brfcs5359 Posted November 14, 2009 Share Posted November 14, 2009 For the last few years flying out of the country I have been met with an ever growing stack of prominently placed hooligan books at airport bookstores. One for each club it would almost appear displayed on large POS shelves right at the entrance. Is the average flyer someone whom this genre appeals to? 40 year old blokes settled down but seeking some fantasy adrenaline rush? I must confess I shudder at the number of them, the in your face display and the genre itself. Curiosity gets to me occasionally and I flick through the pile. Is there some ludicrous Rovers one? Who are these people? Photos of packs of skinheads shot outside pubs or against a backdrop of urban dereliction, old brick walls and rusting metal work. Straight away I think that the authors and publishers pictorially are trying to glamorise violence. Or maybe it's a last payday for a scoundrel and a few mates for have little role in society. The alter ego or schizophrenic juxta position to breakthrough football narrative of Nick Hornby. All these books read the same. West Ham, Millwall, the usual away day reference points. The names of The characters blur into one another, mad dog, slasher, the guvnor like a poor mans gangster novel of illicit power driven on a rush of fear. All the books seem the same. They start with me and my mates right.... Being hard means respect to one or two other firms whilst carrying on the testosterone script of coming out top dog. Pre arranged fights, violence with no victims. I wonder how all this one done in the days of paid telephone kiosks? I went to football on the 70s and 80s and it was real. The violence. Not like you read in these character filled books. Some of these people I think to myself would be broken within a week of military service. Football thuggery revolved around cowardice amongst many things. Random individuals who collectively became embroiled because they were at that place at that time. We always avoided trouble. It was easy if you wanted to avoid it. Just be careful. I went to watch England across Europe when the violence was at it's peak. Most of the scroats wrecking Englands good name were drunken louts. People who got caught up in the adrenaline rush. I must confess to coming home and not talking England but talking about the violence like some junkie war correspondent, an attendee of the tabloid hooligan headline-fest. When I was 13 we had a scary time away at Notts County in the cup. About 50 derby hooligans got on our carriage. One of them said, leave them alone they're only kids. Just ruined going to football for me. And I remember the only time we were the victims, Carlisle away. These books are sadistic in their glorification though they all carry moral disclaimers of mutual acceptance of violence, or I know it's wrong now or I have grown up or it's a historic right of passage for young men, a birthright or some other feeble excuse. More recently the genre has stepped onto the big screen where it has been glamorised somewhat. Green Street 1 & 2, Cas, Awaydays. I know there were tv dramas, The Firm before? Having sat through them, and I am not for sensorship, I find them worrying. No more so that horror flicks like Saw though. Should I even watch these (I do not buy the books)? I am encouraging the game I love to be consumed by a dark, unwelcome and uneccesssary past? Hooliganism has gone away. The odd fist fight or the Millwall West Ham standoff is small fry to what went on then. More recently we have had Danny Dyers trip down hooligan memory lane, glamorised violence and celebrity once again attached to the beautiful game. Even at Rovers we have one or two idiots who thrive on this perceived acceptability of hooliganism like some medal of combat deserving of respect, fear if not bar room accolade. Would welcome comments on this. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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