Saturday, 18 July 2009

Who are the Casuals?

Taken from the Casuals website

What is a "Casual"? This is a name that refers to members of the UK's football following tribes. A Casuals is distinguised from "normal" fans (known as scarfers the type of fan who wears the official shirt of the football club he follows) by the clothing they wear.

Casuals came into being in the early 80s. At the time football hooligans were mostly Skinheads, who looked extremely violent in their uniform of shaved head, rolled up jeans and bovver boots.

As Skinheads were regularly hassled by the police at matches, the "hooligan" followers of the clubs adopted a softer clothing style of trainers, smart jumpers and tennis type tshirts, and grew their hair out into bowl (Beatles style) haircuts.

This new softer image had the police fooled, and while the Skinheads were rounded up and harrassed, the Casuals were free to slip off and fight their rivals and wreck towns.

The gangs evolved into organised gangs, known as "firms", as they were becoming professional at getting in and out of towns undetected, giving the police the slip, robbing clothing stores to order and leaving business cards behind with the name of their firms on them.

They were organised and violent. In the 80s the Stanley knife became the weapon of choice, and horrific injuries were dished out by these baby faced hooligans. Disasters like Heysel stadium and several deaths resulted in massive police crackdowns, including undercover officers posing as thugs to gather evidence, police raids on suspects and heavy prison sentences. The firms were smashed. Or were they?

In the 90s and into the 00s the Casual culture evolved and the police were now clued up. The battles were still as violent, but the numbers involved were much fewer than before. The Stanley knives were no longer used, knives being seen as a cowards weapon. The clothing of Adidas trainers, Stone Island tops/jackets, Lacoste etc remained constant. By now Stone Islands arm badge is seen as the sign that the wearer is a football hooligan.

Banning orders, CCTV, heavy policing and ridiculous prison sentences have today more or less destroyed the ability of these firms to meet up and have fights, and many of the lads have too much to lose to risk 4 years prison for what is basically a minor public order offence. At many games these days, its only kids who want to cause trouble, pointlessly throwing stones at the police and getting themselves arrested. Many of the "top boys" of these firms now meet up and have a few beers together and laugh about the old days, and some good friendships have developed between the old enemies.

As we are now at war globally with Militant Islamics, in Afghanistan, In Iraq, and worldwide we are subjected to terrorist attacks like 9/11, 7/7, Bali bombings, Madrid bombings, and its said that the Security Services are currently investigating 200 terror plots in the UK, and our soldiers are coming home from these warzones to be insulted and abused by the enemy we have allowed to live in our land, these patriotic Casuals are not happy.

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