Hooliganism refers to unruly, destructive, aggressive
“Aggressive” is a New York-based Grammy award-winning music video and commercial directing team of Alex Topaller and Daniel Shapiro.Aggressive has been described by Movie Creation Mag as “having a fascination with the wonderful, in the likes of the surrealist Rafal Olbinski” and “tenacious about...

 and bullying behaviour. Such behaviour is commonly associated with sports fans. The term can also apply to general rowdy behaviour and vandalism
Vandalism is the behaviour attributed originally to the Vandals, by the Romans, in respect of culture: ruthless destruction or spoiling of anything beautiful or venerable...

, often under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.


There are several theories about the origin of the word hooliganism. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary states that the word may have originated from the surname of a fictional rowdy Irish family in a music hall
Music hall
Music Hall is a type of British theatrical entertainment which was popular between 1850 and 1960. The term can refer to:# A particular form of variety entertainment involving a mixture of popular song, comedy and speciality acts...

 song of the 1890s. Clarence Rook, in his 1899 book, Hooligan Nights, claimed that the word came from Patrick Hoolihan (or Hooligan), an Irish
Irish people
The Irish people are an ethnic group who originate in Ireland, an island in northwestern Europe. Ireland has been populated for around 9,000 years , with the Irish people's earliest ancestors recorded having legends of being descended from groups such as the Nemedians, Fomorians, Fir Bolg, Tuatha...

 bouncer and thief who lived in London.

Early usage of the term

The term hooligan has been used since at least the mid 1890s—when it was used to describe the name of a street gang in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

—at approximately the same time as Manchester's street gangs, known as the "Scuttlers
Scuttlers were members of neighbourhood-based youth gangs formed in working-class areas of Manchester, Salford, and the surrounding townships during the late 19th century...

" were gaining notoriety. The first use of the term is unknown, but the word first appeared in print in London police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

-court reports in 1894 referring to the name of a gang of youths in the Lambeth area of London—the Hooligan Boys, and later—the O'Hooligan Boys. In August 1898 a murder in Lambeth committed by a member of the gang drew further attention to the word which was immediately popularized by the press. The London-based newspaper Daily Graphic wrote in an article on 22 August 1898, "The avalanche of brutality which, under the name of 'Hooliganism' ... has cast such a dire slur on the social records of South London".

Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle DL was a Scottish physician and writer, most noted for his stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes, generally considered a milestone in the field of crime fiction, and for the adventures of Professor Challenger...

 wrote in his 1904 novel The Adventure of the Six Napoleons
The Adventure of the Six Napoleons
"The Adventure of the Six Napoleons", one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is one of 13 stories in the cycle collected as The Return of Sherlock Holmes.-Synopsis:...

, "It seemed to be one of those senseless acts of Hooliganism which occur from time to time, and it was reported to the constable on the beat as such". H.G. Wells wrote in his 1909 semi-autobiographical novel Tono-Bungay
Tono-Bungay , by H. G. Wells, is a realist semi-autobiographical novel. It is narrated by George Ponderevo, a science student who is drafted in to help with the promotion of Tono-Bungay, a harmful stimulant disguised as a miraculous cure-all, the creation of his ambitious uncle Edward...

, "Three energetic young men of the hooligan type, in neck-wraps and caps, were packing wooden cases with papered-up bottles, amidst much straw and confusion".

Later, as the meaning of the word shifted slightly, none of the possible alternatives had precisely the same undertones of a person, usually young, who is a member of an informal group and commits acts of vandalism or criminal damage, starts fights, and who causes disturbances but is not a thief. In the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 the word khuligan was used to refer to scofflaws or political dissenters, "hooliganism" was listed as a criminal offense and used as a catch-all charge for prosecuting unapproved behavior. Matthias Rust was convicted of hooliganism, among other things, for his 1987 Cessna landing in Red Square
Red Square
Red Square is a city square in Moscow, Russia. The square separates the Kremlin, the former royal citadel and currently the official residence of the President of Russia, from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-gorod...


Hooliganism in sport

The word hooliganism and hooligan began to be associated with violence in sports
Violence in sports
Violence in sports refers to physical acts committed in contact sports such as American football, ice hockey, rugby football, soccer, boxing, mixed martial arts, wrestling, and water polo beyond the normal levels of contact expected while playing the sport...

