Bill Buford - among the thugs

Bill Buford

among the thugs

This book does not deal with the violence and the gangs in the streets, in fact it s a book about the hooligan - scene before and after football - matches. The main person is the author himself, who wants to get to know and analyse the reasons for violence. He spends some time with violent football fans to know why they behave like that.

Bill is waiting for his train at a station outside Cardiff. Suddenly he hears an announcement over the loudspeaker, where he is told that football supporters from Liverpool have taken over the train. One of these supporters even falls out of the train because it is so crowded. Outside he gets arrested by some overreacting policemen, who brutally beat him on the ground. The supporters of the football team are mostly drunk, they are in the position of doing everything they want. There are a lot of armed policemen waiting outside, but they can't really do something against the many football - fans.

This incident is nothing special. Things like that happen very often, especially in England there are many fights between violent groups. Bill travels to a big football event in Turin, together with a few big supporter groups of Manchester United. Since this event he is fully accepted among the supporters and he begins to question the fans. In a pub he talks to Keith, a real hooligan. He says that he would fight everywhere, during a football match or in a pub, it does not matter. He is sure that everyone has some potential for violence inside. Keith also claims that he fells somehow important during a fight at a match, it changes him from a nobody into someone who is needed. Everyone has this feeling. In Keith's opinion, this is the only reason for the violence and why the people fight: It makes them somebody.

Steve, another hooligan, tells that the rowdies start to use knives because these weapons make them able to win the fights more quickly. A knife is the most efficient instrument for a quick injury. The hooligans have to be fast, because otherwise they are surrounded by the police. Steve is sure that the knifings would stop if the police did not surround them.

Before a match the supporters use to drink a lot of alcohol. Once, Bill watched a crowd fighting against each other very brutally, but when suddenly a woman and her child wanted to pass, they stopped. After the two went by, the rumble continued

This time Bill was very surprised. Although the hooligans use to fight a lot, they are "only" fighting with people who want to fight. They organize big fights between groups, and not for beating people who are not involved. Nowadays this is mostly done with help of the Internet.

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