Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Funny Old Game

It's all rather tribal this football violence and a surprise to see Millwall and West Ham involved in some serious "old school" violence. I don't really get the mentality behind it, they have an organised scrap but will be "together" to do battle for En-ger-land at the next big tournament. I suppose their reputations are now enhanced and one or other would move up the unofficial "we are the hardest" supporters list.

I must say that I've policed football for many years and find the majority of "risk" supporters to be a load of dickheads and full of shite. What does concern me is that they've moved on from scrapping to actually stabbing each other. As with events in April poor old plod is again in the line faced with a mob, who this time were not too bothered who they fought with.

Millwall would be in my experience the fans I least like to police. They visited my area a few years back and it was an experience to say the least. They were horrible, aggressive and revelled in their reputation. I looked at the stand and saw three generations of the same family replicated time and time again, Dad Son and Grandson all looking menacing with their cropped haircuts. I was in the line stopping a pitch invasion and they were well up for it flicking spit at us and working themselves up to come over the top.

We were led by a great sergeant who made it very clear that if they dared to come over the hoardings they would get the necessary treatment it deserved. It sort of clicked that he meant it, so they boldly stated they'd do it outside instead. We then stood there as they decanted up the stand to start some serious disorder outside. Once they're running loose it's rather hard to contain them, so they have to be penned in at all costs. At least they tend not to moan about it afterwards.

As I understand it on these Carling Cup games the away fans get a larger allocation of tickets then a normal league match which boosts the attendance. This will make operational control a damn sight harder from the outset, so the solution is obvious even if it affects gate receipts. All this talk of lifetime bans won't stop it, a few maximum sentences perhaps will.


Anonymous said...

It's all the group mentality. Some people do things in a group that they would never do one-to-one. It's a combination of bravado and "in a crowd nobody can see who is doing what".

It is utterly contemptible, but as you say very worrying if weapons are being used as well as the usual fists.

Dandelion said...

I can't help wondering what those type of families do the rest of the time.

I've also got to say that likening the G20 protesters et al. to violent marauding football hooligans as you implicitly do here is quite inappropriate, wrong and stupid. Of course a bunch of peaceful public-spirited hippies are going to complain about being treated like knife-wielding criminal violence-mongers. Containment of peaceful protesters is unwarranted and unproportionate, as the Met have now admitted. Hooligans don't protest at being contained because they know they're in the wrong. It's not rocket science.

Dandelion said...

ps I wonder what psychological training and qualifications SC has?

If he finds human nature contemptible, perhaps he shouldn't be in the police.

Perhaps he should apply his cod-psychology to the group mentality of a crowd of police officers...

Stressed Out Cop said...


Indeed mob rule and bravado - when supported by large numbers

Dandelion - Comparing the two is I think appropriate. I saw the same behaviour at G20 with some there loving the violence and confrontation amongst the demonstrators - mainly very well spoken youths. I wondered what their families did.

Wrecking RBS was not a peaceful protest, it was planned with the crowd pushing for that until it broke through.

I made my views clear on the camp at the time - the mass action and camp were different situations.

I've seen sticks flying in footage from yesterday and no media melee.

I see your point re us - the police re the climate camp clearance .. red mist etc and no doubt a few on the blue side enjoyed that too.

There's a perverted macho excitement from these disorders - and I admit to having been in football crowds as a supporter and on the blue side when it's kicked off. The feeling was the same and as I said tribal. It's all rather silly AND it's middle aged blokes over 40 who are worst.

Anonymous said...

SOC I am confused by Dandelion's comment *about* me that she didn't feel able to address *to* me. I feel like nothing I can say will prevent me from bringing the police service into disrepute by airing my "cod-psychology" online.

Keep up the good blog, I shall be still be here, but just keeping my comments to myself.

Personally I see nothing wrong in branding a group of thugs who pre-arrange violent riots "contemptible" but then hey, what do I know?

Stressed Out Cop said...


All are welcome to comment here.

Debate takes in differing views where we can respond and not react like on other boards. We don't have to agree.

Your views count as much as the next person so don't keep them to yourself, that's why we blog - SOC

Anonymous said...


Those type of families most likely abuse each other and their women folk, small children and animals when they're not at a football/fight game


Vetnurse said...

Dandylion as far as l am concerned if people are decent and law abiding then they should avoid places like g20 that are going to kick off as history shows.

As has been said very often peaceful people get the blood lust from being in a group and do things they wouldn't do normally. So back to comment on quit being wannabes and avoid hotspots.

And when the police try to do their job then stop complaining you are there because you were stupid enough to go there.

Anonymous said...

I worked the match and four things stood out.
1) Why did we get kitted up in PPE after an hour and not from the start like the TSG?
2) Both set of fans did not have the usual crowd demographics about them!
3)the look of sheer terror I saw on a girl aged about seven when her father hurridly ushered out of the stadium when it started looking nasty!!
4)This hasn't been mentioned enough both sets of fans were hell bent on violence and had pre determined plans to carry it out!
i look forward to see how the courts deal with them when the perpretrators are brought before them!
Dandelion there is a comparison to be draw between the fans and G20 both events had people hell bent on braking the law and committing acts of violence. The difference was that the football fans did not hide behind a peacefull crowd!

Dandelion said...

