Origin of football violence:

  • · Football has been associated with violence in England ever since its beginnings in the 13th century
  • · Term “football hooliganism” first came up in the early 1960s (created by the media)

=> “the English Disease”

What is “Football Hooliganism”?

  • · Etymology: Clarence Rock’s book, “Hooligan Nights” in 1899 claimed that the word came from Patrick Hooligan, an Irish bouncer and thief who lived in London
  • · Seen by most as violence and/ or disorder involving football fans.
  • · 2 specific “types” of disorder that have been labeled “ hooliganism”
  • a)spontaneous and usually low level disorder caused by fans at or around football matches
b) deliberate and intentional violence involving organized gangs (or ‘firms’) who attach themselves to football clubs and fight firms from other clubs


  • · Difficult to speculate on what makes a person become involved in football-related violence
  • · Impossible to claim that all “football hooligans” are of a certain gender, age or class
  • · Not a single phenomenon => not a single cause
  • · In terms of organized violence between hooligan gangs a feeling of community, tribalism and enjoyment of being involved in football disorder is obviously in evidence
  • · Social class is a significant factor
  • · In the past a common cause for hooliganism was alcohol but nowadays no professional club allows any kind of alcohol to be sold at the stadium or in a radius of a several hundred meters
  • · City rivalries (derbies)

Development of football hooliganism and main tragedies:

  • · 1880-1914,crowd disturbances were a regular occurrence at matches

· Most of the disorder during this period was directed towards officials and players

  • · 1960s, levels of disorder and public concern about hooligans rose sharply
  • · The hooligan gang became the primary source of delinquent activities at and around football matches
  • · New form of hooliganism today => more reliant on fights between fans of opposing teams that occur before, during and after matches both outside and inside the stadia
  • · 70s& 80s, football hooliganism reaches its peak
  • · 1985, 56 people were killed by a fire in the ground of the stadium in Bradford
  • · May 1985, 39 Juventus fans were crushed to death during the European Cup Final between Liverpool and Juventus at Heysel Stadium in Brussels (Heysel Stadium disaster)

· => English teams banned from all European competitions until 1990, with Liverpool banned for an additional year.

Solutions to football hooliganism:

  • · Introduction of CCTV ( closed- circuit television) (used to observe matches from a central control room)
  • · Stewarding
  • · All-seater stadiums
  • · Greater co-operation between clubs, police and the media in helping find and prosecute hooligans
  • · Restrictions on alcohol and control of ticket sales for away games where trouble is likely