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Football hooliganism in Britain never really went away—it just got demoted to the lower divisions. I should know; I'm a Brentford fan

By Patrick West   June 2005

It is widely assumed that we in Britain have largely eradicated football hooliganism, and that far from being an “English disease,” soccer-related violence now mainly afflicts Mediterranean countries. The superior attitude of the British media towards the racist chanting recently heard in Spanish games, the violent disposition of some Turkish fans or the frequent disorder at games in Italy is evidence of this new assumption.

Yet a recent statement from a senior British transport police officer shows that hooliganism never really went away and, indeed, appears to be on the rise. The transport police, who monitor the movement of football…

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