Football violence & fan violence in general.

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So today during the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley, London (a very significant event in the footballing calendar, for those not familiar with the game) violence erupted within the stadium among supporters of Millwall FC (one of the teams playing there) with police getting heavily involved. It looked pretty bad - upset women and girls crying in some cases, police going in with batons, and a fair share of bloody noses etc. with plenty of grown men involved.

I'm not sure the exact reasons they were fighting, but it probably started with something minor, then escalated given the quantity of people and booze present.

Now seeing this sort of thing is rare these days in football (in the UK at least), but Millwall fans do have a bad reputation for this kind of behaviour - although even for them fighting among themselves is a poor show.

In fact football violence still goes on to some extent - although on a much smaller scale than its heyday - there is still an element of football fans who persist in giving the rest of us a bad name as mindless animals, thugs, hooligans etc.

So, to get to the point, I was wondering what you all think of this, and if there are any other sports where fan violence exists on a notable scale - I for one am not aware of any. If this is the case, then why football? What do you reckon people get from fighting opposing fans? I'd just like to hear any opinions really, as this kind of 'culture' interests me.

I imagine that football violence gives them a form of release from the pressures of life,for some it's probably because their dicks, and others it's a way of showing how passionate they are about the club. Football violence seems to be on the rise in a few countries I remember reading something about football fans fighting in Egypt, and Tottenham fans getting attacked twice in Italy. I've noticed that 'ultra' groups are getting pretty popular, apparently lighting flares and smoke bombs at matches is proof that you are the most dedicated fan, ultra-ism can turn into hooliganism fast.

Certain teams in Baseball and Football (the 'Merica kind) have this kind of reputation as well (Notably the Oakland Raiders and...was it the New York Giants that had a fan almost die due to a fight?).

I've heard that Football used to be a lot worse but an increase of police presence at games have curbed a lot of that behavior.

As to why it happens, it's a mix of booze and extreme frustration. Like a child on the internet, a fan might feel frustrated seeing his team getting it's ass handed to them (and by extension, they have just had their asses handed to them because it's "their" team). Frustrated at their limp manhood and fueled by alcohol, a fan of the opposite team exists and has the audacity to be walking around. That poor opposing fan has just become the symbol of everything that frustrates this fan and the fan lashes out against the symbol.

It's kind of depressing really and I'm glad that the NFL recognized that it can't be tolerated. A LOT more security presence and a stadium-based 911 number (emergency services) have done wonders to curb that kind of behavior.

It still happens outside grounds and some people still go around after matches looking to start fights just like some people do on nights out etc. It's not so much a case of Football being a unruly sport or anything, it's just when something is very popular it tends to attract the kind of people who think this is okay. As a Man City fan I've been to a fair few games and visit a city forum, while not at the ground their tends to end up being violence nearby, or in town later because of the game. It's just bad people really, I've seen a old man be punched to the ground because he told someone to stop throwing unopened beer cans at people. Like I said it's not 'football culture', it's just dickheads exist and Football is a popular game, is badminton was massive it would happen there too.

At least, thats my view on the matter. On the whole England is really good for our lack of violence compared to other countries but like I said with a sport this big it's bound to have some thugs. Millwall does really seem to be a special case though, I guess theirs just a bigger section there who have decided it adopt that 'Millwall fans are brutal' mantra and run with it.

Fan violence exists pretty heavily in baseball. There's tons of riots in the US when certain baseball teams win or lose (either one really gives them a reason to run around flipping cars and burning trashcans). The more notable ones happen in cities that have bars really close to the stadium.

I've never understood the whole mentality but then again, I'm not hugely into sports in general, and I tend to be a pretty calm and relaxed person as a whole. Anyway, if I lived near a baseball stadium I'd make damned sure to stand next to my car with a shotgun any time a major game ended just in case some jackasses decided it would be fun to flip my car over in protest of their team losing.

My impression is that a lot of the fans participate in violence because they like violence. Sports attracts a lot of males with aggression issues, and these people like to fight and get into gangs and feel really "tough" by beating up each other and other spectators.

