BBC BLOGS - Ollie Williams
« Previous | Main | Next »

Crowd trouble club-by-club

Post categories:

Ollie Williams | 10:41 UK time, Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Violence at football matches of the kind witnessed outside and inside Upton Park at Tuesday's Carling Cup match between West Ham and Millwall has been thankfully rare in recent years.

But the Home Office keeps a record of every arrest relating to professional football in England and Wales, as well as banning orders handed out to persistent or serious offenders.

Each year, it publishes a club-by-club breakdown of arrests made, including the type of offence, ranging from ticket touting or pitch invasion to violent disorder or possession of a weapon.

So where do each team's supporters rank?

Cardiff fans on the pitch during game v Leeds in 2002
Cardiff and Leeds fans, who clashed in the FA Cup in 2002, fare badly in the statistics

Taking Tuesday's two sets of fans as examples, by November last year, 117 Millwall fans had been given banning orders. Only Leeds United (152) and Cardiff City (136) had more.

West Ham had 39 supporters with banning orders in the same list, in the middle of the table for Premier League clubs, which was headed by Portsmouth with 91.

The last set of figures published covers the 2007/08 season, but the Home Office online archive stretches back at least to 2001. You can download PDF files of the data here:

Statistics on football-related arrests and banning orders 2007-2008
Statistics on football-related arrests and banning orders 2006-2007
Statistics on football-related arrests and banning orders 2005-2006
Statistics on football-related arrests and banning orders 2004-2005
Statistics on football-related arrests and banning orders 2003-2004
Statistics on football-related arrests and banning orders 2002-2003
Statistics on football-related arrests and banning orders 2001-2002

Using all the links, you can see how arrests and banning orders for each team - and for whole divisions, the Football League and the Premier League - have changed so far this century.

For some additional context, there's also a helpful page from the University of Leicester listing figures for arrests at football matches from the 1986/87 season through to 1998/99.

Broadly, the trend shows violence at football matches continues to fall - or at least, arrests do.

In 1988/89 there were just over 6,000 arrests at games in England and Wales. There were 3,842 arrests in 2007/08.

Football hooliganism over the last five years

The University of Leicester points out that hooliganism has long been more of a problem outside grounds than inside and the Home Office figures suggest around six in every 10 arrests are made outside the stadium.

But two-thirds of games manage to pass off without a single arrest being made.

It's difficult to draw many conclusions about individual teams without spending time properly analysing the data, but I've pulled out some more info from these files and added it below - add a comment if you find anything else interesting.

In terms of arrests at matches, Manchester United fans were the biggest offenders looking at the raw data, with 248 supporters arrested in 07/08.

That doesn't take into account the club's larger attendances - and dividing by home attendance won't work, since arrest figures include their supporters at away matches (and it's largely away fans causing the trouble), so it's unfair to simply label United fans as the worst-behaved without really crunching the numbers.

Reading and Fulham can both be proud of largely unblemished records in the top flight that season, though, accounting for just 31 arrests between them.

Almost a third of Birmingham fans' 99 arrests were for the serious offence of violent disorder, far more than for any other top-flight team.

Further down the divisions, Cambridge United's figure of 16 arrests stands out in the Conference National, while Chesterfield had the highest number of arrests in League Two.

Leeds fans recorded more arrests than those of any other professional team, with the exception of Manchester United. (Though again, remember their home attendances and away support will have been higher - not that this entirely accounts for the figure of 156 arrests.)

It's interesting that the figure for Leeds has increased by 52 since the 2002/03 season, when Leeds were in the Premier League.

Millwall's figure for arrests has increased from 18 to 78 in that time. One Millwall fan was arrested for a public disorder offence in 2002/03; 40 supporters were arrested for the same offence in 2007/08.

However, when publishing these figures in 2008, the Home Office said the last four years had seen "the lowest number of football-related arrests since records begun".

Is violence at football matches on the way down, despite events at Upton Park, and do all these stats reflect your experiences at matches?


Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Don't you do the weather reports on Family Guy?

    Anyway, are the results for Cardiff City this year? Because things seem to me to have improved alot over the last decade or so.

  • Comment number 2.

    What a stupid article. It's these sorts of league tables the mindless idiots who attach themselves to football feel proud about !

    Why couldn't you have pointed out that millions watch football games in this country each year and the proportion of violence and arrests is miniscule in relation and also far less than what you would see any Friday or Saturday night up and down the country miles away from football grounds.

  • Comment number 3.

    One very clear trend is the higher level of arrests at Cup games relative to league matches. There are fewer season ticket holders in attendance and more one-offs, and the (usually)cheaper tickets means a wider - and often younger - audience can attend. While this obviously has its good side, the evident bad side is that the matches become open to the yob element. Hopefully the response to last night's shameful events will take this into account.

  • Comment number 4.

    Re: the passage which reads, "it's unfair to simply label United fans as the worst-behaved without really crunching the numbers.", apart from the appalling grammar which preceeds it, the comment is in itself a non-sequitor because clubs receive roughly (or exactly)the same allocation of away tickets and so if one club's fans misbehave more than any other anway from home they are necessarily the worst offenders.

    A stooge's attempt at apologising for United's poorly behaved fans who have never successfully shaken off their well-deserved reputation earned in the 1970s.

  • Comment number 5.

    Another pointless home office report I see.

    If the number of fans arrested cannot be properly shown as a percentage of fans attending then the report is pointless.

    Man Utd are top of the league when it comes to 'numbers arrested' and yet their home attendance figures was over 1.4million for the league alone. To show them as the highest offenders is spinning the figures in such a simple way that even our government wouldn't think we were stupid enough to read it (oh hold on, they came from the Home Office).

    Please can I point out that I am NOT a Man Utd fan in anyway shape or form.

  • Comment number 6.

    Disgusting behaviour by a small minority of West Ham and Millwall fans. I won't label all of them as bad, as many people seem to do with my team, Cardiff.

    Lucky neither team was a Welsh club as people would be calling for them to be chucked out of the league.

  • Comment number 7.

    The most interesting aspect of the data seems to point towards a general downturn of instances in violence since 1999 but a slight upswing in figures for the last two years.

    This is perhaps a negligible statistic but it strikes me that this slight upswing in arrests has coincided with the development of problems in the economy.

