BBC BLOGS - Gordon Farquhar
« Previous | Main | Next »

Will Upton Park violence scupper 2018 bid?

Post categories:

Gordon Farquhar | 15:18 UK time, Wednesday, 26 August 2009

The FA's announcement of an investigation into the events at Upton Park last night was swift.

That was scarcely surprising for a number of reasons, not least of which is that any international perception that hooliganism is on the rise again in English football will kill the 2018 World Cup bid stone dead.

This is the image of English football that the 2018 bid team are trying to promote

It's the thing the FA and bid chairman, Lord Triesman and his 2018 chief executive Andy Anson must fear the most.

The rest of their strategy is being meticulously planned. The messages aimed at positioning English football ahead of its likely closest rivals in Spain, Australia and the United States will be precise..

The fantastic stadiums? Already well developed infrastructure? Impeccable technical credentials? Take that as read.

The relentless hard work of the FA's International Relations team over the last 10 years? All part of the service.

It's the X factor of English football, embodied in the huge worldwide profile of the Premier League, that the FA's bid team is looking to tap into and turn into the ultimate selling point.

It's the all-consuming passion for the game they want to rely on most. Yet embracing it carries substantial risk because how passion manifests itself is something they can't control.

None of their rivals can talk of four professional leagues, of record crowds, of the tradition of travelling away in big numbers, and the unquestionable (I think remarkable) support for the national team at major tournaments.

How often have I sat in a stadium in a far flung place where red and white shirts and the cross of St George dominate the view, despite the miserly official ticket allocations for the away fans, and the shoddy treatment they have come to expect?

What's more, latterly at least, some of those fans have become genuine ambassadors for the English game.

What a far cry from my introduction to this job back at the World Cup in France in 1998, where I watched from the fringes of a riot in Marseille, ducking bottles, eyes stinging from the tear gas, despairing of my countrymen.

I'm not trying to pretend hooliganism has gone away in the intervening years, there's plenty of evidence it hasn't. But by common consent, it has got better, and there's no doubt that the measures taken by the government and football authorities such as banning orders, have played a significant part.

The FA are regularly given credit within the football world, and held up as an example, of how to try and overcome the disease of hooliganism. Let me say too, this is emphatically not just an English problem.

The scenes at Upton Park brought back unpleasant memories of the late 1970s and early 1980s

However, as with many things, England takes the credit for inventing it, and it has come back to bite the FA hard when it's least welcome. Remember Charleroi in 2000?

The problems in the main square of that unremarkable industrial town in Belgium were brief, overplayed on TV, over-described in the press, but when Uefa threatened England with expulsion from the competition if there was any repeat of the scenes, boy, did that have an impact!

Then, as now, England were bidding to stage a world cup, and I can't believe England's rivals didn't indulge in a little schadenfreude, a little spin and a quiet gloat.

Looking back, Charleroi was a turning point in the unpleasant history of English hooliganism. After then came the banning orders, helped by the juxtaposition of a World Cup in Japan and Korea, where the costs probably put off the committed trouble makers, and the European Championship in Portugal where a lot of fans suitably modified their behaviour for the holidaying wives, girlfriends and family they travelled with.

There hasn't been a major hooliganism incident involving England fans on foreign soil since Euro 2000, but the events at Upton Park serve as a timely reminder that nothing should be taken for granted, and the threat remains uncomfortably close to the surface.

Those who want to bring the World Cup "home" can't expect guests if the house isn't in order.

In abandoning rotation and opening the World Cup to all comers again, Fifa has guaranteed that the quality of the bids will be sky high. This will be a hugely competitive process.

Success and failure will turn on the smallest of things, so the FA's 2018 bid team have to get every nuance and detail right. If the voting members close their eyes, think of hooliganism and see an England shirt, that might be all it takes to persuade them to make a different choice.


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Hooliganism in England is a miniscule problem compared to, say, Italy.

  • Comment number 2.


  • Comment number 3.

    Typical of us isn't it? As soon as we're enjoying something, we have to do destroy it.

  • Comment number 4.

    It shouldn't do. This fixture always brings out the worms from the woodwork and it always will. It's actually nothing to do with football.

  • Comment number 5.

    England fans seem to behave worse abroad than at home. Same thing as with some English holiday makers - you don't see the same level of misbehaviour in Blackpool as you do in Ibiza or the Greek islands... Perhaps it would be safest to bring he WC to England?

  • Comment number 6.

    yay im 3rd!!!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    The fact is that this sort of trouble never really went away. Thatch invented the concept of football hooliganism to deflect things away from the social mess that her government was creating. Blair and Brown have done nothing to deal with the problems of society that they inherited. Is it no real wonder that this issue has come back to bite everyone on the bum?

    The Government needs to come down hard with proper sentencing for the low life responisble for last night's events. The FA/FL need to hammer West Ham and Millwall to show people that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated at any level in the game.

    The FA has got the reminder it needs to make sure that it really has to push and work with whatever passes for Government in this country to sort things out so that we can host a World Cup without incident.

    One "sick" thought is this. Maybe the World Cup should be held here in 2018, after all, the World doesn't want lowlife from these shores infesting their stadia, do they?

  • Comment number 8.

    I think we'll be judged by the fifa select comitee by how we respond to this rare hoolignaism.

    I dont see this damaging our campaign though

  • Comment number 9.

    I think in all fairness the antics at Upton Park were a one off, this fixture was a potential hot potato, it will be interesting to here what safeguards were in place.

    I hope this has no impact on the 2018 bid as we have drastically improved since the bad old days.

    Charleroi was mentioned, I was there as I live just over the border in Holland. In fairness that was initiated by a part of the Belgian population intent on causing trouble, the majority of English fans were trying to get out of the firing zone! Couple that with the usual Belgian police attitude of ignoring their own troublemakers (I have seen this with PSV also) and wading in at the English it looked far worse than it actually was.

    Most people who watch the EPL every week will know that this is far from the norm and will treat it rightly so, if this is used as a reason to reject our bid then it is an excuse and not the real reason.

    England should hold the 2018 event, it will be more than 50 years since we have. Anyone in the selection commitee can see that we have everything in place to make it memorable.

