel as though they deserve a chance to prove they aren’t all just the violent criminals the media paints them out to be.
You will find that many British hooligans will struggle with a below-par family life, which will be one of the reasons they convert to the hooligan conduct. A football hooligan group offers troubled teens an opportunity to feel loved, with the tight bond formed between the group replicating that of a family.
Toxic masculinity– a set of attitudes and ways of behaving stereo-typically associated with or expected of men, regarded as having a negative impact on men and on society as a whole.
Toxic masculinity and the nature vs nurture debate are great talking points for this topic, with the hooligan bracket seeming to be a specific group of people that fall into the “nurture” group. With British hooligans wanting to come across as aggressive as possible, it proves they are attempting to follow the “cultural narrative of men”, yet they fail to understand that they are to blame for causing the societal phenomenon that not only effects how hooligans are seen, but the male gender as a whole.
The average hooligan probably just wants to feel accepted, and the country’s failure to understand the culture means that the hooligan lifestyle will only continue to annoy the vast majority of citizens until we realise what they are really “fighting” for.
The 2004 Danny Dyer movie “The Football Factory “ is one of the few media products that offers a fair depiction of this lifestyle, and has obviously influenced some people to adapt to this lifestyle, meaning that now, the average male could take part in harmless hooligan acts in an attempt to recreate that of what they saw when watching the movie.
The Danny Dyer movie certainly allowed people from every background to gain an understanding of the hooligan culture, with the film offering a fair depiction of the overall lifestyle, and also making people feel emotionally connected to the on-screen characters by using saddening story-lines in an attempt to humanize hooligans, and make people understand that they are in-fact normal humans like the rest of us who are just seeking an adrenaline rush.
You may be asking yourself “Why can’t they just take drugs or something if they are so deprived of an adrenaline rush?” And the answer is simple, to hooligans, football is the drug they can’t live without.
Football is their life.