    The 70s and 80s were dominated by violence amongst blue collar workers at football matches during troubled economic times - namely a struggling job market.

    The question therefore is - what is the correlation between fan behaviour and fluctuations in the economy?

    Is it the case that men aged 16-40 are more likely to seek a release from day to day struggles for the adrenaline rush created by what is essentially a form of tribal warfare?

    Would be interesting to see what you all think of this!

  • Comment number 8.

    When I saw it was west ham v millwall i expected noting less last night.

  • Comment number 9.

    No, football violence is not getting worse. Anybody who knows anything about football culture would have predicted that the first time WH and Millwall play each other in an evening match for years there will be a bit of trouble. I can’t believe people are surprised.

    With respect to the arrests/official stats, they are absolute rubbish. Basically they come down to how efficient/over zealous/confident the stewards are at each ground. I went to watch my local team on 1st day of season and there were 12 arrests for a slight bit of bother. So far there have been 10 arrests made last night. Does that mean there was more trouble at Swindon v Gills, I think not. If I was a steward at Cardiff/Millwall/Stoke etc the last thing I would do is wade in to arrest people, same goes for the police. The stats cannot be trutsed

  • Comment number 10.

    Ollie, you say that you need to crunch the numbers in terms of arrests. You need to be careful with banning order stats, too. Millwall has effectively adopted a zero-tolerance approach, whereby anyone going on the pitch is immediately arrested and served with a banning order. Judging by the fact that West Ham fans went back to their seats last night after invading the pitch, this approach isn't taken everywhere else.

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

    Where can I find similar stats for the Scottish Leagues?

  • Comment number 13.

    Not sure ranking each hooligan element is the best approach here. There are some clubs that are notorious for violence and we all know who they are and the names of their hooligan element: Man Utd's Red Army, Millwall Bushwhackers, Chelsea Headhunters, West Ham Inter City Firm, Leeds Service Crew etc etc, and we all knew that yesterday's match between West Ham and Millwall would bring two of those teams together. There was violence between Spurs and West Ham fans after their match on Sunday but I'm guessing not enough to get published. At the end of the day you know certain games are worse than others and seem to attract the hooligan elements of each team (and every team seem to have them): Rangers v Celtic, Leeds v Man Utd, Cardiff v Swansea, West Ham v Millwall, Bristol City v Bristol Rovers, Man Utd v West Ham, Chelsea v Spurs, Birmingham v Aston Villa, and many other derby matches. You know there is almost certainly going to be trouble at these matches, and each time there is trouble it seems to be used as an excuse for the violence the next time the two teams play. I would really hate to lose the atmostphere of away fans, but other than making them "home fan" only, I don't really know what else you can do.

  • Comment number 14.

    Hmm interesting data, I'll need to look into it a lot more before commenting really, but from looking at the 06/07 and 07/08 reports, there doesn't seem any indication of how many were (arrests) as a result of "organised" violence. I mean it's all well and good that people are arrested for violent conduct or alcohol offences, but what makes that any different from those idiots that start fights in pubs over nothing? or after getting out of a club? That is not exclusive to football. And it would not be fair to look at these arrests as simple indication of violence caused "by" football. I do think there is a real difference. I mean how many people are arrested every night because of public disorder alone, away from matches?

    For me; I've seen more violence from drunken idiots outside/inside pubs (not football related in anyway) in one year than I have in all the time I've been watching football in this country (since 1992).

    Also these reports include Ticket Touting, while these guys are breaking the law, it's got nothing to do with hooligans. So there needs to be more detail and isolation of actual hooligan related offences to make any real sense in the context of last night.

    The point I'm trying to make is, this data while interesting and yes showing a fall in over all crime in and around football matches has been falling, is not set out or detailed enough to talk about it in the context of organised football violence (aka hooliganism). Simply pointing out the data is not good enough way of analysing this issue I believe.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain

  • Comment number 16.

    The trouble will never go away too many people involved of all ages. These events are sometimes largely unreported and many of the incidents happen several miles from games. Clubs cannot be held to blame usually. It is simply that certain people identify themselves with certain clubs. Millwall have had problems for 40 years despite banning orders etc which do not seem to work.

  • Comment number 17.

    Pathetic, these idiots have seen too many Danny Dyer films. And what is wrong with Kenny Jacket? his childish defence of Millwall fans did little to ease the tensions which were based, in the first place on a very basic tribal mentality. It reminds me of a man defending his young son in a schoolyard fight.

  • Comment number 18.

    Aren't Reading and Fulham fans an amiable lot?

  • Comment number 19.

    Are you kidding me? on one hand the BBC is condemning the way that people see football related violence as a badge of honour and a source of notoriety and on the other you print league tables!!

  • Comment number 20.

    I think we have to be careful when looking at this data. I think you have to put the numbers into perspective against the team's total fan base. For example, the high number of incidents with Leeds vs the rest of League One should take into account the fan base of the club. The average attendance at Leeds is approx. 3-4 times larger than the average attendance in that league. Multiply the other clubs incidents by 3 would provide a more fair assessment.

    I think you also have to bear in mind (and I think the Home Office and West Yorkshire Police would support this) is that Leeds United accepted they had a fan violence problem and actively tackle it, using technology such as CCTV to allow them to identify and take action against individuals, hence the high number of banning orders.
    In the lower leagues especially, many clubs don't have the infrastructure (and I agree not as many incidents), so don't have the latest technology to pick up and prosecute individuals. As a result at some clubs, less are successfully identified and prosecuted.

    Although the high numbers are worrying, I think to some extent it shows that the vigilance in place is working and people are being prosecuted. In an ideal world there would be no need to be so vigilant, but in reality, there are some bad eggs. Without some of the current mechanisms in place, I think there would be more trouble at a lot of clubs and that the high number of prosecutions show that processes are working.

  • Comment number 21.

    No surprise that is a heavily moderated blog!

  • Comment number 22.



  • Comment number 23.

    completely pointless stats...
    let's see the same stats expressed as a percentage of the total number of supporters attending each clubs' games (home and away) and see where the real problems lie!

  • Comment number 24.

    If anyones seen Green Street then they wouldv known that last night was almost a certainty. I bet Frodo was out with all the hobbits.

