A new look at soccer violence

A new look at soccer violence

Roy Hay

Deakin University

Originally published as:

Roy Hay, ‘A new look at soccer violence’, in Denis Hemphill, All part of the game: Violence and Australian Sport, Sydney, Walla Walla Press, November 1998, pp. 41-62. This has been placed on the website as the result of a request for an introductory article on the subject.

Academic interest in violence and soccer, like academic study of the game itself, is a very recent phenomenon.   Until the late 1960s, football or soccer violence was not a matter of serious concern in academic or official circles in the English speaking world.   The popular consensus, which had not been intellectually challenged, was that soccer violence only occurred in South America, southern Europe and Scotland.   In the first two areas, a hot blooded Latin temperament and a general lack of self control was a sufficient explanation, while north of the border the religious divide between Catholics and Protestants underlay most of the violence.   In England, the demise of folk football, prior to or during the industrial revolution, had put an end to the connection between football and violence and any subsequent outbreaks had a peculiar and specific rather than a systematic and structural explanation.

1            Soccer, deviance and the breakdown of social control

Concern with violence at an official level became evident in the late 1960s following a series of pitch invasions and scuffles involving rival groups of football fans.[1] Probably the first academic study appeared in 1971, when Ian Taylor, who had spent a year in the Sociology Department at Glasgow University, wrote an article for Stanley Cohen’s Images of Deviance.[2] Taylor’s focus was originally on Scotland though by the time this version appeared he was covering England as well and his thesis, in its original and unvarnished form, was that the football clubs had grown out of the working class and had been ‘owned’ in a fundamental sense by the working class who made up the vast bulk of the support.   Since you did not commit chien lit, you did not shit in your own bed, people did not get involved in violence on their own turf.   The collective forces of social control operated effectively.   As the commercial possibilities of football became fully appreciated and football became a business, then the ownership of football clubs was gradually wrested from the punters by a new business class of owners.   Deprived of their control, the fans lost the kind of respect for the turf which had previously guided conduct, and protest, accompanied by violence, followed.   Taylor speculated that this response was an attempt to restore a traditional sense of control, in the absence of the kinds of reform which might have met the aspirations of the fans.   It was an attractive, if simple, thesis, which owed a lot to the popular sub-Marxist critique of society of the time.   Later criticism was to demolish both the empirical basis of the argument, because football clubs had always been business firms from the start of the professional game in the 1880s and there had been plenty of violence in the nineteenth century, and the theoretical underpinnings, as the sociology of deviance was challenged by other more hard-nosed paradigms.[3] But Taylor’s prophetic conclusion that ‘the soccer hooligan may begin to organise’ was to be borne out in spades.

2            Ritual aggression and tribal anthropomorphism

In England, the successes of English clubs and the national team in the World Cup in 1966 led to an upsurge of intellectual interest in the game.   This took various forms including the radical chic which led A J ‘Freddie’ Ayer, the philosopher, to the stands at White Hart Lane, and a more anthropological concern as Peter Marsh, Elizabeth Rosser, Rom Harré and colleagues left the dreaming spires for the wilds of Cowley and Headington to study the strange tribes who supported Oxford United.[4] The Oxford group were responding to what has also been seen as an offshoot of the 1960s revival of soccer and the general mood of liberation and popular protest, the appearance of violence on the terraces of England.   The word ‘appearance’ is used here in a double sense.   Marsh and his colleagues were interested in the rituals of behaviour, seeing much of the apparent violence as forms of posturing and display rather than actual, physical confrontation.   Subsequent developments were to undermine this relatively comforting conclusion.   But the question whether violence was appearing or re-appearing also needs to be addressed.[5] Was the post-Second World War period unique with its high attendances and apparently little violent behaviour?   Desmond Morris continued the anthropological strand with his glossy illustrated work The Soccer Tribe.[6]

3            Failure of the civilising process

At the University of Leicester, Eric Dunning, joint author of a celebrated study of rugby union, Barbarians, Gentlemen and Players: A sociological study of the development of rugby football, published by ANU Press in 1979, turned his attention to association football and violence in the 1980s.   He attributed the rise in violence to the failure of the civilising process.   The theoretical underpinning of the explanations advanced for the form of English soccer hooliganism from 1966-7 onwards by Dunning was the figurational sociology of Norbert Elias.   Elias’s argument was there had been a long-run decline in interpersonal violence associated with what he described as ‘the civilising process’.   It is a very complex middle level theory with strong empirical content.[7] Dunning strongly resists charges that the theory is evolutionary either in content or tendency.[8] As applied to football, especially soccer, by Eric Dunning and Patrick Murphy, it was used to explain the levels of violence and the form that violence took in the periods before the First World War and after 1966-7 as primarily resulting from the norms and the social conditions faced by groups of unincorporated young lower working class males.   Where the processes of state formation produced a stable monopoly of the use of force, then citizens could operate in an environment in which overt force was neither required nor tolerated.   The lower ranks of the working class were deprived to some extent of this experience.   The ‘ordered segmentation’ of these communities produced a set of characteristic features among the young male members.[9] Their manliness depended on a willingness to fight in defence of local, parochial or tribal concerns.   The particular form that the violence took was also shaped by government policies and political tactics, the media and the police.   The level of violence was sometimes amplified and at other times played down by these authorities.[10]

Having embarked on a study of contemporary problems, Dunning and his colleagues also pursued the historical origins of football violence.   The work of Tony Mason, John Hutchinson and Wray Vamplew had alerted them to the existence of soccer-related violence in earlier periods of the modern organised game.[11] So in a mixture of sociological and historical research they claimed to have discovered the roots of football hooliganism around the turn of the twentieth century when ‘a much larger proportion of the British working class appears to have been less “civilised” than tends nowadays to be the case’.[12] Growing incorporation reduced the levels of violence in the period down to the 1950s (at least in England).   The post-1960s explosion of violence was attributed to the growing power of the working class and a shift in inter-generational power, plus the advertising of the game as a place where fights and incidents regularly take place, thus making the game more attractive to rougher working class males.[13] Dunning’s work has been challenged on theoretical and empirical grounds by R W Lewis, who argues that existing theories, including Dunning’s, fail to place football adequately in its historical and social context.   Moreover the statistical evidence compiled by Dunning and his associates involves double counting of incidents, inadequate categorisation, and misinterpretation of examples and leads to some inadequate speculation, thus exaggerating the extent of violence before 1914.   Lewis also provides some Lancashire evidence which he asserts indicate that incidents of hooliganism were ‘few and untypical’.[14] Dunning and his colleagues have responded with an extended critique of Lewis’s article as ‘bad history and bad sociology’, characterising Lewis as empiricist and arguing that many of the latter’s examples were open to more than one reading.[15]

4            Participant observation and the violent masculine style

The Leicester group was, however, the amalgam of two distinct styles, which have recently shown signs of bifurcating again.   John Williams, a mainstream sociologist, was the man who did the field work among the fans for his thesis, while Eric Dunning was a collaborator with Elias.[16] Williams’s participant observation of English fans at the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain, at the European championship game between Denmark and England in Copenhagen and Aston Villa supporters who went to the 1982 European Cup final against Bayern Munich in Rotterdam provided the centrepiece of the first book to appear from Leicester, Hooligans Abroad.[17] Williams was not the first participant observer of football hooliganism.   Peter Marsh spent three years on the terraces from Southampton to Middlesborough, though the bulk of his work was done at Oxford and Milwall.[18] Williams, however, was the first to study the international dimensions of the interactions between fans of different nationalities and the authorities in a range of countries.   His reporting, in conjunction with Dunning and Murphy, was based on a reading of the English and local press and some consultation with police and other agencies abroad, and the book itself concluded with a series of recommendations for policy changes to control football hooliganism, including the control of tickets for overseas matches, monitoring of travel arrangements, segregation of fans and a new role for stewards accompanying fans on away trips.   This piece of social engineering was to bear fruit in the next few years, though its outcomes were not always as the Leicester group had wished or predicted.