Fan violence occasionally breaks out during soccer matches in Australia - particularly between Serbians and Croatians (not too many people from Kosovo here, but they get into the mix as well). At the local event level, sometimes the Indigenous and Pacific Islander fans come to blows, but that's not really sports related and more related to other issues.

Part of the established culture of the particular sport unfortunately. Here in Australia during AFL games there's the odd boozy and lately racist fan but incidents are isolated and few and far between. The relatively new soccer competition the A-league, have already had riots and unruly behaviour resulting in stadium damage at a couple of games this season. It's sad to see that hooliganism is a part of soccer culture so soon in Australia

prophecy2514:
The relatively new soccer competition the A-league, have already had riots and unruly behaviour resulting in stadium damage at a couple of games this season. It's sad to see that hooliganism is a part of soccer culture so soon in Australia

That's slightly misinformed.

I've been to countless A-League games, and have seen nothing of the like. If you'd been to an NSL games in the 90's, THEN you would see hooliganism at it's worst.

The worst you'll see at an A-League game these days is a couple of flares. 99% of the crowds are well behaved and respectful towards each other, even in derby games. I've honestly never been do an AFL game, but NRL (rugby league) and AFL fans seem to be way more vitriolic and offensive than anything i've seen in the 7 or so years of the A-League.

If you look at the following video, these guys are the best set of fans of any code in Australian sport, and exactly what sport should be about. 10,000 traveling hours up the coast for an away game, well-behaved, enthusiastic, brilliant.

Going back to the FA Cup violence, ugly scenes to be sure. Not quite sure what sparked it, but it's something the English FA have tried to stamp out unsuccessfully. The reality is though that is you get any large number of people and add alcohol to the mix, you're going to have problems of one form or another.

It's Millwall. Football is just an excuse to be violent for the fans. I mean they weaponized goddamn newspapers:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millwall_brick

Millwall fan here btw. Just go in expecting every match of to devolve into violence and you wont have a problem.

Clearly all sports should be banned, as they encourage people to be violent, just like dem vidyagaems!

Sarcasm aside, it's always annoyed me how it's never seen as an issue such as "Do sports make people violent?" like video games get when someone gets violent over that it becomes a huge thing. That said, I'm not all that into sport.

I think it's great, it adds entertainment to an otherwise boring event. Same reason I was happy to see that batter rush the mound here in America and just beat the crap out of him. Violence makes dull sports fun.

Xan Krieger:
I think it's great, it adds entertainment to an otherwise boring event. Same reason I was happy to see that batter rush the mound here in America and just beat the crap out of him. Violence makes dull sports fun.

I must say, i've always enjoyed a good baseball melee.

Sort of like the people that watch Nascar. You can't tell me they actually enjoy watching cars drive round in ovals for an entire day. They're obviously there to see the crashes.

In my opinion, and I see there are others who think similarly, they're like the people in riot gear who showed up at Occupy protests. Some people will just take any excuse.

So, pretty much every week for either the Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, or Minnesota Vikings.

I don't understand why people care so much about something so pointless.

I don't pay attention to much sports so I doubt my point is moot. But it seems a bit like someone punching someone in the face about

"You don't like Japanese RPGs so I'm going to cut you!"
"How dare you say that Sephiroth is better than Kefka! I'm going to bloody your face!"
"Digimon is better than Pokemon you'd better come at me bro."
Said nobody ever.

kiri2tsubasa:
So, pretty much every week for either the Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, or Minnesota Vikings.

Not sure if serious.....

Oakland sure, but I'm laughing at the inclusion of Detroit and Minnesota on there

It's violent in the UK because it's a sport people there really, really care about. Soccer-football fan violence is pretty much unheard of in the US because relatively few people care about the sport, but there's plenty of fan violence over baseball and handegg-football.

EstrogenicMuscle:
I don't understand why people care so much about something so pointless.

