can it ever be a reality in england?

Discussion in 'MLS: General' started by whatareyoulookingat, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. whatareyoulookingat

    whatareyoulookingat Member

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    I watch the mls games when I can and read various online reports.

    What hits me is how much freedom fans have in the states compared to here (england).

    What I love about the mls is groups like the timbers army it looks like families are involves, and just looks fun with no nastyness.

    I long for this in england but it seems we have so many idiots that it would never happen.

    Even though our stadiums are safe they are safe because of heavy stewarding high police presence and intelligence to stop violence.

    Even with the most restrictive stadium regulations around we still get voilence, the millwall west ham riots, the villa v birmingham riot....all happend despite these rules.

    So what would happen if they allowed our fans to drink in the stands, took away the large police presence....would the fans who deserted the game come back? Would the fans embrace their freedom or spoil it.

    Why do you think the MLS have managed to avoid the violence that plagues other leagues even with the freedom the fans have over there. Obviously its impossible to stop any incident ever happening but considering the relaxed rules its pretty impressive how little trouble there is, something that is praised by fellow fans in england who would love it to be like that here.

    Of course the past has a lot to do with the supression...violence over 4 decades had to be stopped, add the fact soccer is so popular in england they can have high ticket prices, opressive stadium rules and yet fans still turn up....not sure that would happen in the states.

    Just to put things in perspective. A fan was jailed...yes jailed for having a smoke canister on him at a game. And a recent friendly pre season gamne was called off because police believed violence would take place. And despite the game bein played behind closed doors, fans travelled anyway and caused trouble.

    This is what were up against.... I hope you know (I'm sure you do) how violence completely ruins the league for passionate fans, I'm sure you will continue to do a great job of policing yourselves and not letting idiots ruin what you have.

    Is england a lost cause or can it be salvaged.


  2. Darkwing McQuack

    Darkwing McQuack BigSoccer Supporter

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    There are actually some self proclaimed "hardcore" fans here that firmly believe the only way to support your club is to cause violence during the game. Thankfully though so far none of these idiots have done anything to deface the league and the sport. I don't mind heckling the away supporters a bit but there's no need for violence. You may have an unwinnable battle on your hands for England though.
    QuietType repped this.
  3. aSkyOfBlue

    aSkyOfBlue New Member

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    Wait, you guys can't drink in the stands? I thought I remember seeing games on TV where people had beers in their hands....

    Anyway, I think it has more to do with general American sports culture than anything specifically related to soccer here. If you look across all the major sports here there isn't a culture of violence in any of them. Sure, you get the isolated incident or two, but for the most part sportsmanship is taken pretty seriously. Even in (American) football which could be argued is just as popular here as soccer is in England you don't get too many incidents. I think it just basically comes down to the sports culture here.
  4. Whitecaps10

    Whitecaps10 Member

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    I would say the main reason why there is less violence here is beacuse most teams have been around for 17 years or less. The only rivalry that is big enough to cause trouble evry time they meet is the Sounders-Timbers and both sides in that rivalry do everything they can to keep an incident from happening. Other American leagues have been around for much longer and even though the fans in these leagues show their passion less, there are fools that start fights in those sports often because of the big rivalry like Red Sox-Yankees, Captitols-Penguins, Giants-Eagles.


  5. bright

    bright Member

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    I can't remember the source for this, but I've read an interesting piece that contrasted the beginnings of soccer in England with baseball in the United States at the turn of the last century.

    Basically, the class system in England had a large effect on the type of people who attended soccer games and the amenities that were provided. Only working class people were expected to attend, so this had a large impact on the foundational culture of the sport. Stadiums were pretty poor and mostly just wooded terraces. After WWII, most of the stadiums were still very old, and the class structure was still in place. The upper class were all about amateur rugby or hockey, whereas soccer was still a sport for the working class. This made soccer an easy outlet for working class frustrations beginning in the 60's and into the 70's and 80's.

