Aping the apes – Anglo-Russian hooliganism

“When will it end?” asked the radio moderator. Dead air is a no-no in radio and we’d 10 seconds. “Better to ask where will it end?” I asked.

The onslaught of Anglo-Russian hooliganism had overtaken a planned discussion on what was meant to be a festival of football in France.

This was our Bank Holiday Monday in Russia (June 12th is Russia Day).

 

My entire life I’ve been aware of violent football fans, whether League of Ireland gombeens rowing with Linfield clowns or idiots smashing Derry City buses outside Glasnevin Cemetery.

I saw the mayhem wrought on the Euro’s of 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2012 by English (and other) thugs. In 1986 they misbehaved.

English fans rioted at the 1990 World Cup in Italy, in France ’98 and I witnessed violent behaviour, harassment of women and downright offensive chanting in the streets of Frankfurt in 2006.

Vomited out alongside this the glut of hoolie porn in print and film.

When violence began last week from English fans it was “shameful”, immediately excused due to heavy-handed French policing.

A second outbreak and it was French ultras. When Russian fans arrived on the scene they were blamed.

Then arrived hard-core Russian gobshites, who grew up masturbating in harmony with their English counterparts to Danny Dyer and Cass Pennant.

When a 2013 article in the Guardian reduced the “English Disease” to a mere cold sore, there was more than an odour of head in the sand.

The old style “Firm” grew wise or died out, but there were more than enough sexually and socially inadequate idiots ready to channel their inner Elijah Wood and have it large.

Anglo-Russian hooliganism – anti-patriots

The “Engerland” notion always seems a tad troubling. Instead of being ambassadors for their country, they act like clowns.

The whiff of fallen empire and deep-seated self-loathing wafts across stadia at home and abroad.

Clubs and country suffer the shame of under-educated morons throwing bottles and plastic chairs with gay abandon.

It would be Benny Hill-like were it not so pathetic, all a little too attention-seeking.

The development from feared, inadequate tough guys to loathed, beery lumps came as football pretend gentrified, supposedly.

It’s not without reason that English males continue to be labeled lager louts by their own media and ridiculed by foreign press.

They destroy the wonderful aspects of English society and culture, dragging down the poor Scots and Welsh with them by British association.

We continue to see it in France today.

 

Hooligan culture in Russia didn’t begin with the fall of the wall and rise in hoolie porn from England.

A tradition of inter-village fighting to herald holidays (including Easter) existed long before the USSR.

Organised and seen as a way of letting off steam for men, young and old, it was oppressed by the Soviets.

New outlets for male-on-male action was found in brutality meted out in the Armed Forces, which continues to this day.

Recognition from the homeland of football fan violence was a boon for many idiots here and it only served to increase the numbers of cretins joining the ultra ranks.

Why else did the massive “This is Russia” banner make an appearance? Desperate for relevance not given at home or in their homes, they sought and seek it from their idols in England.

Four years ago in Poland the misbehaviour of a large amount of Russian idiots some lawmakers suggested disbanding the national team.

Fans left a black mark on the tournament having been media darlings in 2008.

Again in 2016 a minority of morons, joined by sheep, shamed the country once more.

The stench of another bunch of underachieving inadequates from an irrelevant ex-empire ruins the cultural gifts bestowed upon the world by their ancestors.

Anglo-Russian hooliganism does a double up on anti-patriotic behaviour.

Anglo-Russian hooliganism – double standards

While the rush to decry Russian “hooligans”, French “ultras” and police papered thinly over the activities of English “fans” by the majority of English-language media, little was done to dig deeper than regurgitate lies and mistruths.

The failure to address heinous behaviour of English thugs for longer than 15 seconds of was not down to the introduction of Johnny Foreigner and his miscreant ways.

It boils down to three points: 24-hour media, revenge for out-bribing FIFA and fear of admitting the truth.

The media cycle moves quickly and happy Irish fans are replaced by masked Russians because not to do so means losing viewers and revenue.

The non-stop stream of bile and hatred from English-led media continues in relation to the rights to host World Cup 2018.

 

It is not for nothing that the constant repeated phrase of “Strip them of the World Cup, we should be hosting it anyway” surfaces with each Russian misstep.

Crimea votes to return to Russia – strip them! Corrupt US businessman tells his piteous tale of Russian corruption – strip them!