I don't pay attention to much sports so I doubt my point is moot. But it seems a bit like someone punching someone in the face about

"You don't like Japanese RPGs so I'm going to cut you!"
"How dare you say that Sephiroth is better than Kefka! I'm going to bloody your face!"
"Digimon is better than Pokemon you'd better come at me bro."
Said nobody ever.

It's essentially a modern form of tribalism. You get to put on a jersey and watch a game, and everyone cheering for the same team is "on your side," while everyone cheering for the other team is "the enemy." It gets cranked up to 11 for the World Cup, when nationalism comes into the picture. (I've read a few people posit that the World Cup is a release valve for the kinda insane nationalism that led to massive initial public support for WWI.)

Plus the drama of games/seasons allows fans to construct compelling narrative arcs based on them.

Plus alcohol.

bananafishtoday:
It's violent in the UK because it's a sport people there really, really care about.

I don't think it's as simple as that.

Sports fans around the world, regardless of the sport, care about the sport, otherwise they wouldn't be fans, but we don't see this sort of behavior world-wide on a constant basis. England has long been a source of hooliganism in the world game. In the recent past it's died down somewhat, but the scenes shown in the OP (and the scenes after the Newcastle-Sunderland game last night) are a return to the bad old days, where it could be really unsafe to take your children to games.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen in other parts of the world and other sports, but really caring about a sport doesn't seem to be the main reason for it.

Here in Pittsburgh, we have a peculiar pattern about the place.

If we lose a game, there could be shouting and carrying on, destruction of property, and maybe an explosion.

And if we win, there could be shouting and carrying on, destruction of property, and maybe an explosion.

I've often wondered about this contradiction, but I think it may be summed up in Pittsburghers being crazy people.

distortedreality:

bananafishtoday:
It's violent in the UK because it's a sport people there really, really care about.

I don't think it's as simple as that.

Sports fans around the world, regardless of the sport, care about the sport, otherwise they wouldn't be fans, but we don't see this sort of behavior world-wide on a constant basis. England has long been a source of hooliganism in the world game. In the recent past it's died down somewhat, but the scenes shown in the OP (and the scenes after the Newcastle-Sunderland game last night) are a return to the bad old days, where it could be really unsafe to take your children to games.

I'm not saying it doesn't happen in other parts of the world and other sports, but really caring about a sport doesn't seem to be the main reason for it.

Yeah, this is what I was trying to get at.

Admittedly it's not just England, Italy and Eastern Europe have a bad reputation too. Take Rugby for instance (both international and domestic) the fans obviously care, but you very rarely hear of violence on the scale that football fans sometimes perpetrate.

I suppose it could be put down to any number of things; working class 'frustration' - although football is no way near as working class as it was when it rose to prominence in the late 1800s. Maybe the inner city/town location of Football grounds making it hard for fans to be kept separate? I suppose it's also down to numbers. It's the most popular sport in the country, probably in the world. More supporters = more chance of some of those supporters being idiots.

EstrogenicMuscle:
I don't understand why people care so much about something so pointless.

I don't pay attention to much sports so I doubt my point is moot. But it seems a bit like someone punching someone in the face about

"You don't like Japanese RPGs so I'm going to cut you!"
"How dare you say that Sephiroth is better than Kefka! I'm going to bloody your face!"
"Digimon is better than Pokemon you'd better come at me bro."
Said nobody ever.

Well not really. A lot more rides on a sports game for some people, that it does for people arguing about characters in videogames.

Football fans will (usually) support a local team, so their local pride is at stake. Furthermore, they invest a lot of money (in the form of tickets, travel costs) and time (travelling, watching the games sometimes twice a week) in their team, and as such have a pretty big stake in their team, and consequently will support it to the hilt, as being a casual fan is tricky to justify when you spend all that money and time. A lot of them will have done this for years and years, ever since they were a kid old enough to go to a game. They have pretty good reasons to be passionate about their chosen sport. Passion is fine, but it can all too easily spill over to violence.

As someone who flirted with football hooliganism in my teens I feel a bit sorry for fans and viewers on both sides of the fence.

