• Help Support The Rugby Forum :

Soccer fan violence

RoosTah

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,193
Country Flag

Australia

Club or Nation

Sydney

I thought I'd post something here about a growing infection in Australia: soccer violence.

A lot of you guys are European, so I thought I'd probe a little about the phenomenon, given that you are all much more acquainted with it.

For years as I grew up in Australia soccer was just an obscure European/South American game generally only played by more lightly built kids with overprotective mothers. It was generally not taken all that seriously, bar a few European immigrants and the aforementioned lightly built kids.

However, over the past decade Australia has had a national soccer comp (The A-League) played through the summer. It has suffered its fair share of set-backs due to mismanagement, but is steadily keeping its head above water. The interesting thing about the comp though, is that as it has become more established, instances of organised fan violence have begun to occur. One such event occurred over the weekend between fans of two clubs with almost zero history (Western Sydney are in their second season).

This is very peculiar for Australia as a country. No other fan base in any football code here have ever been involved in incidents like this, and Australia is a country with 4 fully professional football codes.

It therefore seems to me that there is something intrinsically malign about soccer that generates this sort of anti-social, volatile and thuggish behaviour. It's clearly not socio-economic (Rugby League is FAR more working class than soccer in Aus) and its not purely ethnic (there are a lot of European immigrant fans of the A-League, but then there's plenty in the AFL too). I remember reading an article by a Welsh journalist who noted a similar split between the nature of soccer and Rugby fans in Wales. She pointed out that in Wales both Rugby and Soccer are working class games, but that it was only the Welsh soccer fans that exhibited this sort of thuggish, unruly and desperately volatile identity seeking tribal behaviour. She put it down to the fact that soccer is so eviscerated of violence on the field and so constrained in its rule structure, that it provided a recipe pent up frustration.

That answer seems like it has something to it, but it's not completely satisfying.

What do you guys think? Why is it that wherever there is soccer there is a significant element of anti-social thuggery?
 

smartcooky

Referee Coach and Advisor
TRF Legend
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
5,703
Country Flag

New Zealand

Club or Nation

Tasman

IMO, its a case of copy cat behaviour or monkey see - monkey do if you like...Its the same thing that leads to soccer players taking a dive if an opponent so much as touches them. They see other players do it, and successfully, so they do it too.

(Just as an aside, I notice that this feigning injury to get a penalty is beginning to rear its ugly head in rugby as well, especially in France, so I hope the iRB stands on it big time. Any player caught feigning/simulating needs to have the disciplinary system smash them down with an effing big hammer, followed by a long suspension.)
 

RoosTah

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,193
Country Flag

Australia

Club or Nation

Sydney

Perhaps that's part of it, but then why doesn't it infect other football codes? You'd think you'd have seen this sort of copy-cat behaviour before the A-League was started in some other football codes here, but there never was.
 

Draggs

Hall of Fame
Joined
May 28, 2010
Messages
10,369
Is there an issue in AFL? I only barely follow it so not sure how fans are. Except Collingwood fans, we all know what they are like.
 

RoosTah

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,193
Country Flag

Australia

Club or Nation

Sydney

Is there an issue in AFL? I only barely follow it so not sure how fans are. Except Collingwood fans, we all know what they are like.

Nothing like the thuggery on display this weekend between the Wanderers and the Victory (seriously, who comes up with these dumbass names?).. You get the odd stoush between a couple of idiots at an AFL match, but there isn't the type of organised herd violence you see in the A-League. Nothing like it in the NRL or Super Rugby either. Nor the cricket for that matter. Just soccer. Always, just soccer.
 

smartcooky

Referee Coach and Advisor
TRF Legend
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
5,703
Country Flag

New Zealand

Club or Nation

Tasman

Nothing like the thuggery on display this weekend between the Wanderers and the Victory (seriously, who comes up with these dumbass names?).. You get the odd stoush between a couple of idiots at an AFL match, but there isn't the type of organised herd violence you see in the A-League. Nothing like it in the NRL or Super Rugby either. Nor the cricket for that matter. Just soccer. Always, just soccer.

Maybe the imported Football hooligans bring their violence with them. In Britain, football violence is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, largely due to the realisation by policing authorities that sticking several hundred policemen in a stadium simply makes them target and encourages confrontation. These days most EPL matches are played with only a few policemen present inside the stadium. Matches usually finish without any arrests (the average is way less than one per match over the whole season.