Russian fans abuse a player of colour – strip them! Russian fans fight with English fans – strip them! English fans chant about the IRA, German Bombers, ISIL and Arabs – str-….oh, wrong ones. It’s okay, the French provoked them.

Just as bench seating provoked them in Lansdowne Road in 1995. Putin likes taking his top off – strip them!

There are almost as many Englishmen crying “Strip” than heard in Latvian and Lithuanian “Gentlemen Clubs” of a weekend’s sex-tourism.

While their bribes failed to win FIFA EXCO hearts in 2010, they are willing to use every opportunity to give them a chance to end 52 years of hurt.

Plus by having an external foe it means not addressing the misbehaviour of very stout yeomen.

Russian media and some in positions of power are likewise idiotic – unable to differentiate between sport and Jeremy Kyle, they degrade sport.

In a Moscow studio where daily are trundled out sob stories or shock guests, they had shocking guests who reflected on the Slovak defeat.

The presenter asked the commentator in Lille about English fans being guilty of invading the Russian section, he answered: “It’s the opposite, ours invaded theirs.”

A collagen and botox enhanced studio guest erupted with “Are you not supporting Russia. You should support Russia.”

Stupidity normally consigned to the Daily Mail or Life News infected mainstream sports coverage.

Lack of Leadership

Back in the heyday of British hooliganism the establishment labeled the disaffected involved as scum.

We witnessed at Heysel and Hillsborough that it was not a given to return home after a match as unsafe stadia, careless policing and official indifference helped hooligan culture fester.

Hillsborough forced football clubs to review infrastructure and ways to turn fans into customers.

Fans became walking ATM’s and it’s continued apace.

The second Greatest League in the World was born and football went mainstream.

Hoolie porn became spank bank material for a new breed of idiot who didn’t need to fight in the streets, they’d Playstation at home and a nice plastic seat to grumble about sitting on.

Within the ranks of football fans in England, former hooligans wised up and became men.

Many are involved with clubs and help keep young lads in line and focus on their club image.

Clubs are brands, businesses and this is where the Anglo-Russian hooliganism diverges.

 

As I elaborated in my end of season report and many other articles, fans are still at 1980s level of understanding here.

Russian authorities fear large gatherings and most clubs don’t bother engaging their fans.

With it being more profitable to have empty stadia, not to mention less hassle, is there any reason why Russian football clubs do not invest in fan bases and communities?

This has allowed the pathetic minority to bring fear into Russian football and the gift of Anglo-Russian hooliganism is flowering.

A lack of leadership at Union level allowed nasty elements to gain positions of power.

When the self-appointed leader of the Russian Fans Federation is a product of Anglo-Russian hooliganism there is no future.

As pointed out in this article, it’s not just fans who are getting a raw deal. Russian football is a mess and we’re only a year away from FIFA’s Confederations Cup.

Blame Game

The traditional “whataboutery” game is in flying form from English media.

Russian sports media were a little more objective and were not prepared to excuse anti-social behaviour from any side.

Increasingly embattled and feeling isolated, Russian society is closer in mentality to the prevailing “Leave” constituency in the Brexit referendum.

Invasions by hordes of swarthy foreigners, failing social welfare systems and corrupt elite – both are seen as legitimate concerns in England and Russia.

 

While dubious elements of media in Russia wish to lay the blame elsewhere, they genuinely lack an understanding of Russian sport and football.

Clubs shy away from doing more than the cosmetic to develop fan bases and harness the power of potential support.

English media and authorities can continue to have exceedingly short memories of fan violence, Russia cannot.

There will not be war on the streets in 2017 or 2018, though the domestic game will continue to die a death from mismanagement and lack of planning.

Anglo-Russian hooliganism has not killed the game in Russia, yet, but unless clubs and the Unions address the problem in conjunction with the Kremlin, the future of Russian football is very bleak for at least a generation.

Author Details

Alan Moore
Alan Moore

A Russia-based Sports Journalist and Consultant, worked with major sports clubs including:- Spartak Moscow, Hajduk Split, Eintracht Frankfurt. Boxed Internationally, played semi-pro football and I worked full-time in sports management/consultancy from 2003-13.

First published professionally on football in 1990, first Russian league match in 1991, now hosting Capital Sports on Capital FM, Moscow and writing the odd article.

Leave a Reply