Courtesy of the Guardian
Firms are gang-like supporters groups of football clubs who organize violence against rival firms. I want to find out if firms still exist in English football, or has the increase of money in football priced these rowdy fans out of the seats and into the underground?
The term football hooliganism first arose in the 1960s, and the height of said hooliganism occurred in the 1970s and 80s where fights amongst firms occurred in the stands and outside of stadiums every match day.
These hooligans were mostly working class; football was an integral part of their lives, and they seemed to welcome the attention that their violence received. Notable firms were Chelsea’s Headhunters, Birmingham City’s Zulus, and arch rivals Milwall (Bushwackers) and West Ham (Inter City Firm).
Movies such as Green Street Hooligans and The Football Factory have glorified the violence. I think they’re eye-opening movies that, for Americans, show an underground culture, but I can understand when people criticize the films as over-dramatized violence.
Green Street Hooligans features the previously mentioned rival firms of Milwall and West Ham:
Has money lessened the violence?
As English football has gone global with pricey television contracts from the likes of ESPN and Fox in America, more money has been invested in more sophisticated policing and stadium security.
Teams have gotten smarter about separating fans of opposing teams within the stadium. Higher ticket prices have also priced out some of the working class fans that used to make up the firms.
Firms likely still exist in some capacity, but if they’re attacking each other, it’s not happening in and around football stadiums as often.
Background info: http://www.sirc.org/publik/fvexec.html#_VPID_9