In his most recent work Williams has become increasingly critical of the original Leicester paradigm.   After aligning himself with those who criticise ‘the latent evolutionism’ of the Eliasian approach partly because of his reassessment of earlier episodes of football hooliganism, Williams suggests that the aura of ‘irrefutability’ surrounding the work of Dunning leads to an underplaying of important national and cultural differences in patterns and forms of hooliganism.[19]

‘The theory underplays the more general importance of culturalist approaches, perhaps particularly those which examine the nature of, and shifts in, the cultural significance of the game in this country, and those structuralist perspectives which highlight key aspects of the constantly changing relationship between the state, football and the football audience’.[20]

Needless to say, Dunning has responded vigorously, and one might think convincingly, to these charges.[21]

The Williams-Dunning-Murphy work was historically and sociologically informed and pioneering, though some of its limitations are becoming apparent.   It was followed by some more controversial participant observational work by Gary Armstrong and Rosemary Harris among the fans of Sheffield, the Blades and the Owls, United and Wednesday.   A proposed article by these two researchers provoked a response among referees (academic, rather than the football variety) which eventually led to an issue of the Sociological Review being devoted to the cultural aspects of football in August 1991.   Part of the controversy arose from the trenchant criticism by Armstrong and Harris of previous work and their failure to provide a convincing theoretical justification for their own research.   While it extended the coverage of ethnographic research, the typicality of Sheffield was much disputed and there was derision for the rather lame conclusion that the focus should be shifted to why some young men are drawn into groups which indulge in hooliganism and others are not.   That these groups might have provided a supplement or substitute for the family for people drawn from all social classes did not appear to be a world-shattering revision of existing theory.   The notion that football hooligans were a totally acephalous tribe was also criticised by Bert Moorhouse among others.[22]

5            Participant involvement

If participant observation was a key feature of the research of the 1980s another genre which emerged in the latter part of the decade can be described as ‘participant involvement’ represented by the work of Colin Ward, Jay Allen, Bill Buford and the Brimsons.[23] Ward, Allen and the Brimsons claimed to be the autobiographical works of self-described football hooligans, but Buford’s account was a deliberate piece of slumming by the American editor of the Cambridge literary magazine Granta.[24] This is a shocking book, deliberately so.  The author became involved after witnessing fans taking a train apart in Wales and then devoted eight years to an inside study of English hooliganism.   Yet it is also a quite conscious attempt by the author to come to terms with his own feelings about violence.   In describing the ways in which crowd behaviour escalates from collective solidarity into demonstrative behaviour and eventually what appears to be anarchy, Buford recounts his own dissociation from his normal values as he abandons himself into this moral void.   He portrays the nihilism of the violent actions, relating it to feelings he had not had since he was a teenager.   “Violence is one of the most intensely lived experiences and, for those capable of giving themselves over to it, is one of the most intense pleasures.   What was it like for me?   An experience of absolute completeness.”

Buford’s sources, apart from his own observation, are members of the various organised groups of fans who attached themselves to clubs, such as Manchester United’s Red Army, newspaper cuttings services and contacts in the National Front.   Aside from its description of the mentality and social experience of some soccer hooligans, the book makes some large claims.   One of these is about the disappearance of the English working class.   Nothing is left but a bankrupt style and violence for its own sake.   As a kick at some sacred cows this is one thing, but as serious sociological observation, it is ludicrous.  Pete Davies described Among the Thugs as a “meretricious, misleading, morally repellent piece of work” and it is hard to disagree.[25] The quotation comes from his book which is a much better guide to what soccer is all about.   It has a much more balanced, if less involved, assessment of hooliganism too.

Allen’s account is distinct from the others since it is the first inside story from a new group who apparently emerged in the later 1980s, the so-called ‘casuals’ for whom style and the voyeurism of violence were a major part of life.   As police surveillance and crackdowns targeted the increasingly penned in working-class football fans, so street-wise kids treated the challenge to a series of finely orchestrated series of responses, which involved the emergence of the ‘firms’ and the ‘casuals’ – football-supporting and hooliganism became post-modern.

6            Reading the football hooligan, soccer becomes postmodern

Inevitably the study of football hooliganism became bound up in the development of postmodern critiques of society, though it is arguable whether there were any gains to be made as a result.   There was some highly effective criticism of the solipsist tendencies of the postmodernist project at the Sport, Philosophy and the Olympics Conference at De Montfort University in 1996.[26] It is easy to guy postmodernism when applied to soccer hooliganism, and it is hard to resist this extract taken more or less at random from Giulianotti:

‘Unlike the Scots, the Irish did not attempt to construct a symbolic “fusion of horizons” between themselves and other teams, which would have provided them with greater scope for popular cultural colonisation of those teams encountered in Genoa.   The pre-eminence of secondary sub-discourse of instrumental sociability and self-regulation amongst team members when performing to the local, media and prima facie opposing teams has been noted consistently’.[27]

My preference is for a more accessible account:

‘We walked down to the Scotland versus Holland game with a couple of young Scots supporters and they said they were getting on famously with the Dutch.   Evidence of this appeared when we got to the ground as a group of Dutch supporters in orange hair, orange faces, orange tops and kilts appeared.   “Can you not make up your mind what you are?” I asked.   In reply, one lifted his kilt and crossed his legs.   Just as well, for he had nothing on underneath.   “Dutch hermaphrodites”, I said to Tony Mason.[28]

The work of Steve Redhead, Stuart Cosgrove and Giulianotti has not been without its value.   Redhead, in particular, in teasing out connections between football, popular music and youth culture has helped in the process of demolishing simplistic connections between the sartorial style of football fans and a predilection for fascism.[29] Redhead argues that carnival rather than fighting has become fashionable at British sporting events, though this was written before the England match in Ireland last year, when there were reports of considerable neo-fascist involvement.   Also a claim that most English, Scottish and Irish fans at Italia 90 behaved more like Italian spectators can be a somewhat double-edged compliment when you remember what the Ultras and the Tifosi get up to, or the Juventus fans when they met Manchester United in 1996.[30]