    Contrast that with the business of baseball in turn-of-the-century US where owners applied the "customer is always right" idea and provided relatively comfortable seating and food and other amenities. The lack of a class structure also allowed people of varying socio-economic backgrounds to attend games and "feel like a king". This style of sports business influenced all American sports cultures. Add in that American football is traditionally derived from the college-educated upper classes, so that is another way that the social classes are very mixed together in US sporting culture.
    joelk repped this.
  6. Mucky

    Mucky Member+

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    I do think American fans are better behaved than British fans and from my experience they are more willing to self police however I think there may be one or two other reasons there is less violence in US soccer.
    Firstly MLS fans tend to be middle class whereas English fans are traditionally working class (I'm from a working class background myself so no snobbery in this, just an observation) and as the demographic of soccer attendance changed in the UK due to all seater stadium and higher ticket prices so there was less violence.

    There is though a more obvious reason and that is the lack of antagonism and genuine rivalry in MLS games.
    There is very little away support in MLS comparative to the UK so naturally that leads to less antagonism between rival fans but also any rivalry that does exist, and therefore potential antagonism, is a very diluted version of what we have in the UK.
    This is not about a lack of passion but really about a lack of history - genuine heated rivalries occur over many, many years and isolated incidents.
    One obvious if not typical example would be the history of the Munich air crash and the Leeds fans singing "Who's that lying on the runway..." - basically as the hype and importance of winning increased so the travelling support increased and the chants got nastier.
    This escalation continued through the sixties and into the seventies when hooliganism really broke out and fighting became common place between rival fans (although isolated cases of hooliganism pre-date professional leagues the seventies were when it became organised)

    It could be that a negative by-product of MLS success will be more (rivalry >> more fanaticism >> more antagonism >>) more violence except MLS fans and its franchises have the benefit of hindsight so I expect it would be nipped in the bud.

    Of course the dilemma is how to both applaud and encourage a real passion and loyalty to the club in fans which benefits everyone yet maintain control over it without it becoming artificial and a manufactured imitation of something natural and organic.
    joelk repped this.
  7. JasonMa

    JasonMa Member+

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    Though I don't see a scenario where that's ever considered acceptable by even a small percentage of a fanbase.

    Hell, 2 days after the Aurora theater shooting the Rapids were in Salt Lake (rivalry game) and a couple of guys from Salt City United reportedly made some cracks about how it should have been our travelling fans in the theater and they were pretty much disavowed by the rest of the Salt Lake fanbase. There are some levels I see in Europe that I can't imagine ever happening here in any organized capacity.

    (Unfortunately one of our own was in the theater and killed, as was the cousin of another regular in the SGs who was seriously injured. The travelling fans get great credit for not jumping on the SCU guy(s) and beating him into the concrete.)
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  8. whatareyoulookingat

    whatareyoulookingat Member

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    Another thing to add is how fans get behind their team despite poor results.

    In england if you lose a couple of games fans are on the players backs, calling for the board or manager to be sacked...protesting etc.... its almost as if the fans can only have a good time if they win every game, that doesn't seem to be the case in the states.

    A second thing is I've posted pictures and videos of fans in the US and the vast majority of fans seem to dismiss it, mostly poking fun....not all but quite a lot.

    I'm not holding out much hope, I just think the clubs are scared to give fans freedom...I think the fans only care about winning.

    But you never know.