Have a read of this article about the soccer hooliganism of the 1980's. Its worth the 10 minutes or so to read all of it.

http://au.askmen.com/sports/fanatic/football-hooligans.html

NOTE: Actually, we should be careful to distinguish between football "fans" and football "hooligans". True football supporters would not normally have a bar of the violence, but Football Hooligans were a different matter. They simply used Football as a vehicle for their violence. Many of them were organised groups (known as "Firms"), and in many cases, such as the Bushwhackers (Millwall) and the Headhunters (Chelsea) they actually stayed in touch with each other so that they could pre-arrange rumbles!!
 

RoosTah

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,193
Country Flag

Australia

Club or Nation

Sydney

Maybe the imported Football hooligans bring their violence with them. In Britain, football violence is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, largely due to the realisation by policing authorities that sticking several hundred policemen in a stadium simply makes them target and encourages confrontation. These days most EPL matches are played with only a few policemen present inside the stadium. Matches usually finish without any arrests (the average is way less than one per match over the whole season.

Have a read of this article about the soccer hooliganism of the 1980's. Its worth the 10 minutes or so to read all of it.

http://au.askmen.com/sports/fanatic/football-hooligans.html

NOTE: Actually, we should be careful to distinguish between football "fans" and football "hooligans". True football supporters would not normally have a bar of the violence, but Football Hooligans were a different matter. They simply used Football as a vehicle for their violence. Many of them were organised groups (known as "Firms"), and in many cases, such as the Bushwhackers (Millwall) and the Headhunters (Chelsea) they actually stayed in touch with each other so that they could pre-arrange rumbles!!

Interesting little read. I still find it curious that the firms and hooligan culture surfaced at all though, considering the same never happened in the NFL in the US, AFL or NRL in Aus, nor Rugby in places like NZ or Wales (where it is a game for everyone).

To be honest, I wonder some times if the low action nature of the games (0-0 and 1-1 score lines every other match mean that you can get away with not paying much attention to the game) allows for the different nature of soccer fans and their high relative tendency to be volatile.

The case of Britain certainly is an interesting one, but it still fails to adequately explain why these conditions never arose to similar support cultures amongst the fraternities of the world's many other football codes.
 

ratsapprentice

Hall of Fame
TRF Legend
Joined
Jan 25, 2013
Messages
12,094
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

England

I'd agree that there probably is a fair bit of "monkey see..." involved; a lot of people get involved with the sport because of it's tribalism.
But also that the nature of the sport itself doesn't help, it's the sport with the most chanting and singing during the matches.
Due to it being quite a ponderous sport there is a lot of time during the matches for fans to focus on their dislike of the opposition rather than watch the game.

I went to a school that played Rugby primarily and didn't have any football teams.
Although there were a few inter-house competitions and people played the game for fun in the summer.
I did find that most (not all) of the people who were really into football and played it as often as possible were pricks TBH.

So in my experience football fans (people who regularly go to games and play on the weekend) are largely dicks.
I'm defining a "fan" as above, because I live in NW London, so pretty much everyone likes football.

TL-DR - When was the last time you heard a football fan say "Good game, the better team won" after their team lost?
 
Last edited:

Tallshort

International
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
6,443
Country Flag

Yugoslavia

Club or Nation

Nottingham

Its a form of tribalism, at its least dangerous its a couple of drunken chavs arguing over a refereeing decision at its most dangerous its a very organised and brutal game in which 2 different sets of supporters will try and get one over on the other. its largely a thing of the past in Britain but if you go to any game the tension is always close to the surface, there is real hatred among certain sets of fans which is rarely challenged by pundits and ex players.

The real problem areas are places like Italy where groups know as Ultras form the hard core of fans and its their job to attack opposition teams Ultras whenever the chance arises. Also Eastern Europe, in places like Poland they have 30 on 30 clashes between rival fans.

Why does football attract it? Dont know really perhaps because certain types of behavior that are excepted at Football games are not at other sports games and this draws a certain type of individual to a game. But its not a culture I particularly like or feel a part of.
 

Tallshort

International
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
6,443
Country Flag

Yugoslavia

Club or Nation

Nottingham

Maybe the imported Football hooligans bring their violence with them. In Britain, football violence is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, largely due to the realisation by policing authorities that sticking several hundred policemen in a stadium simply makes them target and encourages confrontation. These days most EPL matches are played with only a few policemen present inside the stadium. Matches usually finish without any arrests (the average is way less than one per match over the whole season.

Have a read of this article about the soccer hooliganism of the 1980's. Its worth the 10 minutes or so to read all of it.

http://au.askmen.com/sports/fanatic/football-hooligans.html

NOTE: Actually, we should be careful to distinguish between football "fans" and football "hooligans". True football supporters would not normally have a bar of the violence, but Football Hooligans were a different matter. They simply used Football as a vehicle for their violence. Many of them were organised groups (known as "Firms"), and in many cases, such as the Bushwhackers (Millwall) and the Headhunters (Chelsea) they actually stayed in touch with each other so that they could pre-arrange rumbles!!