7            Manipulation from above and tackled from behind

Gary Armstrong and others have revived some of the manipulative models of society which were common in the 1960s and 1970s in relation to football hooliganism.[31] They argue that the authorities, particularly the police, have used a socially sanctioned campaign against football hooliganism to introduce surveillance methods and techniques which would otherwise have been pilloried and exposed by the civil libertarians.   Most of this comment relies on Armstrong and Hobbs’ article in the Giulianotti volume, since unsuccessful efforts were made to get hold of Armstrong’s London Ph D thesis ‘Fists and Style’ which is the basis of much of his evidence on the topic.[32] When Armstrong’s arguments were put to police representatives at the Football, the Law and Civil Liberties Conference in Glasgow they were met by a response that the police were always fully accountable and a cautionary tale about what happened when a match commander who believed in treating fans like human beings was put in charge of a contentious game.[33] Subsequently the appearance of Armstrong’s Football Hooligans: Knowing the score in early 1998 has provided a much more extended and nuanced account of the Sheffield experiences, though his publishers’ claim that this is the first anthropological study of football hooliganism is ludicrous.[34] A biographical appendix of the Sheffield United “Blades” compiled on the way to an away game in April 1987 is designed to illustrate that there was no stable membership to this particular supporters group, though it is not clear how a single survey can illustrate dynamic and fluid cohorts over time.

8            Critiques and displacement, moral panics

Bert Moorhouse has always been very sceptical of much of the interpretative writing on football hooliganism in England, both because of his work on Scottish fans, particularly those who made the biennial pilgrimage to Wembley for the England versus Scotland game until that ended in 1989, and on general sociological grounds.   The Scots got drawn into a moral panic and an English labelling process even though their behaviour had not significantly altered over the years.[35] More seriously though Moorhouse argues,

‘The sober truth is that football violence is not a particularly large segment of all recorded violence and that one theoretically puzzling issue is why, given a high value on masculinity norms, heavy drinking and pre-existing social antagonisms in British society, football hooligans have not been a lot more violent’.[36]

Recent research tends to support this conclusion.   ‘It may be that even at their highest levels, arrest and ejection rates are representative of “run of the mill” behaviour at these events which requires official police intervention’.[37]

9            Cross-cultural comparisons

Moorhouse opens up the possibility of international comparisons of which there have been several of varying quality and depth in recent years.   A pioneer was Alan Roadburg who tried to account for differences in level of violence associated with sport in the Britain and the United States.   He was one of the few social scientists whose predictions were borne out in practice as he said there was no reason to expect that English football hooliganism would flourish in the United States in connection with the National Soccer League.[38] But that was true only because the league folded!   But violence has not been a strong accompaniment of the revival of Major League Soccer in the United States since the World Cup in 1994.

Bill Murray had done a piece of detailed work on the Old Firm, Rangers and Celtic, in Scotland and their fans, including a chapter on disturbances.[39] This is careful historical research with no taste of sociological concern or theorising, but it makes the point that the bulk of disturbances in Scotland seemed to have been linked to the Old Firm and religious rather than class differences.   A highly polemical response to Murray’s research by Gerry Finn adds a great deal of heat but little light to the topic.[40]

The work of Janet Lever for Brazil, Eduardo Archetti for Argentina and several Italian studies also have much to contribute, making evident the parochialism of much of the English analysis.   H H van der Brug wonders why football hooliganism has taken on in Holland, Germany and England to a greater extent than in other European countries, but again the situation is neither as clear cut nor as static as this view implies.[41] A full comparative study has not really been attempted, though Philippe Broussard’s Génération supporteur: Enquête sur les ultras du football comes closest from a journalistic perspective.[42]

10          Australian themes

i            Perceptions

The study of sports violence and soccer violence in Australia is in its infancy.   Wray Vamplew was one of the first in the field.   His informants were a non-random selection of sports coaches, participants, administrators and academics researching in the area.   He used a questionnaire which included the following questions: “In your opinion is the current level of violence in your sport 1 acceptable 2 excessive”.   Violence among players was defined by example as including foul language, racial or ethnic abuse, sexual harassment, verbal abuse of officials, physical abuse of officials, verbal abuse of other players, kicking, eye gouging, punching, biting, elbowing, head high tackles, tripping and other.   For spectators, the examples were: foul language, racial or ethnic abuse, sexual harassment, verbal abuse of officials, throwing of missiles, drunkenness, running on to pitch, vandalism (Note the absence of physical abuse of officials or players from the categories of spectator behaviour).   In each case respondents were asked to compare current experience with that of five years ago and in regard to spectators they were invited to rate spectator violence as ‘no problem, exists but acceptable, excessive’.[43]

He analysed 906 responses, 675 males and 231 female, with 54 from soccer, 143 Australian rules, 69 cricket.   34 per cent of soccer respondents thought spectator misbehaviour was excessive, compared with 19 per cent for rugby league, 18 for rules, 16 for basketball and 10 for netball.   Soccer was perceived as being particularly bad for throwing missiles, running onto the pitch, foul language, racial and ethnic abuse and abuse of officials.   These are perceptions.   Perceptions of more or less well informed people involved with the various sports, but they are not measures of the actual level of such incidents.   Since perceptions are important in forming attitudes to games these may not be ignored but while they help identify a perceived problem, they don’t necessarily give a firm statistical grasp on the issues identified.

In the media, the association of soccer violence has become a journalistic cliché producing some almost Pavlovian reactions.[44] The Roth cartoon captures a widely held perception that Australian Rules is more violent than soccer on the field.

ii            Balkan politics and displaced person syndrome

Phil Mosely has done some excellent detailed work on violence in soccer in Australia concentrating on the importation of Balkan politics in the post-war period.[45] More generally, in his original thesis and in subsequent work, he has linked violence in Australian soccer to the experience of the first generation of immigrants from war-torn Europe, with all their ethnic hatreds, and the idea of a ‘displaced person’s mentality’ arguing that the disorientated and anomic individual was more prone to violence than settled members of Australian society.[46] Soccer as a sport which attracted the first generation migrants accordingly picked up the violence as part and parcel of the migration process.   Different styles of play involving migrants from Britain and the continent also provoked conflict.   This kind of work has moved the argument a long way forward, and by concentrating on certain key groups it has focussed research in a very interesting way.   But there are problems.   The Maltese had a deserved reputation for violence in Australian soccer.   George Cross was suspended on occasion in Victoria and St Georges in New South Wales.   The former drew referees’ bans and so on.   But the majority of Maltese were not DPs, had no great reputation for violence at home at matches, and political problems only with Germans and Italians, which one might understand, but Maltese violence does not seem to have been limited to those groups.   More generally the recitation of a number of incidents and a brief examination of each based largely on newspaper reports carries certain inherent biases which need further exploration.

