Violence is associated with football from the very beginning of this probably the most popular game in the world. This essay will try look closer at the problem of football hooliganism, show the history of football and football violence, the British government policy and the attitude of media to this issue.
Although games based on kicking the ball are known from ancient Egypt, Greek and also from the Bible root of modern football are in medieval England. In the 13th century, it was a game of young apprentices played with a ball made of inflated pig bladder. The goal was a designated church door. The game itself was usually only a disguise to gather and fight with the rivals whoever it was. These battles were very wild and often ended up in serious injuries or even deaths of the participants. Similar games were known also Europe; in Germany it was Knappen and in Italy (Florence) it was calcio. The industrialisation in the 19th century caused that football was played only in rural areas and in some public schools. Later in the 19th century, the Football Association was established. The Association create rules to football and organised matches. In this form football was brought to the rest of Europe. Late 19th century was also a time when club sponsored by newspapers and magazines emerged. Although there was still lots of violence (in 1909 riot of 6000spectators in Scotland was reported) fighting on the terraces was rare.
1930’s till 1960’s was quite chilled period in which women attendance to football matches increased. The rise of football hooliganism as we know it now was in the 60’s. It was caused by strong patriotism and the new government’s immigration policy. It was also influenced by youth protest movements (Moods, Skinheads…). Football-related violence suddenly highly increased. Football fans became more organised. They were chanting, singing and waving displays and slogans on the terraces. Very popular was “taking ends” (it means force rival fans out of their viewing area and taking their scarves and flags. Fans also organised trips to follow their team to all matches. In this time, huge hooligan movement started in the whole Europe.
In the process of time, football hooliganism changed it’s form. The game itself was not important any more. Hooligans didn’t want to see the match, they only wanted to fight with the police or rivals. They usually didn’t even get to the stadium. Violence was probably just a way of releasing stress for them.
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