Hooligans Abroad

One of the earliest books on football hooliganism reviewed in Jamming! number 21, October, 1984, by Richard ‘Cool Notes’ Edwards.

Hooligans Abroad: The Behaviour and Control of Emglish Football Fans in Continental Europe by John Williams/Eric Dunning/Patrick Murphy (Routledge and Keegan Paul £8.95)

it seems rather ironic that three sociologists from Leicester University can attempt to solve the sickening problem of violence involving English supporters abroad after the FA, the clubs, the police, the courts, and UEFA have all failed. The authors avoid the usual mistakes of intellectuals trying to study ‘the proles’, by travelling and socializing with the fans, (even to the extent of getting arrested) and keeping the surveys and data to a minimum.
Though the majority of the book is balanced, there is an underlying biased complacency common in this country towards the trouble caused by English supporters aboad. There is also a heavy and sometimes almost naive emphasis on the social background of the offenders (‘The Lower Working Class’), but the authors do well to expose some of the less obvious factors that add to the problem.
Finally, the authors suggest a series of measures that might help prevent future trouble. These include colour coding match tickets for different supporters; only issuing tickets through club or FA travel schemes linked with a photo card membership; greater co-operation with foreign clubs and police forces over travel, ticket allocation, and segregation of fans; and the use of stewards on all trips abroad to supervise fans and report any trouble makers to the travel clubs.
Of course such measures wil have pitfalls, and it is sad that there must be restrictions at all, yet the growing threat of expulsion of English clubs demands that we face up to the problem and solve it. This book cannot provide all the answers but it is a step in the right direction.

Richard Edwards


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