Why does football attract violent losers?

May 17, 2008 9:35am CST
I'm not talking about all football fans, it's a minority - but it's a big enough minority to cause trouble when a really large number of fans are concentrated in one place. I have in mind the events in Manchester this Wednesday just gone, when Glasgow Rangers played against Zenit St Petersburg. There's a report here: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1049714_battle_of_piccadilly The short version of the story is that over 100,000 Glasgow Rangers fans arrived in Manchester and camped out in the city centre. Most of them didn't have tickets to the game, but the City Council still encouraged them to come by setting up special "fan zones" where big screen TVs were set up and beer was readily available. The results were predictable - Manchester city centre ground to a halt, sanitation facilities seem to have been basic to say the least, and even if there hadn't been any violence, the cleanup operation the next day would have been an appalling job to have to do. Fortunately I didn't have any business in town, but from the news reports the streets resembled an open sewer. But of course there was violence. The big screen TV in Piccadilly Gardens broke down and for some of these fans that was all the trigger that was needed to go on the rampage. Cars were overturned, a copper was attacked by a mob of thugs and a Russian fan was stabbed in the vicinity of the City of Manchester Stadium. It's a wonder no-one was killed. The leader of the council appeared on TV the next day acting all shocked, but he had no reason to be. His council had encouraged those guys to be there - people always say that it's a minority who cause the trouble, but it's a minority that's always there. You gather 100,000+ football fans in one place and get them beered up, and there will be trouble, as sure as night follows day. Why is that? Why football in particular? No other sport that I'm aware of attracts violence on this kind of level.
4 people like this
5 responses
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
18 May 08
I would have to say it has something to do with national/local pride. Football to Europeans, is like our Football to us American. When you local or national team comes onto the feild it fell like your pride is at stake. Why someone would kill someone else over a sport I do not understand? Oh by the way I hope Manchester Untied beats Chelsea Wednesday.
1 person likes this
21 May 08
As far as I know, you don't have these kind of problems surrounding baseball and American football, though, do you?
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
22 May 08
I was comparing the passion between Europeans sport fans, and American fans for own local teams. We do have fight that break out over here, but not like in Europe.
1 person likes this
24 May 08
It seems to be a cultural problem over here.
24 May 08
I have been to a few football matches and I must say there have been times when it has been quite scary. Fans abuse each other and even the footballers abuse the fans, which gets them even more riled. The chants and tribalism add to the violent culture of the game, especially when there are two rival teams playing like Arsenal and Tottenham. I must say I get quite irate when I watch a game as the adrenaline is pumping, but the thought of going out and bashing someone is beyond me. As you say, most fans are there just for the game, but it does also attract those who are just into violence and use the game as an excuse. These fans do not even watch the game they are just there to cause trouble. In the UK it has got better, it seems other European countries still have very violent fans that are associated with the far right. I have just watched Hull City win the play-offs, lets hope all the fans leave peacefully!!!
1 person likes this
25 May 08
Thanks for replying. Football as a game I have no problem with, but as you say the surrounding culture can be a bit tribal. Especially in parts of Scotland where some teams are apparently associated with religious sectarianism. At least we don't get the same level of problems as we had in the 70s.
• Canada
17 May 08
I think that all sports have the potential to attract violent losers. Where there is COMPETITION there will always be a winner and a loser. Unfortunately some people take their competitions way too seriously. As for myself, I tend to stay away from competition alltogether.
1 person likes this
18 May 08
It seems to be a problem surrounding football, though, at least in Europe. As far as I know, cricket, baseball, American football etc don't attract these types, let alone shooting, archery or any other sport I can think of. Maybe it's to do with the amount of ritual and tribalism that seems to be built into the football culture?
• United States
25 May 08
I've often wondered the same thing. It seems to be the one sport where people aren't expected to act like civilized human beings. I'm not sure what the answer is to getting them to act proper! It gives the decent fans a bad name.
1 person likes this
25 May 08
Football attracts losers bcoz it itself is a loser's game.