  • Comment number 25.

    The figures aren't really correct. Arrests can only be classed as football related if they are within a certain radius of the ground. Anywhere else they are classed as civil even if the people arrested are football fans. Don't know if it is the same now but there used to be a lot of trouble at the railway stations in Manchester after the game. These arrests would not be added to the football related stats.

  • Comment number 26.

    No-one will blame West Ham for last night, because pitch invasion + hours of fighting outside + 'surges' from the corners to fight Police and Stewards still doesnt add up to a sum greater than Sir Trevor Brooking batting for your team.

  • Comment number 27.

    A friend & I were discussing this last night after I got back from the West Ham game. We both agreed that the problem won't go away, mainly due to the fact that a certain element of people seem unable to want to, or be able to, control themselves & behave responsibly.
    They then drink too much & simply enjoy having a fight, as is evidenced in every town and city up & down the country every single Friday & Saturday night.

    So rather than pushing them underground and making it harder for the police to do their jobs effectively, also increasing the likelihood of people who simply want to watch their team & have nothing to do with wanting to partake in violence getting attacked & injured in the process, why not give the yobs a designated field or car-park somewhere, let them beat ten bells out of each other, miles away from the general public and the everyday match going fans, send enough police to ensure that none of it comes outside, and any who do go outside of the designated area get arrested and then prosecuted to the full extent of the law with full term tough sentences.

    That way, match going fans can enjoy the game without intimidation or fear, and the mindless thugs can do whatever it is that they do to each other, and everyone goes home happy.

    Surely this would make policing games easier as all the trouble would be in one location, it should also ensure that the game itself goes off without incident & no innocents are harmed or put in harms way.
    Or is this too simplistic a view?

    Cue all the bleeding heart liberal lefties coming out in vehement response....

  • Comment number 28.

    I knew this fixture would be a problem, as already stated, people have watched the Football Factory, and taken it as a bible. I liked the film, but knew it would ensite football vilolence from the various thugs from each club.
    Its a shame because this incident will now make every decent fan in England and Wales look like thugs, to all those who have an issue with England/football. This is ammunition for those groups, and will make travelling England fans in Europe suffer a hard time/bad reputation. These complete idiots are ruining it for everyone. Chavs.

  • Comment number 29.

    To the guy who posted at 1:05 ...... IT'S RAINING SIDEWAYS!!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Leeds fans recorded more arrests than those of any other professional team, with the exception of Manchester United. (Though again, remember their home attendances and away support will have been higher - not that this entirely accounts for the figure of 156 arrests.)

    It's interesting that the figure for Leeds has increased by 52 since the 2002/03 season, when Leeds were in the Premier League.

    So we have it, Man U are the exceptoin when it comes to negative news.
    Say`s it all about the press coverage especially on the BBC.
    These figures can also be taken another way , the clubs with higher banning orders arrests etc are doing somthing about it hence the high figure`s ,whereas others don`t

  • Comment number 31.

    Why do the bloggers never quote stats as a percentage to put them in context?? Because that way there is no headline. Please if you're going to write an article based on the violence in football give me a perspective to read about, anyone could pull up these figures given enough time. What do you propose as a solution? Why do you think these numbers are rising? What is the percentage increase in arrests compared to the increase in attendances for these seasons?

    Surely if more people are going to the games then there are bound to be more arrests assuming the proportion of real fans and fight fans stays similar. Using Manchester united as an example, as you have done, then even comparing the total arrests in a season to ONE matchday attendance works out to be less than 0.003% of people at the game and INSIDE the ground. If for example, Man Utd were to adopt a zero tolerance stance to this and ban any individual arrested or invading the pitch, surely they wouldn't lose out financially one little jot!! There would be plenty of people, decent people, who don't buy into the tribal nature of this display willing to pay for a ticket to watch their team as a true fan.

  • Comment number 32.

    The last time I saw any significant trouble at a match was the last time Milwall visited Maine Road several years ago (maybe 10 years). Prior to that I saw a horrendous running fight between West Ham and Spurs fans in about 1982.
    I've had a Season Ticket at Maine Road/Eastlands for many years and as a North East resident have also been to many games at Newcastle and Sunderland as a neutral and have been to many grounds nationwide as an away fan.
    There is very little violence to be seen at grounds thankfully, it's away from the action that organised scum attached to a few clubs indulge in their thuggery. Unfortunately, Millwall can't shake off their sadistic fringe supporters.

  • Comment number 33.

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

  • Comment number 34.

    You forgot to put Chesterfield in bold. Once again, we're the forgotten club ㅠㅠ

  • Comment number 35.

    You have provided the stats from the Home Office yet this can't be deemed to be accurate.

    Lincoln banning orders:
    2006/07 33
    2007/08 36
    2008/09 31
    2009/10 28

    These stats were provided on 19th August 2009 under the Freedom Of Information Act.

  • Comment number 36.

    Lets be honest here. I would have been more surprised if a West Ham Millwall game had passed off peacefully. Did you saee the age of some of the fans there? They were legacy 1980's fans who sit quietly waiting exactly for this type of game to come along.

  • Comment number 37.

    Why aren't the stats. published for racially motivated trouble, or does the government, and the BBC, want to suppress that information?

  • Comment number 38.

    #1 EggFriedRuss - The data is for 2007/08. As far as I can tell, new figures come out each October so the next set should appear fairly soon.

    #2 ChocolateBoxKid (and #19 PidgeGULL) - This data is freely available from the Home Office and while a few idiots might see it as a badge of honour, for most of us it serves to show how the police view and record football violence in the UK, which I think is well worth a look.

    #3 ctyankee1 - More arrests at Cup games than league is a good spot, good reasoning too. Thanks for pointing it out.

    #4 pauljosephreilly - I'm not in the business of apologising unnecessarily on behalf of Manchester United fans, believe me. I'm not saying United fans are NOT the worst-behaved... just that it'd require more analysis to confirm it, beyond the vague nature of some of the Home Office figures.

    Which brings me on to #23 ZEUSFC who is absolutely right that these stats need expressing as a percentage of various attendance figures - I'm keen to do that, but having trouble finding figures that are comprehensive enough. If anyone knows a site with good details for away attendances, i.e. how many fans clubs took to each away game in a season, that'd be really helpful.

