Football Hooliganism - Essay Example

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The word "hooligan" which the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines as a "tough and aggressive or violent youth"entered the British lexicon only in the 19th century, but its presence has been felt ever since, especially in the realm of soccer…
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Football Hooliganism
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"Football Hooliganism"

Download file to see previous pages ..... it is a sure-fire sign that the hooligan element is present and that their senseless fury is about to be unleashed"( Chaudhary, 2002).
Though hooliganism in football originated in Britain, it is today by no means isolated to the UK, and is in fact a major source of concern and much sociological and psychological research across Europe and other nations. It is today an accepted fact that hooliganism has had its presence in various countries across the last century, a fact which has been systematically established with concrete evidence:
By now, most students of sports violence recognise the spurious nature of the claim that soccer hooliganism is a "British disease".....In content analyses of media Williams et al. (1984) unearthed over 70 reports of spectator disorder at soccer matches in 30 different countries in which English fans were not involved between 1904 and 1983.(Coakley, Dunning, 2000)
The exact date of origin of this phenomenon in soccer cannot be easily ascertained . It came to the notice of the public and government authorities in the sixties, but in fact the first recorded instances of football hooliganism hark back to a much earlier date. " During a match in 1846 in Derby the riot act was read and two troops of dragoons called in to deal with a disorderly crowd, whilst pitch invasions became increasingly common from the 1880's onwards"( Pearson, 2001). Indeed, violence has always been associated with a majority of sporting activity, and more specifically with soccer, which is "in both the pejorative and non-pejorative sense, an intrinsically aggressive event which sanctions some violence in attempts to win, and retain, possession of the ball". (Bonny, Giulianotti, Hepworth, 1994)

But it was during the Swinging Sixties that football became more of a fashion than a sport, a part of youth culture, and developed a relationship with fashion, style, image and even music. This was in part because football clubs became more organised, the limits to a footballer's weekly earnings were abolished, and last, but not the least, the hosting of the 1966 World Cup finals in UK, which got widespread media coverage. Also important was the establishment of fan followings for different football clubs, and the concepts of "ends" in the stadia, which the supporters of the home and away group respectively marked as their territory, and the defence of which became paramount, attaining almost a cult status. "The most important feature of contemporary hooliganism is the taking and holding of 'ends'. Away supporters, especially those from clubs with 'hooligan' reputations, try to drive home supporters from their traditional end"( Holt, 1992). In this decade, male youth gradually became a community on its own, distinct from the patriarchal concepts of family and society, and football became a mode of independent expression.
There are manifest continuities between the rites of violence in contemporary Britain and earlier periods. But the specific forms of hooliganism are new; football crowds were not segregated by age before the 1960s; youth did not congregate around parts of football clubs as their territory--they had a larger territory and community which they shared with their older male relatives. ( Holt,1992)
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