It's apparent that some people forget just how predominant an instinct fighting/anger/rage etc. is, and how tribalism is very much a part of our nature - a nature which contributed significantly to seeing us survive as a race for millions of years. There's far more to it than these people just "being dicks".

Firstly if you're from a broken or dysfunctional home any gang can often provide a welcoming environment, as aspects of security, family, safety and survival are often found there. Spend 30 minutes with a group of "football hooligans" and you'll soon realize that it's all really about just being one of the lads and having a good set of mates/comrades you feel part of.

Secondly, some people are just born fighters. There's plenty of intelligent, charming, creative etc. people out there who push our society on in other ways, but some people's physique, nature and mentality are just wired up for conflict and violence. Thankfully so too as otherwise we'd have been overrun in previous wars, and also have less people to defend our boarders today. However these people are now starting to struggle to fit that nature into modern day society.

For me such violence should actually be allowed, but away from the ground and in an officially organized way as the only day when we'll see it die out is the day when millions of years worth of instinct dies out - which I can't see happening in the space of the next 15-20 years.

Joke's on fans. With the whole thing being on TV in wonderful HD the police will be taking their time identifying who and what they did.

Then they'll never get into a football game again for as long as they live (if they're lucky), I wonder if it'll seem so much fun then. I'm quite surprised the police didn't just go at them with the pepper spray, that would have made an interesting youtube reel.

Millwall fans are usually known for being well... violent and looking for a fight, I think the only reason they kicked off is because Wigan knocked them out of the FA Cup when they were so close to a final. Again, you should look at fan violence in football but in europe, compared to some country's the UK fans kicking off occasionally is miniscule. The most recent one I remember were the Tottenham fans attacked in Italy by Lazio's "Ultras" which ended with one of them being stabbed in the neck, just because they were fans of the opposition...

* sigh * its like people just turn into monkeys when they're in a crowd and around sports. hey, maybe it will stop if we ban Sports because its "ruining society" naawww the US alone blows too much useless money into there precious foodball to think twice about it even if 3,000 fans died because of the ridiculous Monkey violence.

bunch of moneys, go do an activity thats actually intelligent, maybe you'll even evolve a little from the experience? i sure hope you do, you silly monkey

Ashadowpie:
* sigh * its like people just turn into monkeys when they're in a crowd and around sports. hey, maybe it will stop if we ban Sports because its "ruining society" naawww the US alone blows too much useless money into there precious foodball to think twice about it even if 3,000 fans died because of the ridiculous Monkey violence.

bunch of moneys, go do an activity thats actually intelligent, maybe you'll even evolve a little from the experience? i sure hope you do, you silly monkey

The thing is not everyone is intellectual, nor in a position where their lives are fulfilled by other pursuits. To look down on them is to mock the very instinct and frame of mind which helps protects our boarders and way of life on a daily basis, and which helped our race survive for millions of years to reach a civilized state in the first place.

...And stuff like this is why I don't like sports nuts. It's good to be a fan of something, but when you go too far...

Being a West Ham fan (Millwall's bitter rivals for those not in the know) I probably shouldn't be allowed to comment on this, but Millwall do have a lot of shitty fans. They're still the minority, and I'm sure that a lot of their fans are thoroughly decent human beings, but they do have fans who go to games with the mindset of wreaking havoc.

Last year both of the West Ham vs Millwall games had to happen before all other games in the capital to allow for extra police to be about to have it on lockdown, and they had to close some of the stands so that the fans weren't too close to each other. Millwall like fighting.

For films on the subject, try Green Street and Rise of the Footsoldier (both of which are terrible).

The Diabolical Biz:
Being a West Ham fan (Millwall's bitter rivals for those not in the know) I probably shouldn't be allowed to comment on this, but Millwall do have a lot of shitty fans. They're still the minority, and I'm sure that a lot of their fans are thoroughly decent human beings, but they do have fans who go to games with the mindset of wreaking havoc.

