The Dark side
Football hooliganism is unruly and destructive behaviour â€” such as brawls, vandalism and intimidation â€” by association football club fans. Fights between supporters of rival teams may take place before or after football matches at pre-arranged locations away from stadiums, in order to avoid arrests by the police, or they can erupt spontaneously at the stadium or in the surrounding streets. Football hooliganism ranges from shouts and fistfights to riots in which firms clash with bats, bottles, rocks, knives or guns. In some cases, stadium brawls have caused fans to flee in panic; some being killed when fences or walls collapsed. In the most extreme cases, hooligans, police, and bystanders have been killed, and riot police have intervened with tear gas, armoured vehicles and water cannons.
A football firm (also known as a hooligan firm) is a gang formed to fight with supporters of other clubs. Some firms, especially in southern and eastern Europe, have been linked with far right politics or racism, other firms have been associated with leftist politics or anti-racism. The firms' political views are not representative of all supporters of the teams. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the casual subculture transformed the British football hooliganism scene. Instead of wearing working class skinhead-style clothes, which readily identified hooligans to the police, firm members began wearing designer clothes and expensive offhand sportswear.
Football hooliganism has been depicted in films such as: I.D., The Firm, Cass, The Football Factory, and Green Street. There are also many books about hooliganism, such as The Football Factory and Among the Thugs. Some critics argue that these media representations glamorise violence and the hooligan lifestyle.