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Football ''Hooliganism'', Policing and the War on the ''English Disease'' Hardcover – 11 Oct 2007


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Pennant Books Ltd (11 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906015058
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906015053
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 369,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. DRURY on 25 Mar 2008
Format: Hardcover
This powerful book presents the hidden story of English football `hooliganism'. This account differs from the plethora of hooligan autobiographies currently on the market, however, in two important ways. First, it is not an account of personal `glory', but the backstory to an ambitious research project carried out by social scientists. Second, it serves to challenge the very notion of `hooliganism' as it is used in common sense, media accounts and by the authorities.
One of the most impressive features of the book is the way that a scientific project is described without the usual jargon and dry turgid prose of a scientific text. The two authors, Cliff Stott and Geoff Pearson, manage to convey in very human terms the profound sense of injustice that many travelling English fans have felt at their treatment when travelling abroad to watch their teams play. `Football "hooliganism"' is page-turning stuff, and readers will find themselves emotionally engaged with the story. Cliff and Geoff have been with and in these crowds of travelling fans. They are able to understand their experiences from the inside, as well as to explain how such fans sometimes come to be defined and treated as `hooligans'.
But what makes this book a must-read for anyone interested in football `hooliganism' is the authors' radical view of the nature of such `hooliganism'. The problem for the common sense representation of the problem is encapsulated in the following facts. On the one hand, banning orders have prevented known hooligans from travelling abroad, yet have not prevented mass violence involving English fans abroad. On the other hand, when known hooligans have been present at matches abroad, hooliganism, or mass disorder, doesn't necessarily follow.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark Southee on 8 Oct 2008
Format: Hardcover
Anyone expecting another typical book on the 'antics' of the football hooligan (or as it's called in this book 'hoolie porn') will be disappointed.

Instead you'll find a serious attempt to understand how and why acts of disorder happen around football matches, and the way policing, the media and government have affected it, and tried to prevent it happening.

The book looks at various high profile events, including the Roma V Utd game in 2007, Liverpool in Athens for the Champions League final, the World Cups of Italia90, France98 and WM2006 and European Championships of 2000 and 2004.

The thing that struck me when reading the book was the wealth of studies into crowd dynamics (not just at football). As a former sociology student, I hadn't realised how much work had been done in this area. Clifford and Geoff attempt to compare and contrast these various studies and use them to back up their own research, both as observers at the various championships listed above, and from interviewing others present.

The book highlights the attempts to legislate against football related disorder, sadly seemingly driven by hysterical (and often totally inaccurate) media reporting. The high profile banning of known trouble makers is contrasted with the fact that those arrested abroad generally have no history of being in trouble with police at all, and the book explores the way people's behaviour in a large crowd can differ greatly than if they were alone or in a small group. You may have a different opinion on 'the English disease' after reading accounts of those present, although the book never suggests that English fans are innocents abroad.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The well-informed academic authors - a lawyer and a sociologist respectively - present their case that a crowd's perception of the fairness of the response of the policing authorities, influences the crowd's behaviour. The authors do not then develop their line of reasoning to examine the effect on crowd psychology of the possible presence of under-cover police officers in their midst. The arguments the authors do present, however, are backed up by a wealth of accumulated data from observations of English national football (soccer) team games held abroad, and these case studies provide other interesting sociological insights in themselves.

The authors argue for responsive and appropriate policing which takes good care to promote good relations between the police and the football-supporting crowd.

Risking defending the indefensible, the authors attempt to present the side of the ordinary football supporter. This defence is, in my opinion, not assisted by their weak attack on the word "hooligan", nor by their blind acceptance of the consumption of alcohol. Someone who is collecting observations from among football crowds as part of the crowd, does indeed risk sympathising too much. However, I can only applaud this valuable contribution to the debate on football violence in England.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First things first, there appears to be a mix-up on Amazon around this book and another non-related book. So the "paperback" link, and one of the negative reviews are unrelated and should be ignored.

It should be said that this book is not a light read. That is a good thing considering the depth that the authors go into to justify their research and subject, but it does mean that if you need to make a commitment to reading it. A light read on the coffee table this is not. The authors are both academics, and that is reflected in the book style, and although it is certainly not written as a paper or with endless references, is feels weighty rather than light. This is not a criticism but simply something to be aware of.

The book explores the authors' own research and first-hand experiences around abroad football hooliganism--that is, when England are playing abroad--and makes the consistent point that the entire notion of "hooliganism" is outdated. Specifically, the claim is made that both the mad-mob and gang-leader theories are not correct, despite constant media portrayal. Instead, the book explores the idea that the primary contributing factors are a misunderstanding of English football culture, fear and inaccurate reporting, and indiscriminate (unjust even?) policing due to those misunderstandings and fears. This is very similar to the conclusions reached by one of the same author's in a more recent book "Mad Mobs and Englishmen", albeit within a different context.

Personally, I found the book enlightening and fascinating, and I ended up agreeing with all the authors' conclusions, not least due to the sheer amount of good quality evidence they have amassed.
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