    I sound like a bit of a moaner, its not all bad theres still great atmospheres and when you consider the oppression the fans get its pretty amazing anyone generates any atmopshere at all.
  9. Felixx219

    Felixx219 BigSoccer Supporter

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    The people in this country and the government tend to overract to incidents so I think we are probably one really bad incident from having our supporter's culture negatively impacted by regulation. Hopefully, we can continue our record of peaceful and uneventful games and not see if that happens.
  10. holiday

    holiday Member

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    england is a good candidate for most overrated country on earth. especially compared to much of europe. it should be happy with all the benefits it still enjoys. :sneaky:
  11. CapitalCityFC

    CapitalCityFC Member

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    One thing that was never said was how different clubs in England and Europe are supported by different ethnic,religious, and class groups. Clubs that have the name "Real" in front of them were for the rich and royal classes. Clubs with "Atletico" or "Athletic" were supported by the lower and working classes. ​
    In England's case, clubs in West London (QPR, Chelsea) used the color blue to represent Tory Britain and the colors of the Conservative party. In other cities like Liverpool, Everton would use the color Blue and Liverpool FC would use Red. The color Red attracts the working class, while the color Blue attracts the upper and royal class. The club in Red, Liverpool, ended up being the club with the crazy hooligans who are responsible for their famed stadium stampede that left over 30 people dead and England out of the Champions league for five years. ​
  12. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

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    There is a sense of neighborhood pride that is in the English game and not US. If you are a soccer fan in Chicago the local team is Fire. If you a soccer fan in London the local team is fill in the blank. (Insert Leyton Orient joke here). The closest thing we have in the States would be the mentality of high school football fans. Attend any local game in or around Stark County Ohio and you will see some fights. Probably the same in Texas, Florida or anywhere else you let the local sports team define you.
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  13. puttputtfc

    puttputtfc Member+

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    No, you should have beat him into the concrete.
  14. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse BigSoccer Supporter

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    MLS is not entirely without incidents as violence has happened just not as frequent as it would in certain English or European grounds (not even mentioning South America here cause it can be equally bad if not worse there). There was a time the NY vs DC rivalry was the most heated and there was a bit of hatred between the two sides. I remember just around when the Red Bulls got into the league there was a NY visiting DC game which ended with some people getting popped in the face a few times and the police having to try to maintain the peace outside the stadium as NY fans got into the bus.

    I also remember some unruly fans in San Jose that thought themselves too hardcore and were trying to start fights with anyone in the visiting team shirt.

    These incidents can happen, will happen, and we'll continue to monitor and react then move on. MLS is still very family friendly, lots of women go to games still, and yes overall the American way of going to games prevails as it has in every other sport. You will ALWAYS have idiots not realizing they are ruining the fun aspect of attending games but usually they get dealt with one way or another.
  15. MightyMouse

    MightyMouse BigSoccer Supporter

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    As for England, unless there is a major shift in the culture of fans attending games I don't see the atmosphere getting much more lighthearted. The fans are usually one's that since birth were brought up with a certain team to back by their family. The right of passage was going to a game for the first time live. They have grown up watching these teams, have grown used to the tea and its fans as almost a part of an extended family, and then take offense to anything that threatens. MLS is far from that today but give it another decade and you might start to see some more of the serious fan types showing up.
  16. Zxcv

    Zxcv Member

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    I would say demographics of respective supporters has a lot to do with it.

    Soccer supporters in England during the 70s and 80s were largely young men from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Throw unemployment into the mix, and you have the recipe for soccer to act as an identity shaping tool where young men found something to belong to in an increasingly untenable environment; which can result in violence for instance, whether it be alcohol fuelled, supporter group related, or both.

    Contrast that to the US where todays bulging youth of supporters are from middle to higher end socio economic backgrounds, who have no need for soccer to give them an identity, and you have a very different picture.

    And I don't think I'm completely off the mark, because the soccer supporter in England is now in the 40s with families of their own. Unsurprisingly, atmospheres across England have fizzled over the past 15 years, and violence has too. Moreover the game has been embraced by the middle class at large which has helped the process; with many of those young men a part of the middle class themselves now.