    #7 paultheinfamous - My colleague Bella mentioned that straight away. Not too sure about it myself but that's a great sports sociology dissertation for somebody. The BBC News website's Recession Tracker has all the recession stats you could need if you fancy researching it!

    #9 soto2003 - Interesting point about the stewarding. The stats aren't rubbish but any in-depth analysis would need very close reading allied with a good knowledge of individual clubs' circumstances, as #10 silver-white points out with reference to Millwall.

    A couple of people asked about Scottish stats - I haven't been able to find any but I'll have another go.

    #31 FootyWins -The stats do require more context than is given in the Home Office data, but not sure just adding percentages in is going to help. As above, if I can get hold of the relevant attendance data (home and away) for each club, that'll be a start. But this morning I was just keen to pop some links to the Home Office's raw data on the blog and see what people made of it. (And it's 0.3%, not 0.003%, in your example - still small, but different... and a reason why percentages don't necessarily help!)

  • Comment number 39.

    Celtic FC had the most arrests in Britain not long ago.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Oh come on. We're not living in the days of Heysel or Hillsborough anymore. Things are slightly better nowadays, despite what happened the other night (a rare occurance these days)."

    The Hillsborough disaster was not a result of fan violence or hooliganism.

  • Comment number 41.

    Ollie - Unfortunately, you'll struggle to get accurate figures for numbers of fans brought by clubs to away games. As an example, I'm a Leeds fan based in the south. In reality what happens is that because I'm not a season ticket holder, I don't have a chance of getting an official Leeds away enclosure ticket becuase the alloted tickets are always sold out to the season ticket holders. However, in the lower leagues, you can usually get home tickets quite easily and often sold on the gate, so fans like myself go into the home enclosure. I've never seen any trouble caused by this and it makes good money for the home club, so that's fine. But it really distorts any chance of getting accurate home/away attendance stats - (i) becuase only the official away fans are counted as away support and (ii) because although I'm an away fan, I'm recorded as a home fan because I've got a home ticket. Errr I hope that makes sense.

    Good luck though!!

  • Comment number 42.

    Yeah typical. Football violence involving 2 London teams yet the article has a picture of Cardiff City fans. Guess our reputation will never leave us.

    Has anyone actually considered that the reason our banning orders are so high and I'm pretty certain this is the same for Leeds is because of a zero tolerance attitude towards any improper behavior at the grounds. We are all trying to improve our repuatations and make football more of a family atmosphere.

    We may not be saints however we are going about it the right way. I just hope scenes like last night dont bring the idiots back to other clubs!

  • Comment number 43.

    #34 evilbish - Dreadful error, duly corrected. One of my favourite grounds, never forgotten...

    #35 Lincolnsmariner - Shows you stats can't ever be relied upon TOO heavily, hence the question in the blog asking if fans' experiences match up with the Home Office figures. Your FOI request might be right, the Home Office might be right, or they might both be wrong! All sorts of factors like access to data, data being lost, human error, differences in recording or methodology... etc etc.

    There's a very good book I'm reading at the moment, by Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot, called The Tiger That Isn't - explaining ways of dealing with statistics without misrepresenting or undermining them. Blastland is a genius (and a BBC columnist), I wouldn't mind him having a look through the figures once we've added attendance data to it.

    #41 mysteriousSgtWilko - Good point and does indeed make sense. But at least some kind of official "away attendance" figure would help in giving context, even if it wasn't 100% accurate.

  • Comment number 44.

    It's a non-story for me being blown up as per

    So a bit of a pitch invasion. A bit of a rumble. These things happen... not a lot now, but they will always happen.

  • Comment number 45.

    I'd just like to put a positive comment in as well. It's not all doom and gloom. I saw an article on the Wycombe Wanderers site where a number of Leeds fans had wrote to Wycombe about how well they were treated by the stewards at Wycombe and how impressive they were, as opposed to being treated harshly by some clubs because of the Leeds' fans (possibly understandable with some individuals) reputation. There was no trouble and it was a good game.

    I remember a couple of years back that I was at Southend for the game against Leeds. It was a big game with relegation looming for either club that lost. It was a sold out game at roots Hall. I got a ticket in Southend family enclosure and also had a spare ticket which I sold to a Southend fan for face value (£20). He'd driven up all the way from London, just in case there was anyone selling a ticket. He was willing to pay £60 I found out! Never mind.

    Anyway, stood with him in the Southend enclosure and absolutely no problems. After the game there were no segregations in the pubs and Leeds and Southend fans mixed happily discussing the game. No problems, both sets of fans enjoyed it and a good day out. It's not all bad and it should be pointed out that the troublemakers are a very very small minority and I reckon the atmosphere at games in England are much more friendly compared to in other countries in EU.

    Hope this doesn't affect 2018: Back the Bid. But it probably will.

  • Comment number 46.

    Re Pauljosephreily's comment:

    Re: the passage which reads, "it's unfair to simply label United fans as the worst-behaved without really crunching the numbers.", apart from the appalling grammar which preceeds it, the comment is in itself a non-sequitor.

    The spelling of "preceeds" and the spelling (and hyphenation) of "non-sequitor" are just as appalling as the "appalling grammar" referred to.

  • Comment number 47.


    Fair point about using only percentages not giving an ideal context, but it does show just what a small minority of people it is making the headlines in this game. My point was, as a blog, surely there is meant to be more insight than just quoting the statistics that anyone could find themselves? I seems to me that all you have done is give bragging right to those who glorify this type of diabolical scene? However I understand that your editor probably wanted something up quick smart as this happened only last night, not giving you time to make this type of analysis.

    Yeah ok, you got me there!! I messed up on that one with the numbers :o). But this is 0.3% when comparing a seasons arrests to just one home match. When comparing it to a seasons attendance, it just goes to show that the majority of people in attendance to games are there to support their team.

    It would be interesting to see where Britain really lies in a global context too. How many arrests are made in Britain compared to other nations relating to football violence?

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    West ham United v Millwall
    My immediate thoughts when this tie was drawn.
    TROUBLE ...

  • Comment number 50.