  • Comment number 10.

    I still think we'll get it, the final decision is a while off yet, hopefully we can forget about this.

    ps redraaj: fail.

  • Comment number 11.

    socrates_says wrote:
    Hooliganism in England is a miniscule problem compared to, say, Italy.

    How right you are. This has been totally taken too far. One match in which fans from two clubs in the same city planned to attack each other and only one reported casualty occured is a world away from the organised crime and frequent murders that take place in Italy's social underbelly as a result of Serie A.

    I'm not in any way condoning what these idiotic non-fans did, but let's just have a bit of context about it. It was practically a one-off in this country, but typical the far-right media and nannyists want to have their pound of flesh. So let them do so, it will all blow over eventually.

  • Comment number 12.

    There is some confusion between violence and pitch invasions. They are not quite the same thing!

    It's also not uncommon even these days. There was a pitch invasion in leeds in 2007 that delayed the game for 30 mins. Leeds' punishment? None. This invasion caused a delay of a few mins and when you look at the footage it's hard to see any actual violence.

    It's wrong that the fans invaded the pitch. Of course it should not have happened. It should not be quite as big a deal as the media are making it.

    The stabbing outside the tube station is of much greater concern to me, but it has only the weakest link with football and more to do with booze and thug culture.

  • Comment number 13.

    How can this question even be asked?! Is it because the violence took place in London, and London news is invariably magnified by the BBC far beyond its context?

    One of our main rivals for the WC 2018 bid is Spain. Even excluding random incidents such as Juande Ramos being knocked unconscious by a coin, there is regular violence in La Liga. For example:

    - At Atletico v Sevilla in March 2006 the game was stopped for 40 minutes as violence erupted, and players were hit with glass bottles.

    - The previous January a King's Cup game was played behind closed doors after a linesman was assualted (Valencia v Deportivo).

    And this is not even starting on the issue of monkey noises and other sick racist behaviour that is commonplace and never truly tackled by Spanish authorities.

    So whilst last night's scenes were unpleasant, I do wonder if there's a lot of the media that is rubbing their hands with glee so they can start the doom-mongering.

  • Comment number 14.

    Actually it's quite the opposite. We seem to behave better than abroad, so we should stage the world cup to keep all our fans at bay!

  • Comment number 15.

    The fact that UEFA and FIFA already show an incredible bias against English football is not helped by such disgraceful scenes at Upton Park. It will be just another excuse Blatter, Platini and co wheel out against us. Yet when the similar scenes in Spain, Italy and Turkey have happened over the past decade it seems to be ignored by the footballing powers. Constant fears of racism from Spanish crowds and violence from the Italian Ultras follow English teams when ever they play in Europe as well as both nations' domestic teams.

  • Comment number 16.

    Deluded contributors making excuses for Charleroi, blaming Belgian police,and claiming that hooliganism in other countries is worse: how typically English. England DOES NOT DESERVE any international footballing competition as long as there are these brainless morons sullying the game in Britain. I HOPE ENGLAND DON'T GET THE FINALS. IF THEY DID, LET'S HOPE THAT ALL OTHER COUNTRIES BOYCOTT THEM.
    And throw the English yobbos off the white cliffs of Dover.

  • Comment number 17.

    Im more worried that it was known that this was a potentially dodgy game but the knowledge that violence could occur didn't lead to sufficient countermeasures. This could surely be damaging because you would have thought all that could be done to prevent any violence would be done and yet there was still trouble. If we are unable to stop in for this carling cup game how on earth will we deal with it in the world cup?

  • Comment number 18.

    Give credit where credit is due.Law enforcement in this country have done good work in isolating and containing the problem,but it has never gone away.Until it does go away which we all know it wont,England is a security risk for any visiting supporter.Violence after the Semi Final v Germany in Euro 96 in England is testimony to that.And anyone who says that it wont happen again is naive.

  • Comment number 19.

    Typical of the press. Completely over the top.....again! Why do you always forget all the good things that have gone on in English football. One incident, stupid I agree and totally out of keeping with todays game, and the world is doomed, we are all doomed.

    Let's deal with it calmly.

    So, for gods sake press, grow up!

    We have the idiots on film, so as long as the police, the club, the FA and the government throw the damn book at them without reservation and show the world we will not tolerate this behavour there should be no issue, no "The End Of The World Nigh" syndrome.

    Let's deal with what happened swiftly and hard...........and move on.

    Rant over!

  • Comment number 20.

    This one off incident shouldn't marr what the FA and English football as a whole have done over the last 15/20 years in 'eradicating' hooliganism from football. If you look at candidates and hosts of future tournaments, 2012 Euros,Poland has one of the worst hooligan problems in europe, if not the world, and Brazil, hosting the 2014 world cup, where people shooting opposition fans and matches being abandoned are not all that irregular.

    Milwall fans and West Ham fans are two of the worst sets in the country for violence, and this being a one-off local derby, should be put down to nothing more than that. when will they play each other again? probably not for another 5 possibly 10years. The majority of english football fans are well behaved, and there are much fewer 'ultras' or hooligans in the english game than in say italy or spain, where this is part and parcel of every teams' support.

    Lets draw a line under it, and finally bring the world cup back home, marking an incredible decade in british sport.

  • Comment number 21.

    well done west ham and millwall "fans" your a disgrace to this country and you have disgraced this country and its genuine football fans. The Fa/league should deduct both these teams 25 points each

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Gordon
    I completely agree with your fine article. The fans last night marred what should have been a great contest between a solid premier league outfit and a strong league one side. However, I hate to see "I told you so" but that is the phrase on everyone's lips after the draw was made. These mindless thugs aren't football fans and they didn't go to see a game of football, they went for the fight. There will be calls for West Ham fans to be banned from games but this isn't fair on the youngsters and the families who go to watch their favourites play. West Ham have a great youth set up and I can't undderstand why these idiots would sacrifice all that and the good work by Gianfranco Zola for a drunken leary punch up with their "enemies" from the isle of dogs. They are a disgrace and everyone should be locked up who was involved, the video evidence is there, so my plea to the FA, get these idiots arrested and sort the situation out quickly and in an organised manner so it doesn't completely ruin our world cup bid. I think it may have done, but if Spain get it over us after there racist chants and hooliganism then it reiterates the point that Sepp Blatter is barmy. Lets hope this problem can be solved quickly.