That article is hilarious! Maggie was responsible for lots of things but not for hooliganism. She was the one Prime Minister that cracked down it after Hysel.
 

Saints1

Straight Edge
Joined
Nov 9, 2005
Messages
2,579
Country Flag

England

Club or Nation

St Helens

I've been to well over 250 football matches in my life and I have never seen an ounce of trouble.
 

Jaguares

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
Sep 14, 2012
Messages
4,975
Country Flag

Argentina

Club or Nation

Argentina

I'm from South America, the fans here are more violent world football.

I think that is the main feature of football, is a game that prohibits hard knocks is prohibited hit hard but it is a contact sport, so players and fans are always on the edge of the knock but never materializes. So they tend to "complete" the violence that lacks the sport.

In rugby is completely different, you can knock your opponent within the laws, then after the game, you have no need to fight. I've fought a lot during the game, so when the game ends, you can only shake hands with your opponent and have a beer with him.

The main problem is that football fans are proud of their culture. "THEY ARE THE MOST VIOLENT SUPPORTERS" and it makes them feel more powerful, stronger. But that's something cowardly, bravery you must show in the field.


Football supporters are brave off the field, in crowd. But when they have to go to a rugby field, they can't. It's too hard for them, they are cowards. Rugby supporters are brave where it matters, on the field, off the field have to be a knight.

I'd agree that there probably is a fair bit of "monkey see..." involved;
a lot of people get involved with the sport because of it's tribalism.
But also that the nature of the sport itself doesn't help, it's the sport with the most chanting and singing during the matches.
Due to it being quite a ponderous sport there is a lot of time during the matches for fans to focus on their dislike of the opposition rather than watch the game.

I went to a school that played Rugby primarily and didn't have any football teams.
Although there were a few inter-house competitions and people played the game for fun in the summer.
I did find that most (not all) of the people who were really into football and played it as often as possible were pricks TBH.

So in my experience football fans (people who regularly go to games and play on the weekend) are largely dicks.
I'm defining a "fan" as above, because I live in NW London, so pretty much everyone likes football.

TL-DR - When was the last time you heard a football fan say "Good game, the better team won" after their team lost?


Then, in NW London are football supporters. In what part of London are the rugby supporters?
 
Last edited:

RoosTah

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,193
Country Flag

Australia

Club or Nation

Sydney

I'd agree that there probably is a fair bit of "monkey see..." involved; a lot of people get involved with the sport because of it's tribalism.
But also that the nature of the sport itself doesn't help, it's the sport with the most chanting and singing during the matches.
Due to it being quite a ponderous sport there is a lot of time during the matches for fans to focus on their dislike of the opposition rather than watch the game.

TL-DR - When was the last time you heard a football fan say "Good game, the better team won" after their team lost?

To be fair, in Australia I've seen fairly even handed soccer fans cop it when their team is outplayed. But then in Sydney soccer is weird split between a lot of newly arrived immigrants and middle class white people with pretensions of cultural sophistication (these people rank as some of the most irritating sports fans in existence - they think that following "the world game" is like having a well stamped passport and speaking several languages).

But yeah, I do think it's part of the culture that surrounds the sport that causes the thuggish behaviour that has no parallel elsewhere. The papers here make the point that with these so called "active" fan areas of angry young men, they spend half the match with their back turned to the game, just jumping up and down and making a lot of noise.

To me it looks like an angry political rally, and that's what these supporters seem to have conflated following their team with; they see it as a movement. The kicker is that its a movement with no history and no point. What it basically says then, is that these are shallow and empty young men, with no real identity or purpose in their lives, so they just cling to anything that comes along.

I've been to well over 250 football matches in my life and I have never seen an ounce of trouble.

Dan, you know that's not the point. I'm sure there are plenty of people in your boat, but what I'm talking about is the overall trend here. It's a lot rarer in England now, but it still happens there, and it still happens throughout Europe, and now it's happening in Australia. We've never had the sort of anti-social mob intimidation in any of our other sports (all of which require a lot more guts to play on the field than soccer), so the question is why it's suddenly happening with soccer.

To me it seems that it must therefore be something about soccer itself. Perhaps there is an element of imitation going on, and perhaps a lot of these guys are all still a little insecure about following a game that only considered fit for "****, girls and poofs" until recently in Australia, but the game is undoubtedly the common factor.
 

