Hooligan's and Graeme Souness (no connection) are just some of the things that Jamie Rainbow has been looking at on the web
In the wake of Cardiff’s opening day visit from Millwall, there has been much talk of a resurgence in football hooliganism involving rival fans allegedly arranging fights over the internet. Time then for WSC to undertake an in-depth investigation into the phenomenon. An initial search for “football hooligan” produced 230 sites. The first selection was called simply: “Hooligan’s”, which sounded promising until I discovered it was a site advertising Hooligan’s Tavern in New York. However, the bar does claim to be “equipped to serve all your sporting needs”, so you never know.
The next site offered “music, beer, football” along with a picture of a man playing a guitar. He looked like he’d walked straight off the set of The Fast Show, a thought confirmed by the accompanying text: “By the way, my name is Micke and I’m from Sweden. It’s me on the picture... posing with the guitar.” For sure Micke, you rock.
After trawling through several sites without a hint of trouble, I finally came across Paul Dodd’s site. Dodd, in case you’re unaware, is the hardest man in England (possibly the world even), hence the title of his book, England’s Number One. This is more like it. Before long I’ll have exposed the men behind the violence, compiled a dossier for the police and unmasked the brothers Brimson as the evil literary geniuses masterminding football hooliganism... or something like that.
Along with plugs for Dodd’s book, you get a message board service where hooligans plan future fights and boast about past scraps; with the emphasis on the boasting rather than the planning, it has to be said. “Thomo managed to get served in the local offy and bought a bottle of cider (one of those big two litre plastic bottles). We were well hammered by the end of it, up for anything,” claims one author. And this is one of the more erudite contributions. I didn’t hear about any definite fights, but from what I read I’ll definitely be avoiding Millwall when they host Cardiff in December. If the warnings on the message board are anything to go by, expect to see laptop-wielding yobs running amok on the streets of south London.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, newly promoted Bradford City have relaunched their official pages and can now offer a premier site to match their Premier League status. (Or so I’d have said if I was responsible for promoting the new site). In fact, the site harks back to a less than illustrious past, admitting that Bradford are one of the game’s “less glamorous” teams. The club history makes interesting reading, particularly the section devoted to the redevelopment of the ground. Formerly Valley Parade, the ground is now the Bradford and Bingley Stadium, after a brief spell (a heartbeat perhaps) as the Pulse Stadium. Likewise the Ciba Stand, which opened in 1997 as the Allied Colloids Stand – a name that was never going to catch on.
A page devoted to Graeme Souness was long overdue. Now you can read all about Souness’s adventures as a night porter in a downmarket hotel. I’m not exactly sure who’s responsible for the site, but after much exhaustive research, I’ve narrowed the candidates down to the following: fans of either Rangers, Liverpool, Galatasaray, Southampton, Torino, Benfica or football. Next month, catch up with Souness when he stands in as guest host on the Oprah Winfrey Show.
From WSC 152 October 1999. What was happening this month