Book Review – Part 2 or, “Why not judge a book by its cover?”

27 04 2010

In the present economic climate everybody is looking for a bargain but yet again they are behind the Jet Set; we’re  after a money saver whatever the prevailing conditions. Charity Shops provide all manner of bargains for example.

Last week we  perused the book shelf of another charity shop in Llandudno and came upon something entitled “30 Years of Hurt”. “What’s this?” I asked myself. I had a quick flick through it. It turned out to be an oral history worthy of an academic. The England football crowd was the subject.

The contents looked so good I forgot that there was a picture of a fat hooligan on the front cover. I eagerly parted with 50p to gain greater enlightenment. Not long after I began to read the book I realised that this was a book that should be owned by everybody, not just those with a sociological interest in the behaviour of morons.

To present a brief precis of the work; it starts off with a brief description of the despicable actions of the hated “Jocks”. Their behaviour seemed to be the main factor for the development of England’s hooligan army. The “Jocks” had been taking liberties in the 1970s by having a party on Wembley’s pitch, attacking anything English that moved  (“even defenceless kids and women”) and shitting everywhere.

The story progressed neatly through the enjoyment of  attacking anything foreign that moved in Denmark to the enjoyment of attacking on anything foreign that moved in Luxembourg. On the way we went through bewilderment at the Dutch firms, (despite their massive rep they failed to ‘ave it) and annoyance with all foreign firms (none could ‘ave it properly). We then alighted at the delight felt when attacking anything that moved in Dublin ’cause they were subhuman Paddies. Of course your ordinary football fans are nobodies in this rich tapestry.  

By the last section of the story we had learned 2 things; One,  all foreigners are either slimy, sneaky, dopey or greasy and two, the English shall never be ruled or surrender (Some never say anything worth listening to either but that’s another story).

Reading the book was a depressing experience for 2 reasons; ( Yes we suppose we were asking for it but at least a charity benefitted from the sale and remember the  Jet Set are masochistic.)

(1) Some of our preconceptions about England fans were true. The contributors to this book seemed to believe that they were some kind of modern re-working of the British Expeditionary Force, as if they were somehow attacking foreigners for the good of our liberty. On one level the book is a glorification of nihilism but there is something worse in it.

(2) The link to the far right. Of course they tried to distance themselves from the BNP and Combat 18; “The riot in Dublin wasn’t nuffink to do with them guv, honest” but there is support for Extreme Loyalism and an irrational hatred for foreigners within the pages. You only need to go a bit further down that road… Every time I came across comment like these I couldn’t help remembering the English Defence League, the racist group partly set up by football hooligans.

Reading the book was a reminder that we can’t just sit there and allow scumbags to go unchallenged. It’s the second worst football we’ve ever read, but only just. Timely reading in a World Cup year.

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