    Violence in soccer is often a reflection of where society is at large in that point in time. What happened in England pre 1990 is really not applicable to England of 2012.
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  17. JoeCelt

    JoeCelt Member+

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    Very true! :thumbsup:
  18. holiday

    holiday Member

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    i doubt england's society today is any better than it was twenty years ago. they've managed to put a band aid on soccer violence, that's all. but i've also heard first hand accounts of what it's like now for spanish or italian fans to ride public transport to a cl game in manchester, for example. very threatening environment, right up to the edge of man hunt atmosphere with police looking on indifferently.
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  19. Mucky

    Mucky Member+

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    I think they are exaggerating.
    Sure there was time but I can go drinking in the city centre and foreign fans are in the bars with no problems just so long as they don't kick off.
    Manchester is known as a very friendly city but it is a bit rough around the edges like most inner cities.
    When we had the Euros here a lot of games were played at Old Trafford and there was no trouble whatsoever.
    Society hasn't changed that much only the demographic attending football matches.
    I guess it is like the US - it is more street gangs now rather than football firms.

    Imagine what game days would be like in the US with a whole supporters section filled by gang members and rival gang members in another section.
  20. Boloni86

    Boloni86 Member+

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    It all comes down to the social class of people attending games in the US. Pretty much all sports in the US are attended primarily by middle class and higher class people.

    In Europe and South America there is (or was depending on country) a tradition of lower working class supporter sections. These sections have always been a magnet for inner city youth who bring with them a tribal/gang culture.

    It would be the same in the US if inner city youth culture ever would have had access to sporting events, but they don't.
  21. holiday

    holiday Member

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    the accounts i have heard are of harassment on public transport ('any italians on this bus? throw the italians off the bus') and individual cases of physical aggression outside the stadium while police stand by. not pleasant. i think it's a bit too convenient to dismiss it as exaggeration. it isn't.
    it's not what the criminal thugs of the 90's were doing all over europe. the english authorities have managed to put a good band aid on that. a turning point imo was simply when thatcherism finally went away. but it's a band aid, not a cure. soccer games are still high on the worry list of english police (the ones that care).
  22. Fanatical Monk

    Fanatical Monk Member+

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    You hear stories every season about opposing fans being mugged, beaten, stabbed, bottles thrown, all over Europe. Sometimes not even opposing fans..but differing support groups...insanity. It's culture as much as anything. In the US, you just don't hear about those kind of issues very often outside of a Raiders game.

    Our most tribal game here has got to be College football. You don't hear anything about fans being injured by other fans....very very rare here. Now, if every game were Auburn-Bama, OSU-Mich, Fla-Fla St, then maybe you'd hear a bit more. Part of it could be proximity, and the most intense rivalries only happen once a year, not 3 or 4 as in Europe.
  23. Earthshaker

    Earthshaker BigSoccer Supporter

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    College kids are for the most part middle and upper class with no history of violence and are in no hurry to get their asses thrown in jail and out of school. The thought of potentially ********ing up the rest of your life can be a huge deterrent. But, then again, throw in a little alcohol and who knows what Junior is capable of doing.
  24. Fanatical Monk

    Fanatical Monk Member+

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    My experience tells me that the majority of those that attend high level cfb games aren't students and in a lot of cases aren't alumni. That said, it isn't for the light pocketed either.

    The few bad experiences I've had generally involve overly intoxicated 40+ men who seem to have lost sight of what really matters in life. The worst I've had involved my wife and an older fan of our own team. I swore off going to games not long after. I can enjoy soccer and football on TV from home at the same time without all the BS of a gameday "experience".

    I'm finding that the older I get, the less I like football, and more I appreciate soccer. I'm not sure I'd consider myself a football fan anymore. I know the game, and will watch my alma mater most of the time. That's about it.
  25. SenordrummeR2

    SenordrummeR2 Member+

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    I worked with a girl from Liverpool a few years ago. I once brought up soccer and asked her about the current Liverpool players, and she quickly let me know that she was an Everton fan. Her family, however, were all die-hard Liverpool fans. She was basically a closet fan keeping her love for Everton away from the family. I asked how her dad would react if he knew, and she said she'd basically be disowned. That may be a bit of a stretch, but it was like I was talking to someone who had switched religions without her family knowing.

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