    Secondly, Gordon I am interested into going in radio and journalism. What would you recommend, starting at a newspaper and trying for a radio station? What did you do, your help would be much appreciated.

  • Comment number 23.

    theres always going to be a small minority that don't think before they act and sadly this minority are the ones that get highlighted that ruin anything in any walk of life let alone football for the vast majority! This is also a reason why our grassroots game is crumbling, middle aged men who should know better taking their kids game to far! WHEN WILL SOME PEOPLE GROW UP! ! !

  • Comment number 24.

    "Typical of us isn't it? As soon as we're enjoying something, we have to do destroy it."
    Im afraid I wouldn't say us! If you want to compare yourself to these cockneys, then by all means please do!
    But im fine standing of my own accord. Also yes i do think this will cause major problems for the 2018 bid!

  • Comment number 25.

    Surely, That film 'Green Street' must have come up in the press' mind and thought, 'ah ha, time to write something... it's the film coming into real life... nice.'

    To be honest, pitch invasion happens everywhere... and it's not something that's peculiar to England. People do that all around the world.

    I think the FA actually shoots its own foot here... if it just condemns the fans and do the usual stuff without highlighting investigation so much, the effects on the 2018 bid won't be as bad.

  • Comment number 26.

    Yep, as usual the tiny minded minority will spoil it all for the vast majority. It's funny how most of the pitch invaders and trouble causers appear to be in their 40's, fat and balding, breasts bigger than Jordan with clothing that only the long suffering stella beaten wife would be able to source from Matalan. How any of them managed to be able to run across half a pitch without having a coronary is beyond me. I would wager that most of them couldn't spell football let alone follow it.


  • Comment number 27.

    I'm Scottish but I hope England get the world cup in 2018. Firstly because it's deserved after such a long time without hosting and secondly because of the reasons mentioned in the article.

    I don't think British football has such a major problem with football violence as say Italy or Turkey but scenes like last nights could severly damage your chances of hosting it. Be a shame if a few fools ruined it for the hundreds of thousands of fans who make their way to games every week without causing any trouble.

  • Comment number 28.

    I am a West Ham and England supporter, have been for 60 years. Hooliganism cannot and will not be tolerated in a decent law abiding society. England and indeed Great Britain are winning the fight against hooliganism, I believe that the Clubs and the players have their part to play, in returning us to the beautiful game. The players have a union, let's see them stand up and take a stance against diving, trying to get their fellow professional booked, shirt tugging, and would you believe following the laws of the game, the only part of your body allowed to come in contact with another player is your foot and leg in a legal tackle, and your shoulder against another players shoulder whilst attempting to get the ball. Referees and their assistants in every match I see, allow blatant use of the hands & arms trying to get the ball. All it would take was the referees to implement the rules as they are written, to quickly stamp out this practise and give us more flowing football, and goals too. I would love to see football become a sport again, memories flood back of good players coming to West Ham, and being applauded by the crowd for a good piece of play. Of course I love West Ham to win, but I also want to be entertained, not hear 35,000 fans jeering someone who has used nefarious tactics to get a transfer. save that energy to cheer when West ham and indeed their opponents play entertaining football.

    The Clubs could do more by introducing and indeed welcoming the opposing team, in the spirit of the game. I also love the banter between supporters, long may it continue, but let's keep it witty and intelligent, and end to the violence please.

  • Comment number 29.

    Agree that England is by far better than Spain and Italy. As long as it will be Europe, it should be England. The only rival probably Australia. They are a big and advance country and never staged the WC before. They have a point to promote football there.

  • Comment number 30.

    "The rest of their strategy is being meticulously planned. The messages aimed at positioning English football ahead of its likely closest rivals in Spain, Australia and the United States will be precise.."

    Very precise and indulgent when it comes to alleged corruption in football. The FA has made it clear that it regards Jack Warner as an ally since it needs the votes more than honesty in football. See the attached link.

    Oh for John McBeth's honest approach.

    As for the problem fans, that issue will no doubt be precisely swept under the carpet too. It is impossible to quote on this site what the English fans sung when they last played Turkey in England since it is deemed racially offensive under 606 rules (I've tried). Each time they go abroad in numbers there is trouble which is usually blamed on the locals. Attempts are made to keep the worst England fans at home - how will they manage that if it's held in England?

    Last night will soon be forgotten - written up as a little local difficulty.

  • Comment number 31.

    West Ham for years have claimed to be the team that won us the World Cup.

    So its no great surprise that their hooligan element would lose us the opportunity to host one.

  • Comment number 32.

    "not least of which is that any international perception that hooliganism is on the rise again in English football will kill the 2018 World Cup bid stone dead. "

    Do not such things occur on a regular basis in Brasil? Yet they have been awarded the 2014 championships. Never mind their lack of World Class stadia and sub-standard transport system.

    And next years host? Racism, crime, poverty. It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read.

    England looks positively utopian in comparison.

  • Comment number 33.

    "not least of which is that any international perception that hooliganism is on the rise again in English football will kill the 2018 World Cup bid stone dead. "



    Do not such things occur on a regular basis in Brasil? Yet they have been awarded the 2014 championships. Never mind their lack of World Class stadia and sub-standard transport system.

    And next years host? Racism, crime, poverty. "It is estimated that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read" (unconfirmed source on Wiki).

    England looks positively utopian in comparison.

  • Comment number 34.

    BBC in anti-West Ham agenda shocker!

  • Comment number 35.

    re 15

    i agree with you on your view that uefa and fifa are biased against us and i dont why because most of us are nice people, its only a few that ruin it for the rest of us if blatter and platini took some time to meet some proper supporters then they would relise were good people and down to earth not the idiots they think we are.

    i think they only look at us as arrogent snobs because of the our media, who are to blame in my book because there the one's that are the arrongent snobs who say were gunna win every time and that makes us all come across arrogent. as for last night it doesen't make it any easyer to get the world cup here and i cant see it happening now.