Tallshort

International
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
6,443
Country Flag

Yugoslavia

Club or Nation

Nottingham

I'm from South America, the fans here are more violent world football.

I think that is the main feature of football, is a game that prohibits hard knocks is prohibited hit hard but it is a contact sport, so players and fans are always on the edge of the knock but never materializes. So they tend to "complete" the violence that lacks the sport.

In rugby is completely different, you can knock your opponent within the laws, then after the game, you have no need to fight. I've fought a lot during the game, so when the game ends, you can only shake hands with your opponent and have a beer with him.

The main problem is that football fans are proud of their culture. "THEY ARE THE MOST VIOLENT SUPPORTERS" and it makes them feel more powerful, stronger. But that's something cowardly, bravery you must show in the field.


Football supporters are brave off the field, in crowd. But when they have to go to a rugby field, they can't. It's too hard for them, they are cowards. Rugby supporters are brave where it matters, on the field, off the field have to be a knight.



Then, in NW London are football supporters. In what part of London are the rugby supporters?

This!

I used to work with a bloke who claimed to be one of the top boys in the Nottingham Forest firm, we got talking once and he said he had tried rugby but got punched in the first scrum and walked off the pitch. Fueled with stella and in a mob wendyball fans are so tough but individually they are soft as Sh**.
 

Le Frére Alpha

Fat Boi
TRF Legend
Joined
Dec 3, 2010
Messages
16,614
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leinster

This thread inspired me to go and watch green street, if that is in any way an accurate representation of a football firm they are the most pathetic things I've ever witnessed! I honestly hate football culture. I don't see many authentic fans around, I only know one lad who supports his local team and then every other football "fan" I know supports Man U or Cheese etc... I don't get the point and I don't understand how someone could have the same love and Passion for a team like I do for Leinster for a foreign team that they have no connections with, it's a pathetic glory hunter attitude and you see it in the immature gloating after matches! I think this might have something to do with it, people fight after their multi million pound businesses play each other, they don't care too much about the result because they don't see the making of the team bar the newspaper articles stating X has signed for Y million pounds. In an attempt to show they're part of the club they fight.

The difference with a proper rugby supporter is that we hear of the new prospects coming through, we might know them or know of them before they are signed, most teams, outside France, are made from predominantly homegrown players and there is a sense of community following them. It's the difference between supporting lads who went to the same schools as you who grew up within 20 minutes of you, you feel part of that, supporting 11 European and South American imports who cost the club millions doesn't make you feel part of anything so you set up a little "firm" and fight after matches to make yourself feel like part of the team.


Or maybe I'm looking way too far into it but that's why I couldn't support a football team despite enjoying the sport. :D
 

Tallshort

International
TRF Legend
TRF Supporter
Joined
Jul 15, 2011
Messages
6,443
Country Flag

Yugoslavia

Club or Nation

Nottingham

I dont really enjoy the sport....
 

RoosTah

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,193
Country Flag

Australia

Club or Nation

Sydney

This thread inspired me to go and watch green street, if that is in any way an accurate representation of a football firm they are the most pathetic things I've ever witnessed! I honestly hate football culture. I don't see many authentic fans around, I only know one lad who supports his local team and then every other football "fan" I know supports Man U or Cheese etc... I don't get the point and I don't understand how someone could have the same love and Passion for a team like I do for Leinster for a foreign team that they have no connections with, it's a pathetic glory hunter attitude and you see it in the immature gloating after matches! I think this might have something to do with it, people fight after their multi million pound businesses play each other, they don't care too much about the result because they don't see the making of the team bar the newspaper articles stating X has signed for Y million pounds. In an attempt to show they're part of the club they fight.

This is another thing that really ****** me off about Aussie soccer fans. The ones who aren't out and out thugs, are just pretentious d----bages who like following some EPL team almost for fashion purposes. It's seriously pathetic how many of these middle class white people say they're big "Man U" fans are something. They're generally people who don't particularly like sport, but think that being a fan of some team of overpaid mercenaries from all four corners of the world representing a region they know nothing about and have never visited.

It's not that I have anything against middle class white people - I am one :p - but these are the type of pretentious middle class white people who like to pretend that they're more cultured and sophisticated than your average joe, purely because they watch the highlights of the EPL on FoxSports once a month. What annoys me about that is that they're exhibiting a serious cultural cringe about their own country without even realising it; Australia isn't a soccer nation and it's as simple as that. It's like they're embarrassed that we should have sporting tastes that are genuinely unique, rather than just buying into the same homogenous boredom that much of Europe, Asia and South America obsess themselves with.
 