    Every thought why rugby doesn't have this problem? It's simply because the football fanbase is full of uneducated thugs who have no respect for other people - did you see the people caught on camera last night? Repulsive chavs - I would gladly cross the street not to have to look or cross paths with that sort of person. For the record I'm a season ticket holder at a Premiership club before I get accused of being anti-football. It's a sad reflection on society.

  • Comment number 51.

    United is the highest because any trouble makers are spotted out by other fans, they want he club to remain family based, its the leeds and milwall clubs which protect their hooligans and most bans will be due to away fixtures and not many due to violence at their clubs!

  • Comment number 52.

    I am West Ham through and through, I am proud of the teams performance last night coming from a goal behind after (lets face it) a poor 1st half performance. But the actions of those involved are deplorable.

    I along with everyone else was totally disgusted by the actions of a certain group of West Ham supporters who used this game as a pre-tense to cause trouble the likes of which we haven't seen since the mid 1980's

    I cannot stress that the widespread disgust that is currently held to West Ham and Millwall at the moment, is also felt by the honest fans within our clubs, as a genuine law abiding supporter I take great pain in being tarred with the same brush as those mindless hooligans as seen last night.

    The majority of West Ham fans (including myself) and Millwall fans are honest genuine people who go to Upton Park and the Den respectively to watch a game of football, it is for these people I feel for. We are effectively deemed as trouble makers because of our affiliation with our clubs.

    Those involved should be identified and banned from football for life, they have no place in our club or in football in general.

  • Comment number 53.

    Ollie, how did you get a blog spot on the BBC? I would love to voice my own opinions. Cheers.

  • Comment number 54.

    This REALLY is the worst thing you could have done. I can appreciate the news factor because it has been so long since hooliganism has reared its head (in terms of a premiership club - or old first division).

    But you given these neanderthals a platform and worse than that ... you've published their rating!.

    This irresponsibility beggars belief, can you not see that the one-eye-brow, cauliflower-eared, pot-bellied brigade will see this as a target? Apart from the grunts from Leeds of course who sit on their infamous peak looking down at the other monkeys (apologies to the ape kingdom).

  • Comment number 55.

    Not surprised to see Wolves so high up. 3rd highest arrests overall for 07/08. Saw some awfull behaviour last season at away games. Got a late train after Forest away and an entire carriage was set aside fo those arrested during the match.

  • Comment number 56.

    mysterioussgtwilko makes a good point that I would back up re away fans. When ive watched my local side (ipswich) against Man U. There is a huge number of southern reds in the home ends next to the official away fans.

    If this is replicated at all grounds, it would help to explain why so many Utd fans have had their collar felt for a few reasons,

    1) More of them

    2) There in with home fans

    3) They generally win annoying the home fans

    4) Some are very cheeky!

  • Comment number 57.

    get me some soup... CHUNKY!!!!

  • Comment number 58.

    The problem with the Leeds reputation is it has cleared up much more than people think
    The only trouble we've had is v Milwall, which was predictable.

    But the problem is that if they arrest someone in Leeds City Centre who they THINK is linked with the Leeds fans, it's an arrest. When it was Leeds v Milwall on a Monday night they were saying they made 14 arrests. But they were all in the city centre, nobody can be sure they were Leeds fans.

  • Comment number 59.

    If you have ever been to Old Trafford as an away supporter you will know that the police funnel you out of a single exit and allow the mancs to take pot shots at you across the lines of police. There are never any arrests for this activity unless its for retaliation of course. Must come as part of the entertainment along with the prawn sandwiches certainly doesn't reflect the welcome or the true stats on behaviour and activities.

  • Comment number 60.

    One steward said this morgen on Radio 5 that there were many monkey chants in the stadium. I would like to know why this is not being reported in the media and if there will be charges against the offenders for this racist abuse

  • Comment number 61.

    Reading the BBC report the following organisations will/want to be involved in any inquiry:

    The FA
    The Police
    West Ham FC
    Millwall FC
    Sports Minister - Gerry Suttcliffe
    The Football League (as sponsors)
    Football Supporters Federation

    No wonder that nothing will be achieved - West Ham expect a fine and stop your supporters fighting and causing trouble miles away from your ground!!

    Happy days!!

  • Comment number 62.

    ha the weatherman from family guy, thanks for making me chuckle and remember ollie williams

  • Comment number 63.

    Well, those stats show nothing we didn't expect do they. Cardiff, Leeds, Millwall and Man U being the worst offenders.

    However, we're looking at the wider picture for an isolated incident, and the sheer fact that out of nearly 30,000,000 attendances, only 0.0096% have been arrested is a testament to the millions of peaceful fans that go, and not the small minority of idiots like last night, that ruin the fun for everyone.

    People are saying we shouldn't punish the clubs for what happened. Unfortunately, penalising the teams seems to be the only solution to show these fans that there are consequences to their childish, immature, boorish actions.

  • Comment number 64.

    "Now it's over to Black-u-Weather reporter Ollie Williams to give us an update on the stats. How's it going, Ollie?"


    "Thanks, Ollie"

    Sorry, couldn't resist a little Family guy joke's interesting to see how these stats change over the years...Manchester United have their own holding cells at Old Trafford, but say that on any given match day there's generally very little need to use average of 3 arrests inside the stadium each game. Obviously the vast majority of trouble at any game occurs outside the grounds, where there's less segregation and it's harder to control where everyone goes. Policing strategies need to be looked at, and maybe clubs need to devise proper exit strategies for home and away fans to ensure minimal disruption before and after games. In the case of West Ham v Millwall, the clubs and police surely knew there would be trouble, so why weren't Millwall fans held inside the ground for a time period to allow West Ham fans to be dispersed properly? I'm disappointed in the policing strategy for high-risk games, and this desperately needs to be addressed.

  • Comment number 65.

    I am finding it very difficult to judge which clubs to feel slightly more or less outraged by, relative to one another. As a thick hooligan, I think it would be beneficial for the Home Office to present these statistics in a more familiar format which I, and mindless thugs like me, would find find easier to follow - Perhaps some kind of league table?

  • Comment number 66.