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't think there's a nation in Europe and probably not in the world that can guarantee that thugs don't exist in their country. Just as you can't stop young men crashing cars. It happens. Part of the human condition. Sadly.

    The key question is how you respond to it. Do you ban all young men from driving or seriously increase insurance premiums for young men who crash? Do you impose blanket bans on fans travelling or provide serious sanctions to those who transgress?

    Where I think it went wrong in the 1970s and 1980s was a refusal to get tough with the specific miscreants to begin with, followed by an unjustifiable over-reaction of a 5 year blanket ban after Heysel. A ban was needed all right, but I'm not sure the one imposed was the right one.

    Let's hope the FA and the Clubs get it right this time...

  • Comment number 37.

    20 point deduction for both team plus suspension from the FA cup.

  • Comment number 38.

    I can't understand why people would run on the pitch! These days you are going to be filmed, you are going to be identified, your face goes on the net, in the club programme, the local rag, you will lose your hard earned season ticket, you will be banned from watching your heroes, you will gain a criminal record, you will find it difficult organising foreign travel.

    Pure stupitity and I bet there's a few rueful blokes today regreeting their idiocy.

  • Comment number 39.

    To put it quite bluntly, if South Africa can host a World Cup, I see no reason why England can't host a World Cup.

    Also there is hooligans all over mainland Europe, with Poland being no exception, and guess where the next Euro Championships are being held. (along with the Ukraine)

    Hooliganism in England is in the decline and the FA, football clubs and the authorities must take huge congratulations for making this possible, but it is not totally eradicated but still fail to see how a tiny proportion of mindless thugs can wreck a countries dream, especially with all the infrastrutre and great support from the public and respective authorities who are making great efforts into bringing one of the greatest supporting events back to its birthplace.

    Think this talk of last night ruining the 2018 bid as just people trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

  • Comment number 40.

    Absolute NO to shaven headed, pot bellied knuckle scrapers neanderthaling around our
    football grounds and organising after school fights in the back streets. Can we please be allowed to say that these "blokes" are lynch mob fodder, full of opinion but desperately short of enough brain cells to qualify as a cabbage (no disrespect to cabbages). However, I am sick to death of the fact that English fans can be beaten, stabbed, kettled, and rained on with coins and bottles in Italy and Spain and FIFA look the other way and fail in their duty to deal with serious crowd violence and the failure of stewarding big time. And when FIFA do look away where is their gaze drawn to? England! EUEFA the same, Platini has made a career on questioning every aspect of our game (note how I avoid legal repercussions by not actually saying what I am thinking here!!!).

    We have as much chance of a World Cup as a motor scooter being dropped from the upper tier of a major Italian Football Club's ground onto the lower tier. Sorry, what I meant to say is that we have as much chance of a World Cup as anyone investigating, let alone punishing, the louts who dropped a motor scooter from the top balcony of an Italian club! (How do you get a motor scooter into the ground? Ask the stewards who look the other way when English fans are pelted for 45 mins)

    World Cup........ not for England anyway, anytime, anyhow.

  • Comment number 41.

    Yeah, lets "deduct 25 points from West Ham" and "throw these thugs off the white cliffs of Dover".

    What sanctimonious nonsense. Do you not see that the people who ran on the pitch couldn't care less? They're not real West Ham fans. The police will no doubt identify the individuals and punish them accordingly. And rightly so. This fixture was always going to be explosive, and an investigation is appropriate into what went wrong and whether lessons can be learned.

    But unless the club is found to be at fault for what happened, why should proper fans suffer? What will punitive sanctions on the club achieve?

    Still, lets not have reason and objectivity get in the way of a self righteous dig at West Ham. After all no other ground has seen a pitch invasion in the last 8 or 9 years...

  • Comment number 42.

    The ban after Heysel should have been confined to the organisers who chose to hold such an important match in such a relic of a stadium and to the numpty who who organised the segregation.

    In time honoured fashion the people responsible slunk off while LAFC and English football was used as a scapegoat and left to carry the can.

  • Comment number 43.

    It will only scupper 2018 if someone can prove fake blood was used!

  • Comment number 44.

    Now we'll find out just how effective all the CCTV is at identifying culprits - my money is millions on security for 2 (at most) convictions. I would love to be proved wrong!

  • Comment number 45.

    I think the words 'oh brother' just about sums up the reaction to last nights hooliganism. Or, 'here we go again' and I'm not talking about the violence.

    What is it about the English and washing our dirty linen in public, not to mention the cringe inducing hand wringing that follows such moments? Yes, football hooligans are bad news, yes they are a pain, but let's get real here. Our hooligans, despite their write up, are NO WORSE than anyone else's.

    An outrageous statement? A blinkered view? I think not. Anyone who's studied hooliganism as an international phenomena knows that there are in fact WORSE sets of hoolies elsewhere in the World, not least on the European mainland. The single worst match for violence I have ever seen was Feyenoord vs PVS many moons ago when the whole stadium (and in the streets outside it was worse!) was a sea of writhing, kicking, punching Neanderthals (this is the same Feyenoord who battered the daylights out of Spurs fans - twice)yet did that result in front page news? Not a bit of it.

    Recently Italy was the scene of appalling, racist led, organised hooliganism, so bad it led to a raft of fixtures being cancelled. But do we hear of Italy being threatened with bans? Spanish fans have not only long had notorious 'ultra's who would put the fear of God into the average English fan never mind Spanish, yet does Spain indulge in a national inquest whenever violence breaks out? More importantly has Spain been 'really' punished over their fans racist behaviour at internationals. No and no.

    I am not advocating ignoring such disgusting actions by a mindless minority, nor should such behaviour be ignored in an attempt to gloss over what has sadly been a blight on football since it's early days. What I am saying, is as long as we call it the 'English disease', we make a huge national deal out of it, we react with hysteria, it plays right into the hands of those who love to bash English football, and would love to see us lose the very thing such misguided overreaction is seeking to preserve - our World cup bid.