Last year both of the West Ham vs Millwall games had to happen before all other games in the capital to allow for extra police to be about to have it on lockdown, and they had to close some of the stands so that the fans weren't too close to each other. Millwall like fighting.

For films on the subject, try Green Street and Rise of the Footsoldier (both of which are terrible).

The story I heard was the fight started between Millwall fans. Some drunk Millwall fan knocked over a guys daughter, her father asked him to apologize. The drunk punched the father, the father punched back, the drunks mates got involved and then the fathers mates got involved. The police and the stewards did nothing for 20 minutes and then went in all batons waving and things went downhill from there.

The only real solution is play watch a manly game like rugby, no crowd trouble there and the only punches thrown are on the pitch.

albino boo:

The Diabolical Biz:
Being a West Ham fan (Millwall's bitter rivals for those not in the know) I probably shouldn't be allowed to comment on this, but Millwall do have a lot of shitty fans. They're still the minority, and I'm sure that a lot of their fans are thoroughly decent human beings, but they do have fans who go to games with the mindset of wreaking havoc.

Last year both of the West Ham vs Millwall games had to happen before all other games in the capital to allow for extra police to be about to have it on lockdown, and they had to close some of the stands so that the fans weren't too close to each other. Millwall like fighting.

For films on the subject, try Green Street and Rise of the Footsoldier (both of which are terrible).

The story I heard was the fight started between Millwall fans. Some drunk Millwall fan knocked over a guys daughter, her father asked him to apologize. The drunk punched the father, the father punched back, the drunks mates got involved and then the fathers mates got involved. The police and the stewards did nothing for 20 minutes and then went in all batons waving and things went downhill from there.

The only real solution is play watch a manly game like rugby, no crowd trouble there and the only punches thrown are on the pitch.

I once heard it said that football is a gentleman's sport watched by hooligans while rugby is a hooligan's sport watched by gentlemen.

I still love football and have little time for rugby, but hey! It always irks me when people say that football is a sport for pussies, though. I read somewhere that football has the most and the worst injuries of any sport, which was pretty galling. Easy to believe though, watch just about any 'horror tackle' reel on youtube and you'll be put off meals for the foreseeable future.

The Diabolical Biz:

albino boo:

The Diabolical Biz:
Being a West Ham fan (Millwall's bitter rivals for those not in the know) I probably shouldn't be allowed to comment on this, but Millwall do have a lot of shitty fans. They're still the minority, and I'm sure that a lot of their fans are thoroughly decent human beings, but they do have fans who go to games with the mindset of wreaking havoc.

Last year both of the West Ham vs Millwall games had to happen before all other games in the capital to allow for extra police to be about to have it on lockdown, and they had to close some of the stands so that the fans weren't too close to each other. Millwall like fighting.

For films on the subject, try Green Street and Rise of the Footsoldier (both of which are terrible).

The story I heard was the fight started between Millwall fans. Some drunk Millwall fan knocked over a guys daughter, her father asked him to apologize. The drunk punched the father, the father punched back, the drunks mates got involved and then the fathers mates got involved. The police and the stewards did nothing for 20 minutes and then went in all batons waving and things went downhill from there.

The only real solution is play watch a manly game like rugby, no crowd trouble there and the only punches thrown are on the pitch.

I once heard it said that football is a gentleman's sport watched by hooligans while rugby is a hooligan's sport watched by gentlemen.

I still love football and have little time for rugby, but hey! It always irks me when people say that football is a sport for pussies, though. I read somewhere that football has the most and the worst injuries of any sport, which was pretty galling. Easy to believe though, watch just about any 'horror tackle' reel on youtube and you'll be put off meals for the foreseeable future.

The perception that football is a "gay" or "pussy" sport, is usually espoused by so-called rugby fans, part timers who only watch internationals on TV and don't even follow a team. At least that's what I've found.

For anyone to say that footballers are pussies just because they aren't built like brick shithouses and don't hurl themselves at one another is a bit silly. They're still pro athletes playing in a very physical sport, and as you said there's lots of room for some pretty grim injuries.