iii            The BBB and Croatian identity

John Hughson in his Ph D thesis has taken up the running with a close ethnographic study of the Sydney Croatian Bad Blue Boys, who model themselves on their counterparts in Zagreb, who followed Dinamo, now Croatia Zagreb renamed by President Tudjmann.[47] The original BBB are the subject of some fascinating analysis by Furio Radin, Minister for the Italian minorities in the Croatian Parliament, as they began to form a key part of the Croatian identity and independence movement, and later became a focus of the democratic opposition to Tudjmann.[48] Hughson has also produced a number of articles on the BBB and Croatian involvement in soccer violence and claims on that basis that Australian multicultural policy should be brought into question.   The evidential base for this large demand is somewhat tiny, even within the Sydney United club.[49] Similarly discussion about violent incidents involving Croatian and Greek fans needs to take account of the contemporary context of Victorian politics as is done below.[50]

11            A new look?

Having spent much of the last decade trying to quantify changes in violence associated with soccer in Victoria using all the available sources, I have come to the conclusion that there is a strict limit on what can be achieved by this approach.   There are no consistent series of records belonging to the soccer associations; the referees records are even more patchy; newspapers only report selected cases and even the specialist soccer press, when it exists, cannot be relied on to have covered each relevant incident.   Police records do not distinguish soccer related incidents and it is only by a close recalculation of data at the watch-house level and the application of some fairly arbitrary judgment that one could construct anything from this material.   For an attempt to make sense of some recent data see the work of my colleague Ian Warren.[51] There is the further set of puzzles related to the questions of variations in control and policing of incidents.

As a result I have turned back to what one might regard as traditional historical techniques for my new look at soccer violence.   I now tend to believe that it is only be very careful and more wide ranging investigation of specific incidents that one can reach a closer understanding of the dynamics involved.   To give a flavour of that, the rest of the discussion is a consideration of three sets of incidents, in 1972 and 1994 and those in England in 1996.

The first of these might easily but misleadingly be categorised as a simple case of ethnic violence with a crowd invasion and an attack on a referee at a match between Croatia and Hakoah in Melbourne.   However to understand the events of 1972, it is necessary to appreciate that changes in the structure of Victorian soccer in the 1960s had put the clubs in control.   Collectively the clubs had great difficulty in disciplining members since they relied heavily, as many still do to this day, on a support base, particularly for finance, drawn from one specific community.   Yet clubs and the Victorian Soccer Federation were prepared to act and several members were suspended for varying periods for various kinds of irregularities including on and off-field violence.   Geelong (Italian) was suspended for four or five weeks in 1955, George Cross (Maltese) in 1949, Croatia in the most significant and controversial case in 1972.

There is a considerable range of sources available for the study of the last of these incidents, which has not been seriously examined before.   There are newspaper reports, the transcript of court proceedings before Mr Justice Newton in the Supreme Court of Victoria, which cites the essence of the deliberations of the various Victorian Soccer Federation disciplinary bodies, the oral memories of participants on and off the field which have been recorded and those of Victorian Soccer Federation officials some of whom were key figures in the proceedings.

On 30 July 1972, Croatia played Hakoah in the Victorian State League, the top competition, at Olympic Park, which was Croatia’s home ground at the time, in front of 1700 spectators.   Croatia was fighting for a place in the top four, as was Hakoah.   Jimmy Brennan was the referee.[52] Fifteen minutes into the second half, he sent off a Croatian full back Hugh Gunn.   It appears that Gunn had made a series of strong tackles on the Hakoah winger, Bobby Saunders who formerly played with AFC Bournemouth.   The winger was described as a ‘jumper’ by his team manager Hedley Copeland.   He made a meal of the tackles and Brennan decided to take action against Gunn.[53]

Two minutes later Brennan gave another foul against Croatia.   According to Tony Vrzina, an eye-witness and an influential figure in the Croatian community and coach of several successful teams, Brennan then warned the Croatian player who had perpetrated the foul that a repetition would result in him being sent off too, and when he signalled this to the player by pointing towards the dressing rooms, the crowd interpreted the gesture as an indication that this player too was being dismissed.[54] The crowd invaded the pitch and the referee, the linesmen and some officials and players were punched and kicked (There was no mention of any weapons)[55].    According to Hedley Copeland, the players on both sides lined up to protect the referee, landing a few blows on spectators who were trying to get at him.   The match was abandoned.    There were five police in attendance, who were unable to prevent the assaults, but more police were summoned and matters were brought under control and the ground was cleared.

Frank Burin, an eye-witness and later team manager of Croatia, says that the young Croatian captain was in the mood to take his team off the field and waved in the direction of the Croatian youth on the terraces, perhaps inviting them to come over the fence.   The trouble-makers were known to the club.    Frank thinks it was inexperience on the part of the captain, Benec, or perhaps he was set up.[56] The first fans over the fence may well have been connected to the Croatian Youth in Carlton, which had had trouble with the police.

At the VSF Tribunal, chaired by Justice O’Connor, on Thursday 3 August 1972, Croatia was charged that it had failed to control its spectators resulting in the abandonment of the game and an assault on the referee and linesmen.   The club criticised the referee.   ‘Because of his poor umpiring the public was upset and invaded the playing area’.   Croatia had five paid police and officials who were themselves assaulted.   No club would have been able to control the spectators.   The Club deplore and ‘are very sorry about these incidents which only harm our club’s welfare and soccer in general’.   The Tribunal unanimously found, ‘Croatia Club failed in its responsibility to control the spectators and ordered that Croatia be disqualified from membership of the VSF.   To the decision, the tribunal added, ‘The tribunal feels that if strong action is not taken to compel soccer clubs to control spectators the day is not far distant when such behaviour will result in the death or serious injury of some persons.’[57]

Croatia appealed against the decision, but the Appeal Board on Tuesday, 8 August 1972 found Croatia guilty and disqualified the club from membership until the conclusion of the 1972 season.   Thereafter it was specifically allowed to apply for re-admission, with the decision on that application being determined by the VSF in accordance with its Constitution and Rules.[58] Croatia did apply on 22 August 1972 in writing, but this application was refused.[59]

After a considerable debate within the club, Croatia then appealed to the Supreme Court of Victoria that the decisions of the Tribunal and the Appeal Board were invalid, that the club was still a member of the State League and that the club had not been guilty of an ‘offence’ in respect of which the Tribunal or the Appeal Board were empowered to impose any penalty on the club.[60] Mr Justice Newton found for the VSF and awarded costs against Croatia.

Whatever the outcome of the expulsion, many people connected with the clubs were convinced that Croatia had been victimised.   Martin Groher of North Geelong Soccer Club believes that Croatia was set up, particularly by Tony Kovac, who was associated with the Footscray JUST club, and the fact that the match was against Hakoah, and hence seen by some as Nazi sympathisers (Ustashe) versus Jews, was significant.[61] The former Executive Director of the VSF, George Wallace, denies that Croatia was set-up and says that the matter was handled by the book by the VSF, as was proved in the subsequent court case.   Both may be right.   However, it seems that there were equivalent incidents that year which did not result in expulsion or comparable penalties, for example Sunshine George Cross versus Footscray JUST on 7 May 1972.[62] Enver Begovic was reported to have said that it was humanly impossible for club officials and police to stop a determined group of troublemakers from creating a disturbance at any sporting event.   ‘It has happened at four different State League rounds this season, yet charges have not been brought against any other club’, he said.   ‘To disbar Croatia for an incident which it could not possibly prevent is both unjust and a threat to other properly administered clubs’.[63]

In the transcript of his judgment in the Supreme Court of Victoria, Mr Justice Newton referred to eight cases from a large bundle of case records submitted by the VSF.   His references related to whether the charge against Croatia constituted an offence, and hence the selection and comment on these cases has to bear that in mind.   Of the eight cases cited however, only one, that against Victoria Park Soccer Club, for an incident on 16 July 1972, dealt with on appeal by the Federation Tribunal on 2 August 1972, resulted in the disqualification of the club.   In this instance it was from the District League for the remainder of the 1972 season.   During the incident which led to the charge against Victoria Park supporters armed with knives, iron rods, umbrellas, stones and broken bottles invaded the ground and attacked the referee and opposing players.   In the other seven cases dealt with, the penalties, for offences which all involved spectator incursions, ranged from fines of up to £100 to reprimands and requirements to supply two policemen to subsequent home games.   In the case of one club, Kingsville, it was the second offence which resulted in a $50 fine and the instruction to supply police.[64] Now these cases may well exclude others where more severe penalties were applied including expulsion.[65] Fred Hutchison, referee and secretary of the Ringwood Wilhelmina club said that other clubs had been expelled and it was the fact that Croatia was regularly in trouble which led to the severe penalty in its case.[66] However, it is at least arguable that Croatia was treated with disproportionate severity in 1972.  On the other hand Laurie Schwab and Craig Mackenzie’s claim about 1972 that ‘Everything went smoothly until there was crowd disturbance during a match at Olympic Park against Hakoah’, will not stand up.[67]

There were politically inspired incidents after the Ampol Cup final between Croatia and JUST which led to an unprecedented VSF decision to have the league matches between Croatia and JUST played behind closed doors at a venue to be announced to the players only 24 hours before the game.[68] Both clubs appealed against the decision and it was eventually rescinded, leading to the resignation of the Chairman of the VSF John Gorton.   He was reinstated a week later.[69] The two clubs were also required by the VSF to change their names to those of the districts in which they played.   JUST protested on the grounds that following the amalgamation with Footscray it was now known as Footscray JUST.[70] So Croatia was in the VSF’s bad books before the expulsion.

Tony Vrzina says that he went to the club and offered to negotiate with the VSF to ensure that Hakoah got the points from the game and that Croatia was not punished severely.   This offer was turned down because it was said that Vrzina was only out to do down the reputation of the club following his resignation.   Vrzina had recruited a star player from Croatia who had suffered a head injury and had drink problems.   He was accused of not playing the new player, whom some believed should become coach.   This was part of the reason for Vrzina’s resignation.

It has been put to me several times that if Croatia had agreed to Hakoah getting the points then the expulsion would never have come about.   But  the leadership of the Croatian club, especially Enver Begovic, believing in the rightness of their cause refused to countenance such a concession.   We shall probably never know for certain whether there was decisive political pressure to expel Croatia in 1972.   It is however hard to accept that the expulsion of Croatia from the State League, North Geelong from the Provisional League and North Geelong from the Ballarat and Geelong District League in 1972 was just a series of coincidences.   The year 1972 saw the election of the Whitlam Labour government and a sharp change in the national political climate, in which Croatians, went from being accepted or at least tolerated in government circles as fervent anti-communists, to pariahs as tainted with fascism in the eyes of Labour.   Mr Justice Murphy was to mount his celebrated raid on the ASIO offices in Melbourne, seeking information about a cover-up of relations between the previous government and Croatian nationalists.

The Croatian community was stunned by the expulsion.   Many people severed their involvement with the game at this point and some never came back.   Players, whose suspensions were lifted early in August, left for other clubs.[71] Billy Vojtek joined Sydney Croatia, Mackay went to Sydney-Hakoah, Bill McIntyre to Hellas and Kondarios, Turicar and Hadiavdic to Keilor-Austria.[72]

Others Croatians were equally determined to keep the community identity to the fore and continued to hold meetings every Tuesday even though the club no longer existed as a competitive entity.    Subsequently, however, those involved changed tack and came back into soccer through Essendon Lions which was gradually taken over by the Croatian community.[73] Tony Vrzina became President-Manager with Duze Zemunik as coach.   Eventually Essendon Lions evolved into Essendon Croatia and then Melbourne Croatia, then Melbourne CSC now the Melbourne Knights, back to back champion of the National League, the Ericsson Cup in 1994-5 and 1995-6.

Because Croatians had been using the soccer club as a focus for political campaigns, the expulsion incidentally proved effective in the sense that since that time Croatian clubs have been careful to maintain their opposition within the boundaries set by the national and state federations.[74] One interesting point has been raised to me.   There was no real ethnic conflict with Hakoah.   Hakoah actually spoke for Croatia in the VSF tribunal.   Conflict, if it existed, was with Serbians represented in VSF by Tony Kovac.   Kovac died before I could interview him and so I have nothing from his perspective on why the ban was imposed.   VSF sources deny any departure from the rules or ethnic bias.   Fred Hutchison remembers it as the culmination of a long series of incidents and said the VSF was tired of Croatia.   But what about George Cross, which was also involved in a series of incidents?   It was Maltese.   With whom did they have ethnic conflict?   Italians or Germans?

The next pair of games I want to look at took place in 1994 at the same venue, involving teams from areas involved in territorial disputes in south east Europe, which had very different receptions, though as I will try to show, it was events off the pitch which gave them that.   The first game I want to consider was a National Soccer League game on 6 March 1994 between South Melbourne (formerly South Melbourne Hellas) and Melbourne Knights (previously known as Melbourne Croatia) ended peacefully in a one-all draw.   There was a crowd of 15,000, close to capacity at Middle Park, South Melbourne’s home ground for over 30 years, though it has now been displaced to the Lake Oval (the Bob Jane Stadium) to make way for the Grand Prix.   After the game, as the crowds left the stadium, a scuffle among a small group of supporters broke out and an elderly fan was struck ‘by half a brick thrown into a crowd’.[75]

On the Monday headlines in the press included ‘Racial row spills on to soccer field’, (Geelong Advertiser), ‘Violence erupts after soccer match (Age), but the context was more clearly given in the Herald-Sun, which had ‘Kennett offer on feud’ above a colour photograph of the injured Alex Karamitros in an extensive report on page three.[76] The front page repeated the photograph in close-up under the heading ‘Fan felled, ten held in flare-up’, which put the focus back firmly on the soccer.   The match, far from being the cause of inter-ethnic violence, was rather caught up in what had erupted over the previous months in large part as a result of political decisions made by the Federal government in Canberra and the State government in Victoria.   The rumbles following the terms of the recognition of Macedonia as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on the one hand and Mr Kennett’s apparent endorsement of the Greek position on the other came in the midst of, and helped to contribute to, rising tensions in the two communities in Melbourne.   The Croatians had absolutely nothing to do with this in a political sense.

The soccer match however guaranteed a huge crowd as the two Melbourne teams vied for top spot in the NSL with an advantageous position in the play-offs at stake.   The match was very exciting and could have been decided three minutes into injury time, but Australian skipper Paul Wade, of South Melbourne, fired a penalty kick wide of the goals.   During the match, despite warnings from the soccer authorities to both teams and their fans, provocative banners were raised, very tentatively, by spectators.   The Croatian youth flew Macedonian banners, while the Greeks, the Hellas Hooligans perhaps, had a Serbian flag on display albeit briefly.   Both sets of younger supporters indulged in some fairly pointed chanting and there was a great deal of passionate support, but most of it directed at the result of the game.   There was a stronger than usual police presence at the ground and virtually no trouble while the match was in progress.

At the end of the game, both sets of fans are inevitably intermingled on the bankings opposite the main grandstand and in the car park area.   There is very little traffic control after major sports events in Melbourne, with the crowds usually left to sort themselves out.   According to the Herald-Sun report there was a huge shouting match around 5 pm, about ten minutes after the end of the match, and some youths were throwing rocks, which are plentiful around the back of Middle Park.   ‘A man was charged with recklessly causing injury, while another nine between 17 and 63 were charged with resiting arrest, obstructing police and riotous behaviour’.   The young reporter sent by the Herald-Sun had very little experience of soccer matches and according to the soccer correspondent behaved very naively.

The contrast needs to be drawn with the Victorian Soccer Federation Premier League final played on 25 September 1994, when the political atmosphere in Victoria had cooled considerably.   This match involved Preston (Macedonian) and Port Melbourne (Greek) and once again was played at Middle Park, before a much smaller crowd, perhaps a tenth of that for the National League game.   There was some shouting and chanting, some banging of the back of the stand, a couple of flares, a provocative banner, quickly confiscated, and one small disturbance during which a youth in a Macedonian top ran into a group of Greek fans in front of the social club, then sprinted away to the top of the banking where he quickly removed his top and put on another nondescript one.   I thought at the time that this was the action of an agent provocateur.   No arrests were made and the Preston, the minor premiers, won the match comfortably and were well received at the finish.

The lesson which I hope is emerging from this is that politicians have to be careful about their interventions in these areas, as do the police.   If soccer was an independent dynamic and a cause of violence in an earlier generation, and I think that is very arguable, then it no longer is and has become more the victim of, rather than the trigger for socio-political issues.   The image of the game remains, despite the best efforts of the Associations and the clubs, which have accepted the process of downplaying traditional symbols, including long time club names, even if somewhat reluctantly at first.   Commercial pressures, sponsorship, and the critical need to manage a successful transition from the generations who built up the sport in Australia in the 1950s and 1960s to younger people, born in Australia, to whom the game inevitably means somewhat less, are combining to encourage clubs to go down the path of community and locality identification, rather than ethnic exclusiveness.   Examples include Morwell Falcons, Wollongong Wolves, Brisbane Strikers and the revived Newcastle Breakers.[77] Even the big city clubs like Croatia, now the Knights in Melbourne and United in Sydney, Olympic and South Melbourne are setting off down the same road.

I suggest that we need to adopt a similar approach if we are to make sense of the Trafalgar Square riots during the European Football Championships in England in June.   After England’s defeat in the semi-final by Germany there was a major gathering in central London that night and what began as a wake ended up with police baton charges and mayhem.   In several other parts of England there were reports of riotous incidents and a young Russian student was stabbed because it is said his assailants thought he was German.   Frank Keating has recently claimed that the violence was covered up by the media and authorities, by the former in shame at the ways in which they had contributed to fomenting the xenophobia surrounding the later stages of the championship.   I can only report that I had copies of all the material relating to the violent incidents in my files within forty-eight hours of the events and did not see any signs of a cover up, more something which could be explained by timing, since the troubles occurred too late to be picked up by the morning papers and there are very few afternoon editions in England these days.

In a recent study David Waddington has developed what he calls a flashpoint theory of social disorders to explain how public gatherings sometimes turn into riots.[78] Waddington admits that football hooliganism does not fit his model.[79] He finishes with quote from Dick Holt about difficulty of disentangling old and new in social history.   Yet the kind of approach Waddington’s work represents seems to me suggestive.

I believe we do need thick description in Geertz’s sense, and close historical analysis.   Riots and hooliganism are seldom, if ever, reducible to a single historical cause.   Riots change in character as they proceed because of the interactions between the rioters, bystanders and authorities and hence the perceptions of the various groups can be very different, thus producing the greater likelihood of escalating conflict and certainly differing accounts of what transpired.   The external context for hooliganism may be vital.   This can include structural factors and direct interventions by politicians and the media which raise the temperature making trouble more likely.   Here I think there is a link to Waddington’s flashpoint theory.   Then again fashions change and people respond.   Today’s violence will not be the same as yesterday’s.   The problem with soccer of course is that it is just too popular.

Nowadays there is bound to be one incident of violence associated with soccer somewhere in the world on any given day.   It will be picked up by the news services and chances are that it will be the item which will appear on soccer in the Australian mainstream press.   Even the sending off of an Argentinian polo player for violent conduct in a match involving Kerry Packer’s team somehow turned up in the Herald-Sun under the heading ‘Soccer’ and a soccer ball logo.   Is the link between soccer and violence so deeply buried in the sub-editor’s psyche that this is the result, or is there a more prosaic explanation?


Roth Cartoon, Age 1 June 1985, p. 40

Soccer, Herald Sun, 17 June 1993, p. 55.

[1] Soccer hooliganism: A preliminary report to Mr Dennis Howell, Minister of Sport, by a Birmingham Research Group, Directed by Dr J A Harrington, Bristol, John Wright and Sons, 1968; Report of the working party on crowd behaviour at football matches, London, Ministry of Housing and Local Government, 1969.

[2] Ian Taylor, ‘Soccer Consciousness and Soccer Hooliganism’, in Stanley Cohen, ed., Images of Deviance, Penguin, London, 1971, pp. 134-164.

[3] Taylor modified his original thesis in the light of subsequent research, see ‘On the sports violence question: Soccer hooliganism revisited’, in John Hargreaves, ed., Sport, Culture and Ideology, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1982.

[4] Peter E Marsh, Elizabeth Rosser and Rom Harré, The rules of disorder, London, Routledge and K. Paul, 1978

[5] Geoffrey Pearson, Hooligan: A history of respectable fears, London, Macmillan, 1983, pp. 29-31, concludes, ‘The realities of pre-war football do not find agreement with post-war nostalgia’.

[6] Desmond Morris, The soccer tribe, London, Cape, 1981.

[7] For a very brief introduction see, Eric Dunning, ‘The social roots of football hooliganism: A reply to critics of the Leicester school’, in Richard Giulianotti, Norman Bonney and Mike Hepworth, eds, Football Violence and Social Identity, Routledge, London, 1994, pp. 145-49; See also, Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning, Quest for excitement: Sport and leisure in the civilising process, Oxford, Blackwell, 1986.

[8] Dunning, Reply, pp. 145-149.

[9] Drawing on the theories of Gerald Suttles, The social order of the slum: Ethnicity and territory in the inner city, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1968; The social construction of communities, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1972.

[10] Eric Dunning, ‘“Culture”, “Civilisation” and the sociology of sport’, Innovation in Social Sciences Research, 5, No. 4, 1992, pp. 7-18.

[11] Tony Mason, Association football and English society, 1863-1915, Sussex, Harvester Press, 1980; John Hutchinson, ‘Some aspects of football crowds before 1914’, The Working Class and Leisure, Conference of the Society for the Study of Labour History, Sussex, 1975; Conference report, Society for the Study of Labour History Bulletin, 32, Spring 1976, pp. 10-12; Wray Vamplew, ‘Ungentlemanly conduct: The control of soccer crowd behaviour in England 1888-1914’, in T C Smout, ed., The Search for wealth and stability: Essays in economic and social history presented to M W Flinn, London, Macmillan, 1979, pp. 139-154.

[12] Eric Dunning, Patrick Murphy and John Williams, The roots of football hooliganism : an historical and sociological study, London, Routledge, 1989, p. 230.

[13] This is a close paraphrase of ibid, pp. 232-234.   Liberal and progressive ideas and decriminalising legislation also had to bear a share of the blame.

[14] R W Lewis, ‘Football hooliganism in England before 1914: A critique of the Dunning thesis’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 13, 1996, pp. 310-339.

[15] Patrick Murphy, Eric Dunning and Joseph Maguire, ‘Football spectator violence and disorder before the First World War: A reply to R W Lewis’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 15, 1998, pp. 141-162.

[16] Norbert Elias and Eric Dunning, Quest for excitement: Sport and leisure in the civilising process, Oxford, Blackwell, 1986.

[17] John Williams, Eric Dunning and Patrick Murphy, Hooligans abroad: The behaviour and control of English fans in continental Europe, London, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1984.

[18] Peter Marsh, ‘Life and careers on the soccer terraces’, in Roger Ingham et al, ‘Football Hooliganism’: The wider context, London, Inter-Action Inprint, 1978, pp. 61-81.

[19] J Horne and D Jary, ‘The figurational sociology of sport and leisure of Elias and Dunning: An exposition and critique’, in J Horne, D Jary and A Tomlinson, eds, Sport, leisure and social relations, London, Routledge, 1987, p. 100.

[20] John Williams and Steven Wagg, eds, British football and social change: Getting into Europe, Leicester, Leicester University Press, 1991, p. 177.

[21] Eric Dunning, ‘The social roots of football hooliganism: A reply to critics of the Leicester school’, in Richard Giulianotti, Norman Bonney and Mike Hepworth, eds, Football Violence and Social Identity, Routledge, London, 1994, pp. 137-155.

[22] H F Moorhouse, ‘Football hooligans: Old bottles, new whines?’, The Sociological Review, 39, No. 3, August 1991, p. 500.

[23] Colin Ward, Steaming in: Journal of a football fan, London, Simon and Schuster, 1989; Jay Allan, Bloody Casuals: Diary of a football hooligan, Famedram, 1989; Bill Buford, Among the thugs, New York, Vintage Departures, 1993, Originally published London, Martin Secker & Warburg, 1991; Dougie and Eddy Brimson, Everywhere we go: Behind the matchday madness, London, Headline, 1996.

[24] In what follows I am plagiarising my review of Buford in Mattoid, 48, 1994, pp. 259-260.

[25] Pete Davies, Twenty-Two Foreigners in Funny Shorts, Random House, New York, 1994, p. 268.

[26] Roy Hay, Sport, Philosophy and the Olympics, Second annual conference on Philosophical Issues in Sport and Physical Education, Maryland College, Woburn, 15 to 17 March 1996, Centre for Applied Sports Philosophy and Ethics Research (CASPER) at De Montfort University’s Bedford Campus, sponsored by International Centre for Research on Sports History and Culture, De Montfort University, Leicester, Victorian Bulletin of Sport and Culture, Victoria University of Technology, 7, June 1996, pp. 11-12.

[27] Richard Giulianotti, ‘Scotland’s tartan army in Italy: The case for the carnivalesque’, The Sociological Review, 39, No. 3, August 1991, p. 515.

[28] Roy Hay, ‘Euro 96 Diary Day Three’, Australian and British Soccer Weekly, 25 June 1996, p. 23.

[29] Steve Redhead, ‘Football and youth culture in Britain’, in John Williams and Steven Wagg, eds, British football and social change: Getting into Europe, Leicester, Leicester University Press, 1991, pp. 145-159.

[30] ‘Manchester United fans want action from UEFA after claiming they were subjected to violent treatment during Wednesday’s European Cup match against Juventus in Turin’. Manchester, England Sep 13, 1996 – 15:17 EST, (c) 1996 Copyright Nando.net (c) 1996 Reuter Information Service.

[31] Gary Armstrong and Dick Hobbs, ‘Tackled from behind’, in Richard Giulianotti, Norman Bonney and Mike Hepworth, eds, Football Violence and Social Identity, Routledge, London, 1994, pp. 196-228.

[32] In April 1997, I was told by the Graduate Studies section of University College, London that the thesis was currently not available for consultation because it contained ‘sensitive material’!

[33] Roy Hay, Football, the Law and Civil Liberties, Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance, Renfrew Street, Glasgow, Tuesday 26 March 1996, Scottish Council for Civil Liberties and the Scottish Trades Union Congress, sponsored by the Scotsman newspaper, Victorian Bulletin of Sport and Culture, Victoria University of Technology, 7, June 1996, pp. 12-14.

[34] Gary Armstrong, Football hooligans: Knowing the score, Oxford, Berg, 1998.

[35] H F Moorhouse, ‘Scotland against England: Football and popular culture’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 4, September 1987, pp. 189-202; H F Moorhouse, ‘Football hooligans: Old bottles, new whines?’, The Sociological Review, 39, No. 3, August 1991, pp. 489-502.

[36] ibid. p. 493.

[37] Ian Warren, Cultures of control: Law, Enforcement and public order at sporting events: A comparative approach, University of Melbourne MA, 1996, pp. 26-7.

[38] Alan Roadburg, ‘Factors precipitating fan violence: a comparison of professional soccer in Britain and North America’, British Journal of Sociology, 31, 1980, pp. 265-276.

[39] Bill Murray, The Old Firm: Sectarianism, sport and society in Scotland, Edinburgh, John Donald, 1984, Chapter 7, ‘The riots and the fans’, pp. 163-189.

[40] G P T Finn, ‘Racism, religion and social prejudice: Irish catholic clubs, soccer and Scottish society – I The historical roots of prejudice, International Journal of the History of Sport, 8, 1991, pp. 72-95; G P T Finn, ‘Racism, religion and social prejudice: Irish catholic clubs, soccer and Scottish society – II Social identities and conspiracy theories’, International Journal of the History of Sport, 8, 1991, pp. 370-397.

[41] H H van der Brug, ‘Football hooliganism in the Netherlands’, in Richard Giulianotti, Norman Bonney and Mike Hepworth, eds, Football Violence and Social Identity, Routledge, London, 1994, pp. 174-195.

[42] I owe this reference and much else besides to Bill Murray.   For a sane discussion of the issue of hooliganism see his The World’s Game: A history of soccer, University of Illinois Press, Urbana, 1996, pp. 162-171.

[43] Wray Vamplew, ‘Sports crowd disorder: An Australian survey’, in John O’Hara, ed., Crowd violence at Australian sport, ASSH Studies in Sports History, No. 7, Australian Society for Sports History, Campbelltown, 1992, pp. 79-111.

[44] See Appendix, Roth cartoon, Polo item from Herald-Sun, Geelong Advertiser and Soccer Action.

[45] Philip Mosely, ‘Balkan politics in Australian soccer’, in John O’Hara, ed., Ethnicity and soccer in Australia, ASSH Studies in Sports History, No. 10, Australian Society for Sports History, Campbelltown, February 1994, pp. 33-43; Philip Mosely, Ethnic involvement in Australian soccer, 1950-1990, Canberra, Australian Sports Commission, 1995, Chapter 6, Violence – a case study of the Balkan communities, pp. 64-72.

[46] Philip Mosely, ‘European immigrants and soccer violence in New South Wales, 1949-1959’, Journal of Australian Studies, 40 March 1994, pp. 14-26.

[47] John E Hughson, A feel for the game: An ethnographic study of soccer support and identity, Ph D, University of New South Wales, 1996.

[48] Roy Hay, Football in Europe, Sir Norman Chester Centre for Football Research, University of Leicester and the International Centre for Sports History and Culture at De Montfort University, hosted the Football in Europe Conference at Leicester City Soccer Club, 30-31 May 1996 Bulletin of Sport and Culture, Victoria University of Technology, 8, September 1996, pp. 10-12.

[49] John Hughson, ‘The Bad Blue Boys and “the magical recovery” of John Clarke’, in Gary Armstrong and Richard Giulianotti, eds, Entering the Field: Studies in World Football, Oxford, Berg, 1997, pp. 239-259; John Hughson, ‘Football, folk dancing and fascism: diversity and difference in multicultural Australia, Australia and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, 33, 1977, pp. 167-186.

[50] Hughson, Football, folk-dancing and fascism, p. 183, fn. 8.

[51] Ian Warren, Cultures of control: Law, Enforcement and public order at sporting events: A comparative approach, University of Melbourne MA, 1996.

[52] According to George Wallace, Brennan was much affected by these events, though he continued to referee.    He is alleged to have committed suicide in 1984 or 1985.

[53] Hedley Copeland in conversation at meeting of Victorian chapter of ASSH, Adam Street, Burnley, 4 October 1993.   Copeland attended the subsequent meeting of the tribunal and spoke on behalf of Gunn and Croatia.   At the tribunal Gunn was acquitted when he appeared on a charge of violent conduct.   Sun, 10 August 1972, p. 62.

[54] Discussion with Tony Vrzina at Fawkner, 5 September 1993, following the Premier League semi-final.   Vrzina had resigned as coach of Croatia earlier in the year after recruiting players from overseas during a pre-season trip.   There was disagreement among the committee according to the Age, 17 April 1972, p. 22.   Vrzina had been with the club for two seasons and he won the Ampol Cup with Croatia at the start of the season, beating JUST 2-1 in a violent final.   Age, 11 March 1972, p. 28.   The replayed semi-final with George Cross also had fiery incidents.   Age, 4 March 1972, p. 27 and 9 March 1972, p. 28.

[55] According to the AUP report in the Geelong Advertiser, 500 people stormed on to the ground.   The referee was escorted from the ground by police, he was not injured.   No arrests were made.   The police locked the gates and ushered people out of the ground.   ‘The treasurer of the Croatia club Mr Husein Plecic said yesterday his club’s followers were tired of unfair refereeing’.   Geelong Advertiser, 31 July 1972.

[56] Interview with Frank Burin, 31 Jan. 1994, tape recording in possession of the author.

[57] ibid, p. 19

[58] Decision of the Appeal Board of the VSF 8 August 1972, VSF Files at Soccer House.   See also Sun, 10 August 1972, p. 62; ibid., 11 August 1972, p. 48.

[59] Enver Begovic and others v Michael Parker and others, Judgment by Mr Justice Newton of the Supreme Court of Victoria, 3 May 1973, pp. 2-3.

[60] ibid, p. 3

[61] Harry Mrksa also believes that Kovac, JUST and the Yugoslav authorities were instrumental in putting pressure on the VSF directly and through Jewish members of the Federation, interview with Harry Mrksa,  27 May 1993, tape recording in possession of the author.

[62] The Age, 8 May 1972.

[63] Sun, 10 August 1972, p. 62.

[64] Enver Begovic and others v Michael Parker and others, Judgment by Mr Justice Newton of the Supreme Court of Victoria, 3 May 1973, pp. 21-3 and 29-34.

[65] Geelong Soccer Club, playing as IAMA was suspended for four weeks in 1955, Geelong Advertiser, 25 July 1955 and Goodchild Soccer Club was expelled in June 1956 “for failure to comply with League requirements on club management and other matters”.   Soccer News, 30 June 1956, p. 4.

[66] Interview with Fred Hutchison, tape recording in possession of the author.

[67] Soccer Action, 19 October 1983, pp. 8-9.

[68] Jack Pollard, Ampol’s Australian Sporting Records, 1968, p. 250.; Age, 22 April 1972, p. 27.

[69] Pollard, op. cit., p. 250.   The meeting of the Tribunal was scheduled for Monday, 15 May 1972, Age, 3 May 1972, p. 24.

[70] Age, 26 April 1972, back page.

[71] Sun, 11 August 1972, p. 48.

[72] Soccer Action, 19 October 1983, pp. 8-9.

[73] Tony Vrzina was invited to coach Essendon Lions in July 1974.   He saved the Ukrainian team from relegation and during the next season he was instrumental in the Croatian players and officials taking over, paying their predecessors $25,000 for the clubrooms and facilities at Montgomery Park.   Notes on an interview with Tony Vrzina at Hilton Hotel prior to AC Milan press conference, 17 June 1993.

[74] Though in 1997 Sydney United pushed its disagreements with Soccer Australia through the Courts once again at enormous cost to both club and governing body, and in 1998 Melbourne Knights took Soccer Australia to court over a player transfer and lost.

[75] Age, 7 March 1994, p.

[76] Geelong Advertiser, Age, and Herald-Sun, 7 March 1994.

[77] Revived in 1996-7.

[78] David P Waddington, Contemporary issues in public disorder : a comparative and historical approach, London, Routledge, 1992.

[79] ibid, p. 138.

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