, in particular from the 1980s in the UK with football hooliganism
Football hooliganism
Football hooliganism, sometimes referred to by the British media as the English Disease, is unruly and destructive behaviour—such as brawls, vandalism and intimidation—by association football club fans...

. However, one of the earliest known instances of crowd violence at a sporting event took place in ancient Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

. Two chariot racing
Chariot racing
Chariot racing was one of the most popular ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine sports. Chariot racing was often dangerous to both driver and horse as they frequently suffered serious injury and even death, but generated strong spectator enthusiasm...

 factions, the Blues and the Greens, were involved in the Nika riots
Nika riots
The Nika riots , or Nika revolt, took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in AD 532. It was the most violent riot that Constantinople had ever seen to that point, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed and tens of thousands of people killed.-Background:The ancient Roman...

 which lasted around a week in 532 CE; nearly half the city was burned or destroyed in addition to tens of thousands of deaths.

Hooliganism in film

  • The Incident (1967)
  • A Clockwork Orange
    A Clockwork Orange
    A Clockwork Orange is a 1962 dystopian novella by Anthony Burgess. The novel contains an experiment in language: the characters often use an argot called "Nadsat", derived from Russian....

  • The Firm
    The Firm (1988 film)
    The Firm is a 1989 British drama film directed by Alan Clarke and written by Al Ashton for the BBC, starring Gary Oldman as Clive 'Bex' or 'Bexy' Bissel. The film is based on the activities of the Inter City Firm, football firm of West Ham United during the 1970s and 1980s although in the film the...

  • I.D.
    ID (film)
    I.D. is a 1994 British film made by BBC Films about football hooliganism, directed by Philip Davis and starring Reece Dinsdale, Sean Pertwee and Warren Clarke. It is set in the 1980s, in England, mainly London, and also shot at Millmoor and Valley Parade football grounds in Rotherham and Bradford...

  • The Football Factory (2004)
  • Green Street
    Green Street
    Green Street is a 2005 British/American independent drama film about football hooliganism in England. It was directed by Lexi Alexander and stars Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam. In the United States and Australia, the film is called Green Street Hooligans, while in the United Kingdom it has the...

  • Rise of the Footsoldier
    Rise of the Footsoldier
    Rise of the Footsoldier is a 2007 English crime film released on 7 September, 2007. It is the third film from BAFTA award winning director Julian Gilbey...

  • Cass
    Cass (film)
    Cass is a 2008 British crime drama film. It stars Nonso Anozie as Cass Pennant and is directed by Jon S. Baird-Plot:Cass is based on the true story of the life of Cass Pennant, adapted from his book. The film tells of how he was adopted by an elderly white couple in 1958 and brought up in Slade...

  • Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground
    Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground
    Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground is a sequel to the 2005 film Green Street directed by Lexi Alexander.-Plot:...

  • Awaydays
    Awaydays is a 2009 British film directed by Pat Holden and stars Stephen Graham. It is based on the novel of the same name by Kevin Sampson, originally published eleven years previously in 1998....

  • The Firm
    The Firm (2009 film)
    The Firm is a British 2009 drama film based around Football hooliganism written and directed by Nick Love. The film is a remake of the original 1988 version.-Adaptation:...


See also

  • Abuse
    Abuse is the improper usage or treatment for a bad purpose, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offense; crime, or otherwise...

  • Collective Effervescence
    Collective Effervescence
    Collective effervescence is a perceived energy formed by a gathering of people as might be experienced at a sporting event, a carnival, a rave, or a riot...

  • Crowd psychology
    Crowd psychology
    Crowd psychology is a branch of social psychology. Ordinary people can typically gain direct power by acting collectively. Historically, because large groups of people have been able to bring about dramatic and sudden social change in a manner that bypasses established due process, they have also...

  • Football hooliganism
    Football hooliganism
    Football hooliganism, sometimes referred to by the British media as the English Disease, is unruly and destructive behaviour—such as brawls, vandalism and intimidation—by association football club fans...

  • Juvenile delinquency
    Juvenile delinquency
    Juvenile delinquency is participation in illegal behavior by minors who fall under a statutory age limit. Most legal systems prescribe specific procedures for dealing with juveniles, such as juvenile detention centers. There are a multitude of different theories on the causes of crime, most if not...

  • List of hooligan firms
  • List of violent spectator incidents in sports

External links

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