    It's time to deal with the issue the continental way. Deal with it, but do it in house, without drawing unwelcome attention to it.

    Which to be fair to the Police and FA. that's exactly what they have been doing for over a decade.

  • Comment number 46.

    I hope it does end our chances.
    Although to be honest I think that judging by the photos those involved won't be around for 2018!

  • Comment number 47.

    Ugly tribalism and nationalism is on the rise and fuelled by journalists who really ought to know better. These islands of ours have a history of tolerance, dignity, graciousness, fair play and composure. We now have a media filled with whingers and whiners who carry on like emotional wrecks every time England loses, and who react to every victory with gloating, tub thumping and the ugliest of self-congratulatory back-slapping. This country is now dominated by bad winners and even worse losers that the public who celebrated back in 1966 would be ashamed of. We need to campaign and work hard to make dignity and good sporting behaviour the norm and not the exception. That is for the long-term though. I think the agitation, revolt and revolting behaviour has more to do with the fear, loathing and uncertainty of our times than with the football. Bad behaviour and yob culture around popular sport is where it will find a lot of expression so I expect more of this over the coming weeks and months.

  • Comment number 48.

    Personally I think we lost the bid when Glasgow Rangers went on a rampage through Manchester, this latest incident is yet more ammunition against our bid.

  • Comment number 49.

    Surely the best thing the FA could do in this case, and in any future cases of crowd trouble and pitch invasions is to simply order the two clubs involved to play their next five home games behind closed doors. That would act as a massive deterrent to the "fans" next time they think of doing anything similar, and the financial penalties would make the clubs get their act together and make sure adequate security is in place for future potential flashpoint matches.

  • Comment number 50.

  • Comment number 51.

    Stupid scenes last night, it wont scupper the bid because Brazil have got the World Cup in 2014 and they have football violence on a bigger scale, usually more so inside the stadiums.

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hooliganism is rife in Poland - possibly the worst place in Europe for it - but there was no talk of Euro 2012 not being held there.

    Having said that FIFA and UEFA clearly despise England, so will use whatever excuse they can to stop us having it

  • Comment number 54.

    Number 48: The Manchester authorities shouldn't have let Tesco's & what not to sell lager at 7am! No excuse for the MINORITY out of over 150,000! but the council had £££ signs in their eyes.

  • Comment number 55.

    england will be treated differently to other countries, since the murder of 2 Leeds fans Turkey has had a European Champions league final & a UEFA cup final. Italian fans routinely organise pre-match violence before games. UEFA advised MU & Chelsea fans not to travel to Roma for matches. Some South American hooligan crews have a say in their club's business. South Africa is a very violent country, no prob give them a World Cup.

  • Comment number 56.

    Sorry but I disagree with a lot of what your saying. What your saying for a big chunk of your article is that the only reason people think holloiganism in England is gone is because hooligans never attended Japan/Korea because of travel costs, and in Portugal any hooligans that were there stopped themselves from kicking up trouble because the wives were there.

    What then, do you make of the fathers last night that were seen visibly egging on their children? These people know no sentiment. If FIFA take into consideration the fact this was a local derby, with a history of violence and crowd trouble, then I don't think our bid can be considered any lower than, say, the USA, where the threat of terrorism is still rife, or Australia, where football ranks beneath cricket, rugby and Australian Rules Football as a national sport.

    These people ought to take a good hard look at what they've done and how the rest of the country views them - scum.

  • Comment number 57.

    Zero tolerance - closed doors and heavy fines for the clubs. We went through this in the 70's and 80's - no more!

  • Comment number 58.

    Imagine we win the bid for 2018 or 2022, will Paraguay vs South Korea (for example) mean that riot police are required at A.N. Other English ground? Of course not it has no appeal to the hooligan element.

    Now conversely, England vs Who Ever will be at Wembley and policed accordingly. This is not the problem.

    The problem is (no matter which country a major championship is held in) that there will be trouble in a some town or city IN ENGLAND.

  • Comment number 59.

    Give it a rest Gordon. A small child could have worked out that there would be trouble at this match. Trouble and a underlying level of hooliganism has never gone away. The authorities have done their best with policing etc but it will never disappear totally. Stick together local rivals who don't play each other regular and hey presto, as many others have said there were far worse events in Italy and Spain recently.

    Certain clubs have a larger percentage of trouble makers but all clubs have them. Most of them may only go to a game a season but they go to the 'tasty' ones.

    Last night and England v Brazil in 2018 are very different scenarios. Mind you I'm sure the media could hype an England v Scotland/Argentina/Germany to fever pitch. Plenty of blogs and five live phone in's to ensure blanket coverage of a good story. Keep stoking the fire...

  • Comment number 60.

    This was my first thought last night when I heard about it - I hope these thugs don't scupper the world cup bid for the entire country.

    Other countries do have much worse hooliganism, but surely by now we know that if FIFA were to make a stand against it, it'd be against England.

    I certainly won't be happy if we look back upon that match as a reason for why we didn't get the bid.

  • Comment number 61.

    After last night's actions at Upton Park it is rather worrying that it could have an impact on the 2018 bid but come on, lets be serious and think ... this was probably planned from a majority of fans as soon as the draw came out, the history and rivalry between these two is immense and both sets of fans would want to come home with bragging rights on and off the pitch just because of the rivalry. The passion for football in England is unbeatable and to be honest I don't see much other competition for the bid of the World Cup in 2018 with our infrastructure and stadiums and most of all passionate England fans. The 2018 World Cup should deffinitely come to England but after last night's scenes it does make you wonder if this hooliganism can disturb our bid, but one question .. would this sort of hooliganism happen during the 2018 World Cup if we won the bid? I don't think so, possibly the biggest rivalry in England football happened last night and only a couple of hundred was involved, most West Ham fans were disgruntled and chanted them to get off the pitch, look back to the 70's and 80's of footy hooliganism, it has certainly improved and England can look forward to their 2018 bid for the World Cup and hopefully be successful with it.

  • Comment number 62.

    I do not think that this incident alone will deny us the chance to host the 2018 world cup, as there are plenty of other "supporters" in Europe who do their national teams a disservice.