Last edited:

Draggs

Hall of Fame
Joined
May 28, 2010
Messages
10,369
This is another thing that really ****** me off about Aussie soccer fans. The ones who aren't out and out thugs, are just pretentious d----bages who like following some EPL team almost for fashion purposes. It's seriously pathetic how many of these middle class white people say they're big "Man U" fans are something. They're generally people who don't particularly like sport, but think that being a fan of some team of overpaid mercenaries from all four corners of the world representing a region they know nothing about and have never visited.

It's not that I have anything against middle class white people - I am one :p - but these are the type of pretentious middle class white people who like to pretend that they're more cultured and sophisticated than your average joe, purely because they watch the highlights of the EPL on FoxSports once a month. What annoys me about that is that they're exhibiting a serious cultural cringe about their own country without even realising it; Australia isn't a soccer nation and it's as simple as that. It's like they're embarrassed that we should have sporting tastes that are genuinely unique, rather than just buying into the same homogenous boredom that much of Europe, Asia and South America obsess themselves with.

That's pretty harsh in some respects mate. I live in a place where all the sports I watch are unpopular, and it isn't to be some pretentious d-bag (I have other ways of being that), but what I find interesting. I won't claim to be a huge football fanatic, but I like to watch it when I can and try to follow it as best as I can after life and rugby. I've never been to Australia but enjoy watching AFL, not to be cool or unique, but because it is a bloody entertaining sport (unless you follow St. Kilda's...).

Everybody here watches gridiron and hockey, so I need something entertaining to watch.
 

RoosTah

First XV
TRF Legend
Joined
May 22, 2004
Messages
2,193
Country Flag

Australia

Club or Nation

Sydney

That's pretty harsh in some respects mate. I live in a place where all the sports I watch are unpopular, and it isn't to be some pretentious d-bag (I have other ways of being that), but what I find interesting. I won't claim to be a huge football fanatic, but I like to watch it when I can and try to follow it as best as I can after life and rugby. I've never been to Australia but enjoy watching AFL, not to be cool or unique, but because it is a bloody entertaining sport (unless you follow St. Kilda's...).

Everybody here watches gridiron and hockey, so I need something entertaining to watch.

To be honest, Rugby is about as niche in Australia as soccer in some respects. The difference between rugby fans and soccer fans though is that rugby fans don't arrogantly demand ownership of the word "football" (another massive pet peeve of mine - they all get ****** when you call it soccer and act like you have no right to use the word "football" to refer to any sport other than soccer) and they don't act like their support of Rugby makes them worldly or sophisticated. There's a kind of wanky disingenuous counter-culture to soccer here that just irritates me. It's all incredibly affected and shallow.

As I said, kids of european immigrants are not in this bracket, but the white middle class kids are. The problem with the european kids is that they're often the ones responsible for the violence; they act like they're trying to be closer to their antecedence or something by acting like anti-social [email protected]##tards because SBS World News has been running footage of Ukrainian soccer fans trying to bash eachother. Again, I'm not free from this either - my mother is Swedish and all that side of the family only really watch soccer (and a bit of ice hockey), but it's never really appealed to me.
 
Last edited:

SimonG

Academy Player
Joined
Feb 14, 2014
Messages
439
Country Flag

Ireland

Club or Nation

Leinster

Nothing like the thuggery on display this weekend between the Wanderers and the Victory (seriously, who comes up with these dumbass names?).. You get the odd stoush between a couple of idiots at an AFL match, but there isn't the type of organised herd violence you see in the A-League. Nothing like it in the NRL or Super Rugby either. Nor the cricket for that matter. Just soccer. Always, just soccer.

Obviously not cricket, a more genteel game I've never seen. Grounds are usually well over half empty so the only crowd problem would be a lack of one. Games last almost a week, and has many really old folks (is it the members that they are called?) in attendance.

Regards football, I would say the main reason is working class passion. As a sport it tends to generate fierce rivalry and people take it so seriously (far more than other sports). To use an extreme example, in Kenya there have been two deaths cently (a Liverpool fan was taking the mickey out of an Arsenal fan after losing 5-1..so he shot him). The songs (95,000 Aussie Liverpool fans singing You'll Never Walk Alone), the chanting, the atmosphere (sometimes flares)...you don't get that in other sports.

Rugby league is a parochial game and doesn't have the same tradition of passionate rivalry. The AFL I could well imagine there being a few skirmishes among fans, but again, it's a parochial game.

Similar to cricket, Rugby union is a middle class British colonial game without intense rivalry and folk are very well mannered (silence for opposition kicks, clapping everyone off etc etc.). I've been to Twickenham once and I was astounded by the silence...no atmosphere.
 
Last edited:
Top