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This weekend to watch in your free time: Football and its hooligans

Insulting, abusing, spitting, throwing stones, bricks and Molotov cocktails on the opposing supporters, abuse of smoke bombs and massive fights:  this is another side of Football.

How football, the most popular sport in the world, has turned from a unifying factor into a cause of discord? Watch those two films about football fans, which are showing the life of football hooligans from the inside and you will maybe understand the reason of their hatred.

Green Street

2005, UK,
Direction: Lexi Alexander
With: Charlie Hunnam, Claire Forlani, Elijah Wood and Leo Gregory

The director Lexi Alexander was inspired by memories of her childhood, when she supported the Waldhof Mannheim football team. Co-authored with the former football hooligan Dougie Brimson, she wrote the script and directed the movie about the lifestyle of the supporters of West Ham United Football Club. This film is another attempt to portray the so-called "English disease", hooliganism, in the cinema. The plot is quite simple - journalism student Matt Buckner got dismissed from Harvard for a crime he did not commit. He moves to London to his married sister, where her husband introduces Matt to his younger brother Pete.  Becoming friends with Pete, Matt discovers the world of football fanaticism and learns about the mysteries and intrigues within the football firm”Green Street Elite”. Behind all the sport, alcohol and fights, a story of true friendship, support, loyalty and honor reveals. On the contrary, we see the result of baseless hate and senseless fights.

Why the movie is worth seeing? Firstly because of the script: it is exciting to watch the process of integration of a new member into the most ardent firm, “the Green Street Elite”, and trying to understand how the violence appears in the football environment. Secondly, it is unusual to observe the boyish “Hobbit” face of Elijah Wood in the role of a brutal football hooligan.

The Football Factory

2004, UK
Directed by Nick Love
Starring: Danny Dyer, Dudley Sutton, Frank Harper, Jamie Foreman, Neil Maskell, Roland Manookian, Tamer Hassan

The film is a cult classic for football fans. “The Football factory” is based on a book written by John King - the iconic British writer who writes about football club supporters. This story is not only about football fans, but also about the English middle class society of the 90’s. Through his description of the everyday life of the middle class, we can see the reason of hatred, racism and aggression in the football environment. The movie vividly shows hooligans daily life, how they spend their time in bars or at the stadium, how they manifest themselves after matches. The outstanding acting makes the audience fall in love with the actors, although at the same time the spectators do not justify the actions of the characters. The Events in the film show the confrontation of two soccer fan clubs, Headhunters (Chelsea support) and the Bushwhackers  (Millwall). With this the protagonist Danny Dyer became an idol and a role model for many “true” football hooligans all over the world. The Paradox: during the movie he keeps asking himself: “Is it worth it?”

The tagline of “The football factory” is 'what else you gonna do on a Saturday?' 

We know the answer: Get chips and a drink and watch one of our two movie-recommendations to get in the mood of the football world cup!

If both are not appealing you, here is a list of other remarkable films every football fan should have seen:

‘’Ultrà’’, 1991, directed by Ricky Tognazzi, Italy
‘’Flying Pigs’’, 2010, directed by Anna Kazejak-Dawid, Poland
‘’Gegengerade - 20359 St. Pauli’’, 2011, directed by Tarek Ehlail, Germany
‘’Kicking Off’’, 2013, directed by Anton Bormatov, Russia
‘’Cass’’, 2008, directed by Jon S. Baird, United Kingdom
‘’The Firm’’ (made-for-television drama film), 1989, directed by Alan Clarke, United Kingdom
‘’The Firm’’, 2009, directed by Nick Love, United Kingdom
‘’I.D.’’, 1995, directed by Philip Davis, United Kingdom
‘’Rise of the Footsoldier’’, 2007, directed by Julian Gilbey, United Kingdom
‘’Green Street Hooligans 2’’, 2009, directed by Jesse Johnson, USA
‘’Awaydays’’, 2009, directed by Pat Holden, United Kingdom
‘’Klatka”, 2003, directed by Sylwester Latkowski, Poland
‘’Mean Machine’’, 2001, directed by Barry Skolnick, United Kingdom & United States
‘’L'ultimo ultras’’, 2009, directed by Stefano Calvagna, Italy
‘’The Ice Cream Wars’’, 2012, directed by Paul Tanter, United Kingdom
‘’The Rise and Fall of a White Collar Hooligan’’, 2012, directed by Paul Tanter, United Kingdom

written by Iuliia Zadorozhnia
edited by 
Ida Meyenberg


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