    I find behaviour like this really really frightening and cant believe we are the same species. It makes me depressed to watch it and see what fun the lads seem to be having by seeing who is the hardest.Is that what life is really about for them? It also to me seemed to be an awful lot of people rather than a small minority. Especially if you include the people who didnt fight but sang encouragement from the stands. It aint really about football is it? take football away and these sorts will still find a way of creating fear and violence somewhere else. Might as well keep it in football so the poor police know where it is going to happen. Just depressing and much bigger than football

  • Comment number 67.

    #47 FootyWins - It would be interesting to know how many other nations keep statistics in a similar fashion. I suspect the UK (or England and Wales, at least), may be one of a select few who keep detailed records of football-related arrests, probably as a result of the media scrutiny hooliganism gets here. So it might be tricky finding comparable data elsewhere but it's a good suggestion, I'll see what I can find.

    #50 richakn - Stats on arrests at rugby matches would make an interesting comparison. I'll try to get them.

    #52 jjonesy86 - Really good comment.

    #54 The CynicalSasquatch - I disagree (obviously, otherwise I wouldn't have written it). I don't think Home Office stats are what motivates football hooligans. Not one person has tried leaving a comment celebrating a club's record of violence, which could suggest either none of them have read it, or none of them are motivated to point out the "achievement".

    I'm sure there are a few who will think it's either funny or impressive, but I don't think reading this will turn anyone who wasn't already a hooligan into part of the problem. And it's a shame if we can't discuss things like this for fear of further encouraging it.

  • Comment number 68.

    Ollie, unfortunately, i see your name and just think,



  • Comment number 69.

    There will be only one winner in this & that winner is FOOTBALL,

  • Comment number 70.

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

  • Comment number 71.

    Interesting article. I think that a good formula for compiling league tables on hooliganism would be to divide the amount of arrests by the average away attendance for away incidents, and by the average home attendances for home incidents, then multiply by 100. Though the percentages would be very low, it would be possible to work out which team actually has the most badly behaved fans.

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    'But you given these neanderthals a platform and worse than that ... you've published their rating!.'

    Do you honestly think these individuals will be reading this? If you published it in The Sport or The Sun then maybe....but I doubt many of them can read.

    Very interesting article.

  • Comment number 74.

    To all those "appalled" WH and Millwall fans saying something must be done:
    These are your teams, its time you stood up and point the finger. Tell the police who they are, tell some racist thug to shut up, start a chant. Apathy is the greatest weapon that evil possesses.
    Reclaim your team!
    Writing how upset you are on a blog achieves nothing.

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    #17 Kenny Jackett was defending the majority of Millwall fans in the stadium who didn't do anything. Anything outside the stadium is nothing to do with football and will be dealt with by the police.

  • Comment number 77.

    Is London trying to dumb down the violence that erupted last night? Just over 12 months ago, every national newspaper and television broadcaster were on the hunt for Rangers fans who caused trouble in Manchester. Why haven't we seen any cctv coverage of what happened in London's east end yet?

    As for the statistics, it has been estimated at least 150,000 Rangers fans were in Manchester for the UEFA Cup final and approximately 40 were arrested, making that one arrest for every 3750 fans. I wonder how many of the West Ham/Millwall thugs will be brought to justice.

  • Comment number 78.

    The data doesn't show anything. The vast majority of arrests for nearly all clubs falls in to "Public Disorder" and "Alcohol Related". You might as well have "Being Naughty" and "Being Naughty While Drunk". Assuming that none of these two catagories contain violent or racist behaviour (those are different catagories) it's really not constructive to their being "football" hooliganism on the rise or not.

    Stick 30,000 people in one place for 2 hours in a non football related environment and see how many arrests are made.

    People from all levels of society and various ages follow football every weekend with passion. Many 100,000's of thousands of people. That many people is simply a cross section of British society and like every society, there are small groups of morons that act like thugs and cause problems.

    The numbers of arrests simply are a drop in the ocean compared to the numbers of people attending the games.

  • Comment number 79.

    The underlying facts seem to be that football violence is a continuing, but now relatively minor, problem, and that overall disorder is actually impressively low considering the tribal nature of football and the demographics disproportionately attracted to it. I'd love to see comparative figures for concerts (the only gatherings I can think to rival sporting fixtures in this regard - see #78).

    The number of Manchester United away arrests is definitely a concern, well spotted #4 (the size of United's fanbase is relevant, but won't come close to explaining a discrepency this big in away fan arrests).

    It is certainly worth reading this - what we learn from it is slightly unclear as this discussion proves, but it is valuable that this is public-domain material in my opinion.

  • Comment number 80.

    Violence has always been a apart of this countrys make up, there was fighing in the streets in Victorian times, where does the word hooligan come from???

    I really cant believe people are shocked by this. Its West Ham v Millwall!!! Police have just been caught with there pants down as the only had short time to prepare for this match

    Anyway one rule for the football hooligan, one rule for the green\lefty\socialist\g20 demonstrator, didn't see anyone from the media condeming the protestors when they were inciting trouble a few months back

    I am sorry someone got stabbed as the is no need for that

    But, i;m sure most people are quietly would agree that some of the Met actually deserved a kicking after there antics recently!!!

  • Comment number 81.

    Bunch of morons fighting

  • Comment number 82.

    Listing the number of arrests is just stupid. I used to stand in the middle trying to keep the two sides apart, and arresting someone was out of the question.
    The police know this very well, but by saying 'no arrests' they give the impression that nothing happened, or if it did, it wasn't much. In my day, this became so ridiculous that someone from HQ handed a pile of incident reports to the press, and the whistle was well and truly blown on the lies and disinformation.
    Did you all miss the Leeds/Millwall/Donal McIntyre CCTV documentary ? It's on Youtube. Watch it and then claim this was a one-off.

  • Comment number 83.

    Leeds, Millwall, Cardiff. Their genuine fans suffer but they do seem to have a higher percentage of thugs. The stats agree as do thousands of other clubs fans.

  • Comment number 84.

    I've been a wolves fan for 40 years and before looking at the stats my experience would tell me that Millwall, cardiff, Leeds, Man Utd and Chelsea and Nottingham Forest cause the most trouble and always have. Wolves are no angels but those 6 stand out and its not because their crowds are larger.

  • Comment number 85.

