Saturday, 12 May 2007

You're Gonna Get Your F*****g Heads Kicked In

I want to talk to you about an important subject. Football hooliganism.

It is a topic that surfaces on a fairly regular basis, one way or another. There is so much that can be said about it and so many different angles to explore. One of the things that strikes you fairly immediately when you start to look at the issue though, is how difficult it can be to differentiate between fact and fiction, actual and myth.

For example, one 'myth' that I believe is around is that football violence is a fairly modern phenomenon. Yet in a report by SIRC (Social Issues Research Centre) they state that there as been an association between football and violence since its beginnings in the 13th century in England:

"Medieval football matches involved hundreds of players, and were essentially pitched battles between the young men of rival villages and towns – often used as opportunities to settle old feuds, personal arguments and land disputes."

SIRC go on to say that the 20th century was probably the most violence free, particularly during the period between the two world wars and the decade after the second world war. It was only in the 1960s that behaviour associated with modern football hooliganism, such as pitch invasions and riots emerged, linked to the televising of matches.

Another myth is that football hooliganism is a British disease. Since the 1970s, however, there have been numerous incidents on the continent. Some would say this is due to copycat behaviour, others that as in Britain it is a reclaiming of the game.

The 'profile' of a typical hooligan, apparently, is male, late teens/early 20s (although leaders are sometimes older) and working class. This is fairly uncontentious in that it can be evidenced. Where it gets more complicated is when people try to analyse and identify why such behaviours exist. Sociologists emphasise issues of working class masculinity. Psycologists focus upon arousal . Feminists say you can't consider football violence in isolation from other forms of violence.

I guess what you choose to believe will depend upon how you make sense of the world. Read here for more detail on these different perspectives. Or if you want to make up your own mind about this whole subject by some close observation of actual behaviours, watch this and this and this. It's not for the faint hearted though!

Possibly the most striking things about football violence is that it is an almost exclusively male activity, despite women making up about 12% of football crowds. Which makes you wonder what would happen if a similar phenomenon appeared in the world of women. Perhaps shopping?


Anonymous said...

Hmmm......girls apeing boys there's an interesting sociological phennomenon.
It's a good post the video although a bit rough

Georgina Best said...

Who are you calling rough?