What if you're decent, peaceful and law-abiding, but still wish to exercise your democratic right to protest?

Vetnurse said...

Write letters, do a blog, speak out, do something eyecatching and call the media to record it. On the last you would l bet make a better impact doing it that way than joining in the demonstration and being a sheep in a flock.

If a sign says do not walk on the railway line because you may get electrocuted and you walk on those lines as it is your democratic right whose fault is it you were killed.

By the same token if you go to a place you know there is a high degree of chance of violence do not cry when you get hurt.

MarkUK said...

Vetnurse, I think you're being a bit hard on Dandy.

If the police treated the whole football crowd the way they treated the whole group of protestors at the G20, would that be right?

In both cases you had a large crowd, most of whom were going about their lawful business - peaceful protest in one instance and watching football in the other.

In both cases there was a small but significant minority hell-bent on violence.

You say "don't cry when you are hurt" to people who demonstrate peacefully, simply because they put themselves in a place where some people acted in a criminal manner. Would you say the same thing if an innocent football fan got belted by the police simply because he was in the same crowd as a load of thugs?

SoCal said...

I guess the problem is with the mob. When someone joins a group (sports team fans, protesters, whatever) they are somewhat responsible for the group's behavior. Not legally liable, of course, but still responsible. So if the group has some members that act out, then the group as a whole gets moved out of the area, etc.

Realistically, the police (or whoever) cannot wait and just find the couple of troublemakers and take them out, leaving everyone else to their own devices. a) it won't work. crowds can turn ugly fast. It's a universal fact of humanity, no matter where in the world you are. Group psychology can be absolutely frightening. b) it's impractical. If I were an evil hooligan/protester/whatever, and the police had a policy of only dealing with individuals, I'd set a few individuals out to make some mischief. Once they had the police occupied, I'd launch the real assault (or whatever.)

Julie said...

Does peaceful protest include the right to disrupte the lives of others, set up a climate camp on a main road, invade private property for a publicity stunt and others stunts that went on at G20 that stopped short fof serious criminal offences? In Britian we have a more liberal attitude to protest than any other country why else do we get invaded by foreign anarchists who take advantage of our lieral squatting laws aswell!!

MarkUK said...

Julie, are you for real? You say "In Britian we have a more liberal attitude to protest than any other country".

That's why a young woman, on her own, gets arrested for reading out the names of British war dead (in Iraq) at the Cenotaph?

We used to have a very liberal attitude to protest, but that died somewhere in the early '80s and has been well & truly buried over the last 12 years.

Vetnurse said...

Sorry not had much time to get here and reply in the last couple of days.

Mark my feelings on football is it is one thing that should be banned. If any and l mean ANY other "sport" and l use the term loosely had caused as much death and injury and that's just to the fans, add destruction of property and on a separate note cost the taxpayer it would have been stopped. I realise that is not the attitude to take after all football is a religion (or so it seems)

I stand by my words in other postings and Julia also makes sense.
Look at how police respond in other country's to riots.
It is accepted that if you step out of line outside of the uk you will be dealt with, or it seems like that maybe it isn't?

The woman who was arrested l do not know about or the circumstances and think that is disgraceful however the discussion here is about groups and violence.

I forgot to add. The amount of police it takes to keep control that pulls them away from the jobs they are trying to do in their own areas and le
aves people vulnerable. It would be interesting to see if problems go up in other areas of the country when mass protests/football type games etc are held

Stressed Out Cop said...

To all

Really interesting thread developed here. Thanks for contributing.

From the policing side of the line and that's where I stand most of the time, things have changed somewhat in recent years.

All football fans used to be treated as scum - and held back to be escorted by police and dogs. It was the small minority of troublemakers who caused this to happen. I've been there myself in Green Street years ago and been escorted to the station.

Quite rightly we now concentrate on the firms, who are relatively small and can be controlled if we are quick on the ground. A big turn out of "risk" however can catch us out.

So perhaps the same should happen with other protests. The militant left and anarchists caused the VIOLENT trouble at G20 and the rest present were tarred with the same brush.

I think we can all cope with a peaceful protest, even with a few naughty stunts (which the blue side are amused by). It's harmless protest with minimal disruption locally. The line stops at violence and then it needs to be dealt with. Of course when it kicks with a crowd of thousands we will never have the numbers to control it. That's why the cordons will stay.

The police have lessons to learn from G20 - in relation to the camp break up - but the peaceful protesters need to throw out the anarchists and militant left who hide amongst the crowd, and have access to the camps.It can only harm their cause.

I believe this has started to happen in Blackheath.

Tom said...

My dad took me to a football match when I was about 11 years old. It was at the 'Bridge' and I was a serious 'blues' fan, simply because I liked the colour.

Years later, when taking my lad to see a footy match we were herded by police on horses, the dog teams (aka land sharks) and solemn faced officers, wholly against the pleasure I had enjoyed as a youngster.

I know, and have read of less than sociable interractions between fans going back to the 1950's but the sheer menace of that day, in which shop windows were put through and families fled from the area was again a very unpleasant memory I thought I had put to bed many years ago.

Mostly, I found a majority of my fellow supporters, pretty decent guys, however the fringe element dictated how the day would end, and that was generally in tears.

A shame, but that is the norm these days..