    51. At 4:24pm on 26 Aug 2009, MostonHead wrote:
    United is the highest because any trouble makers are spotted out by other fans, they want he club to remain family based, its the leeds and milwall clubs which protect their hooligans and most bans will be due to away fixtures and not many due to violence at their clubs!
    This is just utter ignorance! Neither Millwall nor Leeds "protect" their hooligans. Both run membership schemes, where only members and season ticket holders can purchase tickets to away games, and the tickets are one per card-carrying member.

    Speaking for Millwall, at home games, there is absolute zero-tolerance to setting foot on the pitch and there is a very high police presence for mots games, let alon high profile ones - which are always all-ticket. Away fans are usually kept behind after the match for at least 30minutes and longer, and any having to go through the underground after high profile matches are escorted by the police.

    The arrests and banning orders come as a direct result of the zero-tolerance policy, and I suspect that at other clubs, leniency may play a small part in the discrepancy in the figures. Socio-ecomonic aspects will also play a part if you bear in mind the respective histories of clubs like Millwall (dockers), West Ham (east end factories), Leeds United (mines), etc.

    Overzealous policing can be a factor - but as an amusing aside, against Forest about 15 years ago a couple of youngsters in the Cold Blow Lane End ran onto the pitch to celebrate a goal, only to be chased by two policemen. The youngsters hurdled the advertising boards, pursued by the police, one of whom was slightly less athletic, tripped on the board and fell flat on his face - much to the amusement of the full stand behind the goal with a perfect view of the action.

  • Comment number 86.

    I am afraid that the sad misfits that get their kicks from a puch up with a stranger will only see these statistics as an opportunity to improve their position in the rankings.

    The West Ham and Millwall game was seen as an opportunity for all the local hooligans, football type or otherwise, to turn up for a ruck.

    It was no surprise to anyone who has been around football in the last twenty years, and was one of the most tediously predictable outcomes.

  • Comment number 87.

    Leeds, Millwall, Cardiff. The usual suspects, but Glasgow Rangers fans would do well in a pole of the vilest supporters on earth. They hold the most negative views of any fans I have ever talked to, finding reasons to despise virtually every other club and city that has the misfortune to host their neanderthal bigotry. Just ask any other Scottish supporters, and not just Celtic.

  • Comment number 88.

    A very good and interesting blog. Well done.

  • Comment number 89.

    Good to see people sill looking that the high level and drawing snap conclusions then.

    I am a Cardiff fan and can't hide from the fact that they had more arrests at matches during the 07/08 season than others. It's shameful. However, 90 over the entire year compared to the tens of thousands of fans that attended a single match, let alone over the entire season...

    Anyway...lets look at the stats for Cardiff for last year...

    62 - Pubilc Disorder - It's not defined what this means...
    20 - Alcohol Related - Again, not very clear
    4 - Offences to property - Vandalism
    2 - violent conduct - More like the hooliganism people imagine
    2 - breaching banning order
    0 - Missile Throwing
    0 - Racist Chanting
    0 - Pitch Incursion
    0 - possessing offensive weapon

    It's pretty bad...but lets single out "violent conduct" and compare number of arrests for same season...(assuming that Hooliganism is "violent behaviour"

    Cardiff - 2
    Bristol City - 11
    Leicester - 13
    Norwich - 11
    Coventry - 8
    Stoke - 7

    Point I'm making isn't to 100% defend the 90 idiots that did get arrested but from a different angle you could claim your 5 times more likely to be a victim of violence at a match involving Bristol City, Norwich or Leicester. Statistically that was the case in 07/08

    That's the problem with stats tho...they say what you want them to.

  • Comment number 90.

    I don't know if anyone has already pointed this out but Man Utd may be top of the list as the stats include ticket touts. It is only an assumption, but maybe a fair assumption that these tickets are more in demand because of the popularity of Man Utd so there will be a far greater amount of ticket touts.
    In order to get a true picture of hooliganism at each stadium the data needs to isolate arrests that are for violent behaviour.
    By the way, I am NOT am Man Utd fan.

  • Comment number 91.

    Now let me see where this article is going.

    "Violence at football matches of the kind witnessed outside and inside Upton Park at Tuesday's Carling Cup match between West Ham and Millwall has been thankfully rare in recent years."

    Fair enough. So why garble together some Home Office statistics to highlight the fact that there was something nasty going on at Upton Park but actually it is quite rare?

    The remedy is simple. Both West Ham and Millwall should have points deducted for failing to control their supporters and a hefty fine imposed on each club. This punishment should be automatic in all cases. When the football authorities stop pandering to business interests and start concentrating on the spirit of the game it will come as a blessed relief to us all - except the media ... of course.

  • Comment number 92.

    My club Stoke have greatly improved in recent times and this can largely be attributed to the ID card scheme. The club has now dispensed with the scheme though arrests still remain low. Good work Stoke.

    Stoke City News

  • Comment number 93.

    i am a manchester united season ticket holder, and apart from trouble between our fans and roma fans outside old trafford a few seasons ago, there have only been a couple of instances of "trouble" i have witnessed, and they were scuffles between celtic fans at a champions league game, outside, and inside the ground. the main problems were celtic fans had managed to get seats in amongst the home fans, and were wearing their teams colours proudly, which will annoy certain fans and lead to problems, also on this occasion there were no police inside the ground, and stewards were having to remove away fans. as our average attendance is around 75'000 for home games our % for arrests and banning orders (which i agree with for anyone who seeks to start trouble at football matches) is very low, and not a relfection on our fans as trouble makers..

    with regards to comment 59, about man utd fans taking pot-shots at away supporters being filed out of a single exit at old trafford, the away section is situated between the corporate south stand (prawn sandwich brigade, if you like), and the east stand which is mostly fans applying through the clubs membership scheme (i.e the seat is hardly ever sat in each week by the same person) so i find this hard to believe...

    there will always be elements of any club looking to seek out violence, at any football game, as a friend of mine who was watching the man utd - birmingham game at the start of this season, in a pub, will testify to.. 40-50 birmingham city "supporters" charged into the pub, and battered everyone inside, and destroyed the place in the process leaving a few people i know needing hospital treatment and a few weeks off work, and while i was at the game which i believe past without any incidents, so what is being done about the violence away from the grounds on match day, and why is this hardly ever reported?