    I do feel it is much easier for FIFA et al to make the case against England when you take into account various other factors. For example, the Foreign Office released figures this week that showed 7000 Britons were arrested abroad from March 2008 - March 2009, the majority for drunken idiocy. I feel it is much easier to pin the hooligan sterotype on English football supporters when the rest of the world sees how badly some (certainly not all) of the British population behaves whilst abroad. I know that 7000 is a minority, but it is human nature to focus on negative experiences, and unfortunately I'm sure many residents of places such as Faliraki, Cyprus etc will remember the drunken Brits who were sick over their streets, smashed their shop windows and/or who were engaged in fighting more than they remember the peaceable majority.

    I feel that whereas Italians and the Spanish do have football-related violence, they do not have the same reputation because their tourists behave much better than ours when abroad. I believe that the aggressive lager-lout or idiotic binge-drinker on holiday abroad re-inforces a stereotype that other countries have of the English as hooligans.

  • Comment number 63.

    I have to agree with the Italian issues, however, we have the history and it's not to good. The picture you have in your blog of that fat,old,and sad tattooed hooligan, shows how the relics of the past should be banned from football for life. At any level.
    Our saving grace, if you can call it that. Is that the Italians, after stabbing many British fans, got to carry on, as if nothing had happened. I thought at the time, it was a bad president to set, and the Italian fans have proved time and time again it was.
    I still think that the FA need to act in a timely manner and hit the clubs hard. Automatic relegation or deduction of points, and closed door games. Hit the teams in the wallet, and the fans with the responsibility for their own actions.

  • Comment number 64.

    A regrettable incident, but one that is seen increasingly less often and if we're talking about occurrences that would prevent the World Cup being hosted somewhere, surely the racism that is endemic amongst Spanish crowds should be of a greater concern to FIFA, especially as it is a competition that would welcome both players and spectators of all colours.

  • Comment number 65.

    re 47

    at last someone else who thinks our national media is a joke, i for one would love to scrap the media and have no more papers whatsoever. its them who make it bigger than a mountain everytime we crash out of the world cup, euros etc, and its them who are "nationlism" i cant stand this big headed attitude they have. i'm not blaming all the journlists, but we live in this age where its normal to look down on people and the media are to blame for this. like i sead not all of them.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think the police are partley to blame aswell
    it should of been played behind closed doors
    they knew there was going to be trouble and they didnt deal with it

    I dont think it will ruin our wold cup hopes though

  • Comment number 67.

    Will this affect the bid? Probably. Should it? Not a chance.

    England in the past few decades has one of the best records for dealing with fans in the world. Italy in particular should take note (a special mention to a friend of mine who was stabbed by Ultras in Rome). Fans have died on the continent and there are still grounds with fences, which are unnacceptable. The police didn't charge at fans last night, they stood their ground, unlike in the Stadio Olimpico, and they should be commended for that.

    As much as i don't agree with what most of the FA do, they should get a lot of credit for how they've dealt with hooligansim in the past twenty or so years.

  • Comment number 68.

    well if the world cup was given to south africa with possibly the worst crime rates in the world, i'm sure they can give it to England after one night of trouble.

  • Comment number 69.

    I think what happened at Upton Park was terrible, but it is an isolated event that has been unheard of for years now. Even so, in the terms of world football, what happpened at West Ham is tame compared to many scenes in Eastern European games, Italian games, Turkish games, Spanish games, Scottish games, and even African games (where the next World Cup is going to be held). Many people have been stabbed in Italian, Spanish, Scottish, Turkish, and African derby's, but most people accept that the people dragging the name of this sport down are not true fans and shouldn't be associated with the game, which is the same viewpoint people should take with the scenes at West Ham.

    In a way this hooliganism is quite well behaved, seeing as it is the product of pure idiocy, as opposed to the political, religious or racial roots that lie at the heart of many other hooligan riots in world football. Like I said, it's an isolated incident that anyone who's watched English football in the last ten years could see is an anonomly of the typical fan behaviour in this country, and it shouldn't affect our World Cup bid.

  • Comment number 70.

    Whilst last nights events were sickening, and the people involved should be dealt with severely, this shouldn't affect our chances of hosting the world cup. Most countries in Europe have a much severe problem than us but they dont make headline news like it does here.

    What I find most surprising is that the police say that they was not prepared!! FFS, everyone knows the hatred that exists between these two clubs! maybe the FA should make sure that they never play each other again, or play behind closed doors.

  • Comment number 71.

    Does it not show how far football has come, the fact this story is news, if this happened regularly it wouldn't be newsworthy

  • Comment number 72.

    Pretty much every football fan in the country expected there would be trouble at this match. Funny the authorities didn't.

  • Comment number 73.

    fifa voting members are going to overreact if this is made into an issue. lets face the facts, it happened due to the history of the two clubs, location etc, but it really isnt common in this country anymore. shining spotlight on the events make it seem more common to the fifa members. the quicker people forget then the better

  • Comment number 74.

    Will Upton Park violence scupper 2018 bid? It shouldn't do.
    They let Rome host major cup finals - Italy has a worse hooligan problem than England. They let Holland co-host the Euros - Holland has a worse hooligan problem than England. They let Germany host the World Cup - Germany has a worse hooligan problem than England.

  • Comment number 75.

    All that these scenes prove is that hooliganism - the notorious English Disease - is still alive and well, and living in England. Can that really come as a surprise to anyone?

    You can introduce all the crowd-control and P.R. measures you like, but you don't change the character of a nation in ten years. At heart, England is still a fat, angry, tragic thug, throwing plastic chairs and shouting abuse at foreigners. All he really wants is a pint, a fight, and for someone to tell him where his Empire's gone.

    Holding football's premier festival in England would be like holding Crufts in Korea.

  • Comment number 76.

