Football hooliganism, the ugly underbelly of the beautiful game.
England currently has the worst record for football violence in the world. No longer acts of random violence dependant on the outcome of a match, but organised crime that occurs regardless of the score.
The Chelsea Head-hunters are London’s most notorious gang for football violence. Their leader, Andy Frain aka ‘Nightmare’, has 30 convictions, including one for slashing a police officer’s throat and has surprisingly only ever served short sentences. Due to witness intimidation serious charges are always dropped and accomplices are arrested, rather than leaders to avoid more trouble.
They have learnt all the tricks to avoid police detection including using foreign travel agents, code words and internal contacts, disguises, never using direct routes and travelling alone when going to matches. Prison has become a rite of passage, a sort of gang initiation rather than a punishment. In a sense they have become above the law and what message is this sending the younger generation? That you can break the law without consequences?
The new generation try to prove themselves to the leaders by excessive drinking and drug use, to get the courage to fight rival fans for respect. In an attempt to put away the ringleaders of football gangs, the own goal trials of the 1980s backfired majorly when it was discovered that the police had fabricated vital evidence and resulted in funding gang activity with the huge compensation pay offs.
Their links to the Neo-Nazi group Combat 18 also makes their influence worrying. Hooligans use offensive banners; throw up the Nazi salute at matches and have even laughed at the horrors that occurred in Auschwitz. Racial abuse and laughing at their victims is normality.
It’s not about football just the adrenalin rush that fighting brings.
Although a lot of the time football hooliganism doesn’t result in death, sometimes anger can get the better of us and make us lose control. Here’s some tips on how to keep a handle on your temper when emotions are high:
Your sports team losing isn’t the only thing that can cause you to overreact, relationship drama has a habit of getting under your skin too. Take a look at this throwback feature for some advice on how to conduct yourself with your partner: