Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Some Sort Of Record?

I've recently been watching "Danny Dyer's Real Football Factories". The series sends actor and, by all impressions, self-styled Cockney Geezah Danny Dyer across the world to meet football's most notorious hooligan firms. Over the last couple of months, we've followed him to Argentina, Brazil, Holland, Turkey, Italy, The Balkans, Russia and Poland. You may remember Dyer from the hoolie-porn flick "The Football Factory". I'd assumed that he was playing an over the top stereotype, but it turns out that he actually is an over the top stereotype himself. He has been seen wandering the streets of Moscow, Rio De Janeiro and Buenos Aires muttering things like, "dis is the furvest I've been from my manor in moi loife", and describing almost everybody that he meets as "nawty boyz".

There is a germ of an idea for a good programme going on here. Football hooliganism is a global phenomenon these days. Indeed, it's one that I'm glad to be able to say that we don't really see too much of in England these days. However, it's difficult to get past the fact that Dyer is such a massive twat, and the programme suffers as a result. It would be nice to think that we could learn a lot about the inner workings of the hooligan mind, so that the issue could be addressed in a more constructive way than the normal mixture of hand-wringing and draconian proposals that are brought forward whenever there is any trouble at a football match. We were always going to be unlikely to get this with Danny Dyer, though. He seemed to be far too pumped up on a mixture of fear and testosterone to be capable of anything approaching serious analysis. He failed singularly to address the more unsavoury aspects of their political stances (either he was too scared or tacitly agrees with them - it was difficult to tell) and, in the intense atmosphere of the Curva at the Stadio Olimpico for a Rome derby, he seemed to be close to gurgling with excitement, in spite of being amongst a large number of neo-fascist Lazio ultras.

Danny would have been delighted to have been at last Sunday's Intertoto Cup match between Vetra of Vilnius and Legia Warsaw, which had to be abandoned at half-time with Vetra leading by two goals to nil after a pitched battle between riot police and Legia fans at half-time. You can see it here, if you're particularly interested (though I'd steer clear of reading the comments, unless you're of the opinion that human evolution reached its peak about a hundred years ago and has been slowly regressing ever since). UEFA have, of course, promised an enquiry, and Legia have issued a statement saying words to the effect that, "you know, that video footage doesn't exactly show us in a very good light - we're going to have to take whatever punishment is thrown at us". There have also been worried noises coming from the press over the recent decision to host the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. This is, of course, largely scaremongering. There are plenty of Western European journalists that are happy to stereotype Eastern Europeans as subhuman and infer that their impoverished infrastructures will never be able to cope with hosting a major football competition, but this is nonsense. The English rioted in Dublin just a year before Euro 96, but I don't really recall anything beyond a couple of column inches in the more hysterical tabloids suggesting that England was incapable of hosting a major tournament.

Anyway, well done to the lunatic fringes of Legia's support. You've almost certainly got your team thrown out of any involvement in European football for this season, at least. Not, I strongly suspect, that any of them will care that much. Might I suggest that, the next time they're going to get involved in anything like this, they invite Danny Dyer along to join in? A short spell in a Polish prison might cure him of his voyeuristic tendencies.


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