    I'm italian and I need to say that is a bit sad some people in these blog comments (probably older and wisier than me) like to refer to Italy (or Spain or Greece) troubles with supporters to talk about an argument that is not directly related to these countries. Of course this kind of situations at the moment are worst in Italy than in Britain but I still can't see the point of this kind of arrogance.
    I've also read about italian people stabbing english supporters abroad. I'm sorry if it happened but anyway it's not a secret that english supporters abroad have some troubles with beer and company. So nobody is innocent against these kind of stupid and sad events.
    Wish you to host your beloved World Cup tournament in 2016 against Australia, Spain or South Pole. Even if heard penguins are a bit primitive so I don't think they've got many chances against you.
    Spaghetti, pizza and peperoni

  • Comment number 77.

    Its a known fact that a small portion of the Millwall supporters are known hard hooligans. So I say do what Fifa did to the English football teams for all European competitions, kick Millwall out of the league all together as punishment. Especially if it threatens England's hopes of hosting the World Cup!!!! This is the only way to show to the rest of the footballing community that hooliganism is not tolerated in the UK.

  • Comment number 78.

    The bidders for the WC 2018 are Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, and the United States. Looking at that lot, Japan, the United States and every 5 minutes Mexico, have all been awarded the World Cup since 1966. Indonesia cannot be taken seriously which leaves Australia, England and Russia. Australia is unlikely as any kick off between 15.00 and 23.00 would be between 05.00 and 13.00 in Europe, not a TV dream and would garner large frowns from the broadcasting companies. To suit the 19.00 to 23.00 ideal TV target zone, matches would have to kick off at between 03.00 and 09.00 in Australia. That is stupid enough to be considered by Sepp Blatter but unlikely to be passed. That leaves us and Russia. Now where do you begin with Russian hooliganism???

    It is typical, that one match which would have happenend 9 NINE years earlier when the WC 2018 kicks off, has the English press gibbering that it could affect the WC bid. If it does, you should be asking is FIFA fit for purpose.

  • Comment number 79.

  • Comment number 80.

    Interesting to note that post no. 78 centres the important viewing audience around Europe, and because of time zones, kick offs in Australia will be inconvenient for the Europeans.

    The massive Asian market (China, Japan, Indonesia, Korea) etc. shares roughly same time zones with Australia, and don't be under any illusion that this Asian market is considered less important than Europe by FIFA. It could be argued that these growing markets is where FIFA is looking to develop the world game further.

    Remember the 1994 world cup and how in those days 'soccer' ranked below tractor pulling in popularity in the USA. This fact, coupled with inconvenient kick off times for Europe(esp if games were in Western USA), did not put off FIFA one bit.

    FIFA wants to develop the game further worldwide, the USA (held it in 1994) is arguably now going in the right direction with MLS attracting crowds of sometimes 30-40k. Now it's Africa's turn (at last), the next part of the FIFA jigsaw is probably Asia.

    Europe is a mature, established market of 300 million people, it is long established in terms of football, future expansion will be minimal. Asia probably accounts for 4 billion people, and in much of this continent, football only still is in its embryonic years, only Japan (J league 20 years or so) is anywhere near approaching 'maturity'. The potential is massive.

    I think at some point that Asia will again host the world cup to further develop the good progress put in place in 2002 (Korea/Japan share). I suspect that the development and future growth of football in the world is more important to FIFA than inconvenience for the European TV audience.

    By the way, the stadia in Australia are of high quality, the infrastructure is good, the track record in holding large events eg Olympics in 2000 and 1956 is excellent. Australia is now part of the Asian division of FIFA too. The fact that it only has 21 million people, and a fledgling professional league will not put FIFA off too much, as it would represent the Asian part of FIFA and would be watched by massive Asian audiences.

  • Comment number 81.

    This incident is not a massive example of an outbreak of violence. We, as usual, are making the most out of it. I don't think this should be an influencing factor especially since UEFA were happy to give their finals to Poland and Ukraine who have endemic violence and corruption in their games!

  • Comment number 82.

    I'll keep this short, to the point and in proportion as the BBC (British?? Broadcasting Corp)should have done. Yes, it's a shame to see this behaviour. Yes, it should have been more proactively policed (If they can monitor UK supporters Over-Seas then how on earth did they miss this!). Yes it should be reported, but on the BBC World Report I saw - the same bottle over the same police cordon at least three times!??! ... Come on Auntie! ... Show it a few more times and we can definitely say goodbye to the WC! ... Get some balance will you ... Please restore my faith in you ... :-(

  • Comment number 83.

    #7 - "Thatcher invented the concept of football hooliganism..."

    Hmmmmmm. Haven't we now moved past the stage of blaming Thatcher for everything that's wrong in this country? I have - and had - no time for her politics but to blame hooliganism on her is pushing it a bit. Yes, arguably some of the violence could be attributed to the social deprivation at the time, which could be attributed to the government, but its the people that throw the punches who must take responsibility. Why do we always seem to blame politicians for the individual choices people make in this country?

    And to be honest, this seems to be the simple answer for what happened at Upton Park and beyond: Identify the culprits (much easier now than in the '80s), ban them from all football and from travelling to games abroad. Don't go making excuses like blaming it on Thatcher, the Police, the fixtures computer etc. Just send a clear message that hooliganism won't be tolerated, will be punished.

  • Comment number 84.

    "Will Upton Park violence scupper 2018 bid?"

    Oh we'd love that wouldn't we? Having someone to blame for not getting a world cup tournament played here? Then we could vilify West Ham and Millwall for ever and a day.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hopefully it will scupper the 2018 bid. Its bad enough having to pay for the Olympics let alone the World Cup.

  • Comment number 86.

    Why let a bunch of sad fat old gits spoil everyone else's enjoyment. Their waistlines betray the fact that we have a bunch of 1970's 17-year- olds who have not grown up - and never will.

  • Comment number 87.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 88.

    you don't see the same level of misbehaviour in Blackpool as you do in Ibiza or the Greek islands


    Yeah good example that, compare the boring English resort frequented by pensioners reliving their youth and families after a cheap weekend by the beach with some of the worlds most popular flocking points for teenagers and singles. That's definately a fair comparison.


  • Comment number 89.