    .. my mate still hasn't been able to return to work.

  • Comment number 94.

    To be fair to Cardiff City fans, I think they have done more than any other club to try and eradicate football hooliganism.

    I also know, through books I've read that a lot of the serious ring leaders were targeted (what are classed as Category C hooligans, the most serious), the ones who orgainise/plan and instigate the trouble.

    Many of these are now either on long term bans or serving gaol terms.

    There is a really good book out called The Rise and Fall of the Valley Rams by Gwyn Davies, which is about how Cardiff fans, tired of their club being tarnished with a bad reputation, decided to form an unoffical supporters group, whereby they would travel in mass on buses and work alongside the authorities to try in ensure there'd be less trouble.

    This left the what would be described as the 'Category C' element to travel seperately,which enabled the police and authorities to moniter/target them without other supporters getting caught up in any trouble.

    The results were mainly positive, but varied depending on (according to the book) the approach each police force took amongst the fans i.e. having their supporters pre judged and being treated with a haeavy handed approach (much the same as Millwall, Leeds etc experience) - they got a heavy handed response, pleasant and compromising the fans - they got a pleasant response.

    Obviously, it is difficult to completely eradicate hooliganism from any club and it can arise at anytime.

    According to Sky Sports news, just last night at Cardiff a fan was arrested for carrying a prohibited weapon - although I'm not sure whether it was a Cardiff City or Bristol Rovers fan. And, pre-season 15 Cardiff supporters were arrested for alleged trouble in Swindon town centre.

    All the same, I think the hooligan problem has been reduced in Cardiff over the last few years or so, but that isn't to say that it has gone completely or will not rear it's ugly head in the future

  • Comment number 95.

    Stoke still have a disproportionately high following of idiots, but what really surprised me just how few arrests there were throughout the country for racist chanting. We have really come a long way since the late 70s/early 80s - well apart from in the East End........

  • Comment number 96.

    Re The Dangle - Good to see the 'whiter than white' Cardiff boys feeling sorry for themselves again, "oh if West Ham or Millwall had been a Welsh club they would haven been kicked out of the League". As a supporter of a lower league club I, as well as most other football supporters, have had to suffer the anti English bile that the Soul Crew and other 'True Cardiff Supporters' have thrown at away fans whilst having had the 'privelege' of visiting Ninian Park for an 'English League Game'

  • Comment number 97.

    It's not that this is a pointless article, it's just that, as has been raised by a number of people, the stats aren't correlated against anything and can be interpreted any number of ways depending on your aim or opinion. As a result, it's just open to too much cross examining that can't be substantiated.

    I've attended home and away football matches for over 20 years. I would argue that there's an element of violence - even if it's a minor scuffle, stand off between two groups or some running up and down roads - at most games up and down the country every Saturday. There's no way it's centred on just a few clubs.

    Nonetheless, I also maintain I could get to/from the vast majority of games safely.

    However, something like West Ham/Millwall doesn't happen week in-week out. Like most people, I predicted trouble as soon as I heard the draw. There has to a question of why couldn't the police deal with it better? Personally, I think that yet again they were massively under-prepared. But to balance that, how difficult is it to police the Millwall fans travelling across London? They look the same, they talk the same, they're even using the same transport system and many will be travelling from similar centres as the home fans. You can't put them on coaches and trains and just bring them in and out like you could if they were coming from another city. As a result, they'll mix increasing the opportunity for trouble. On top of that, look at the pictures of Green Street. It's not like the Millwall supporters could just come out of Upton Park Station and stroll down the road. There hundreds of West Ham present.

    The other problems is that when most people describe a hooligan they are typically well wide of the mark. The only real common demoninator is that they're male. There'll be: young, old, thin, fat, with hair, bald, tattoos, bare, scruffy, smart casual, employed, unemployed, good jobs, criminals. Whether you or I call them fans or not, the majority of them will be at most games. Oddly enough, they don't even always cause trouble, but if it's there, they certainly won't back away from it.

    Is it organised? Yes, quite a bit of it is - especially the large scale stuff. Have the police improved over the years? Yes, in fairness, overall they have. Could they stop a major, organised disturbance from happening? The reality is the best they can probably hope for is limiting it.

    Unfortunately, that is the reality, at least as I've seen it.

  • Comment number 98.

    This is another in a long line of disgraceful articles that have predictably emerged since the trouble at West Ham recently. Some points:

    - 90 arrests of Cardiff City fans in 08 season, out of almost a million attendees of matches involving City that term. A tiny proportion.
    - No mention of actual prosecutions resulting from these arrests. So, in a sense, these are unfounded accusations leveled by the police, without any proof in a court of law.

    Selective highlighting of bald stats prove absolutely nothing.

    Yet we continually hear pundit and nonentity alike decry the behaviour of fans based on isolated incidents and stats such as this - despite absolutely huge police presences and all the cctv and data capturing technology that could prove beyond doubt as many offences as possible, should they take place.

    Football fans, from whatever club, are by and large a spirited, good natured bunch riddled with character, and I am absolutely sick of the media taking every opportunity to do them down.

    I bet arrests per capita of journalists and media professionals are far far higher than football fans, yet do we hear of media-related violence? Do we heck.

    How much do we hear of the 40 fold increase cited by police of domestic abuse occurring in south Wales around the time of England-Wales internationals? A minimal fraction of what we hear about the slightest infraction by a guy in a football fan crest.

    I urge all decent-minded football fans to join their club's supporters trust, join the Football Supporters Federation, and unite against persistent branding by media and government alike as hooligans and violent yobs.

  • Comment number 99.

    Why are Cardiff City being talked about and having their statistics annalysed so much here?

    Yes over the years their supporters have had an awful reputation and I have seen Cardiff supporters causing trouble first hand but, this was a game between two London sides who caused trouble!

    Give a dog a bad name I suppose...

  • Comment number 100.

    'I don't know if anyone has already pointed this out but Man Utd may be top of the list as the stats include ticket touts.'

    Fair point, and the vast majority of ticket tout offences relate to Big Four clubs (significantly more than the other 88 combined) but the stats break it down and it's only a small fraction of the total.

    With all of this said, what would the typical number of arrests for this many people gathering in a city centre at night be? More than this, that's for sure.


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.