Ashadowpie:
* sigh * its like people just turn into monkeys when they're in a crowd and around sports. hey, maybe it will stop if we ban Sports because its "ruining society" naawww the US alone blows too much useless money into there precious foodball to think twice about it even if 3,000 fans died because of the ridiculous Monkey violence.

bunch of moneys, go do an activity thats actually intelligent, maybe you'll even evolve a little from the experience? i sure hope you do, you silly monkey

This attitude really fucks me off. You don't think you can be intelligent and be a sports fan at the same time? Wow.

It's important to understand that these are the actions of a minority, spoiling it for the vast amount of fans who can go to a game, sing and support their team, and behave themselves. Not every one of the 90,000 or so people under the Wembly roof belong to a "bunch of monkeys" as you so eloquently put it.

Why are people so surprised that there was violence at a football game? I'd be more surprised if it was absent.

The Diabolical Biz:
[quote="albino boo" post="18.405737.16868679"]

I once heard it said that football is a gentleman's sport watched and played by hooligans while rugby is a hooligan's sport played by gentlemen.

This is why. Edited a bit. The kind of fans that football attracts are the kind of people who are more violent. Take cricket, as a contrast. There is no violence at games as the audience is more middle class.

The Diabolical Biz:

I once heard it said that football is a gentleman's sport watched by hooligans while rugby is a hooligan's sport watched by gentlemen.

I still love football and have little time for rugby, but hey! It always irks me when people say that football is a sport for pussies, though. I read somewhere that football has the most and the worst injuries of any sport, which was pretty galling. Easy to believe though, watch just about any 'horror tackle' reel on youtube and you'll be put off meals for the foreseeable future.

I watched the 2010 Scotland v Wales game in which Thom Evan broke his neck and Chris Paterson received a ruptured kidney that required emergency surgery. It an unfortunate fact that a sport when 15-20 stone men are sprinting into each other life changing injuries do occur. I also remember James Hooke dislocating a finger during a tackle running to the sideline getting the finger put back in and then running back to rejoin play. Mr Hookes desire to get on with game contrasts rather well the footballers habit of rolling on the ground for 5 minutes after having their shirt tugged.

this is rugby players day job.

anywhere, anytime, you get large groups of people together supporting a bunch of teams or sides that are engaged in competition of any sort. A select group of people in that demographic will use this as a reason to kick some other people's teeth in.

See internet comment sections on the merrit of one celebirty or the other for a less physical example of this. It's simply because football has huge followings so the percentage that is looking for a reason to get the testosterone out of there system is much larger then for most other sports. Football is also very much a sport off all people. Where other sports, like tennis, are more for the high brow. And allthough that class of people can defenitly be nasty they don't tend to bring baseball bats to the situation.

really I'm pretty sure if curling ever amased droves of avid fans; before long you'd have groups of people shoving brooms up eachothers asses.

On the flip side at the europa cup and the world cup fans tend to be much more civilised because 1 tight security 2 a much higher concentration of dads with children and people in funny hats. Which goes to show, it's not the sport, it's the crowd. And if football where to be banned, they will find another excuse trust me.

I am a fulham fan here, fyi.

Football has a very thuggery past, milwall especially and i can understand why this violence breaks outs. tension, testosterone, adrenaline and a few beers all make this inevitable.

What i cant quite fathom, however is the reasoning behind the newcastle supporter who "punched a horse in the neck" at the weekend over some thatcher rant / march match. not only is the horse bigger, it also has a rozzer on the back sporting rather fetching riot helment and protective goodies, which i am sure he put to good use when in the next picture you see the aforementioned footballist with a bloody nose and handcuffs.

I grew up around Millwall (New Cross Gate) and my dad used to 'run' with these idiots when he was younger. Im proud to say that he had the common sense to stop this stupid shit before he got to deep but its cunts like this who make me depise the area I grew up in. If your willing to hurt someone over something as petty as a fucking football game then I have no sympathy if you get your head smashed in by the police.

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