    Hooliganism is a part of the game, albeit an unwelcome one and it is present in all footballing nations. It is no more endemic to Britian than it is in Spain or any other country. What we do see however is the inability of foreign police forces to deal with crowd trouble. They tend to over react and go in with excessive force at the first sign of trouble. The police in Britain are not perfect, but much more adept at dealing with crowd trouble.

  • Comment number 90.

    I find the media coverage on this somewhat absurd. This is an exaggeration of an incident to create a big story that can sell papers and act as headline news. One incidence of hooliganism in however many years and it is made the headline, with many people suggesting it will effect the World Cup bid. Of course this sort of incident isn't pleasant but nobody died and only one person stabbed.

    I wouldn't be surprised if FIFA use it as an excuse not to provide England with the hosting of the World Cup, because Blatter, Platini etc. seem to take any excuse to criticise england. England is one of the safest countries in general and as far as football is concerned too. Also, I believe the World Cup is taking place in South Africa next year - not quite the safest country to be in, with soaring murder and violence rates, but that doesn't matter because Enlgand had a bad night of hooliganism. Brazil is next to hold the World Cup; again, not the place I want to be if I want security.

    I won't find it surprising if england don't get the World Cup but if this is what stops it happening then I can only laugh

  • Comment number 91.

    The manchester riots of last year were the wake up call and nothing has been done about it.Stern action should have been taken then againt the club and the persons involved.That shameful night will be remembered for along time in the minds of UEFA.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    Many of the European leagues, e.g. Spain, Poland, Holland, Italy etc have a good deal more serious crowd trouble as regards racism, throwing scooters from the stands etc!!!

    This is not good news for the English game, on the other hand who else wants to hold the 2018 WC?
    Spain dogged by racism and when the clubs/hosting stadia actually are held to account, a fine of 1,500 euros is handed down (an insult) and nothing else is said.

    The USA had the EC in '94 so why should it get the comp again when the UK last hosted it in 1966? Not only that but "soccer" has nothing like the support in the US and will be barely noticed should the country host it.

    In Australia football also comes a lot further down the list than other sports and just doesn't have the venues of the UK/Premier League.
    No, apart from the media turning this into such a frenzy that "certain groups" of individuals reconsider this a hobby again then the media will have "created" this problem rather than helped it to just pass us by.

  • Comment number 94.

    Some appalling posts with no understanding of Ultras at all.

    Lets hope England doesn't get the World Cup in 2018. They certainly don't deserve it.

    Forza Platini.

  • Comment number 95.

    One thing I would like to argue against is the stereotype of the 'mindless, stupid yob' that people use to describe the hooligan.

    It's worth pointing out that many hooligans past and present are respectable, intelligent family men with high incomes during the week. Not at all are mindless, thick neanderthals.

  • Comment number 96.

    If this had happened at Millwalls ground the padlocks would have been on the gates by Wednesday morning. West Ham have many supporters within the press ranks so do not be surprised if this gets quietened down.

  • Comment number 97.

    Football hooliganism has been glamourised over the last few years. Rather like how the Kray's or Mad Frankie Fraser are seen as icons nowadays despite their crimes. In an attempt to portray with some sense of reality, films (Green Street, The Firm, ID) instead have show an edgy street reality that is attractive to a lot of misplaced working class youths. Books have been published by many an ex-hooligan (Diary of The Soul Crew) which has further glamourised hooliganism.
    WE have to bare in mind that the thing about Tuesday at West Ham was that there were many fat forty year olds covered in tattoos prancing around the pitch. It was tribal east end.
    Other countries have their problems. In Italy riots end in stabbings often. Their gangs are all powerful who control areas of the stadium where no official dare steps. Or we can look at Argentina's problems.
    As for affecting the World Cup bid? Next years world cup is in the murder capital of the world, South Africa. They have a all new concept of hooliganism.

  • Comment number 98.

    The answer is in the blog from Gordon, come down hard on West Ham and Millwall, make them take responsibility for the incidents that happened.
    Godon alludes to the fact that at Charleroi and that FIFA subsequently came down hard on England, threatening expulsion, and what happened, the FA got tough (banning orders etc).
    #41 alludes to the fact that these wern't real West Ham fans, i am supposing that in Charleroi that they wern't real England football fans either, but the FA got the message.
    By hitting both clubs where it hurts (pockets, possible suspensions), the clubs will have no choice (like the FA had) but to sort out it's problem element.

    The football league (their comp) could have helped on this game as well, problem matches in the leagues kick off at 12:00 ish at weekends to combat drinking, wasn't this an option in this case?

  • Comment number 99.

    #4: "It shouldn't do. This fixture always brings out the worms from the woodwork and it always will. It's actually nothing to do with football."

    I think the FA will be hoping just the same; after all, there's still quite a lot of time to go before the host is chosen, and the hope will be that, if it isn't repeated and the situation is dealt with quickly, all this will no longer be relevant when the votes are cast.

    The point, made by a number of contributors, that other countries have far greater problems is a sound one, but overlooks two important details:

    Firstly, that the impression - even if no longer the fact - of English hooliganism abroad is much more pronounced than for any other country, and it takes very little to inflame this; and,

    Secondly, if Australia are serious contenders (and the US, though I don't believe that they are, at least not for 2018), they will no doubt make clear that they have had never had a hooliganism problem of any kind, and that that gives them an advantage over all European candidates.

  • Comment number 100.

    There will always be some excuse for England not to host the world cup. Nobody wants us to have it - simple as. There is so much money at stake in re-developing countries that are not currently fit to host a world cup & they need hundreds of millions in developing & infrastructure (South Africa???)

    Why is it fair that a country can put in a bid that doesnt have the stadiums on infrastructure at the time of the bid? England could have hosted many a world cup since 66'.

    But we keep missing out cos of the old rotation system & because priority is now given to third world nations who use the world cup as boost to their economy. Meanwhile the FIFA bigwigs take the backhanders
    because of the building contracts involved. For England not to have the World Cup since 66 is a joke. If we fail 2018 then it will probably be another 20 years after that before we get a chance again.

    Italy & poland have the worst hooligan record of the last 20 years, Ask any England fan how you get treated in Rome by Roma fans Or ask any black player how they will get treated at the joint European Championship in Poland


Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.