A load of pork pies: Green Street sees red at hooligan film

But those who live, work and shop in the bustling east London street on which the film is based were yesterday projecting a rather different image.

The film, featuring the Lord of the Rings star Elijah Wood and due to open in cinemas across Britain next week, has courted controversy with its graphic scenes of violence involving West Ham United fans.

But residents and business-owners on the diverse street - where pie-and-mash cafés stand next to samosa and sari shops - are bristling at how their colourful and diverse area has been depicted as a hotbed of football hooliganism.

"The makers of this movie are irresponsible," said Sir Robin Wales, the Mayor of Newham.

"They have taken the name of a vibrant, bustling, multicultural street which is a magnet for people interested in fashion, jewellery and food and labelled it a violence place which it is not.

"The very least the film-makers could have done was invent a fictional street and a fictional football club but all they are about is making a quick buck."

The street lies in one of the most ethnically diverse boroughs in London where the number of Asians - 65 per cent - and the black community - 15 per cent - far outnumbers the white population, which stands at around 16 per cent.

Despite its negative portrayal in the film, the street is often held up as a shining example of the positive effects of multiculturalism in London's East End.

The street, in the shadow of West Ham United's stadium, attracts shoppers, particularly among the Asian community, from across the capital.

Harvie Singh, 34, the son of a businessman from Ilford, who normally visits Green Street at least once a week, said he was always impressed at how much of a cultural melting pot the street was.

"Coming to Green Street is like a cultural event, there are all sorts of communities, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims, living here. It makes you feel closer to your community. If the film shows something different to what it is then it can only be a misrepresentation of the truth," he said.

Residents and traders in Green Street believe the film's portrayal of violence among West Ham's supporters is incorrect. Many believe the violence prevalent in the 1970s and 1980s is no longer seen on the street. Some stallholders strained to remember an era when the street did face the football hooliganism of West Ham's infamous Inter City Firm (ICF).

Joan and David Holt, owners of Pie, Mash and Eels, a café they began running 22 years ago, said they were offended by the film if it was supposed to portray the street as it was now. "Green Street is now mostly an Asian area. It is a sort of Oxford Street for Asians. To say there is football violence now is wrong. There may have been violence at one time and I hope the film makes it clear they are not talking about now," said Mrs Holt.

Mr Holt, who has owned a season ticket for more than 15 years and only recently gave it up, said that he had witnessed bottle-throwing and animosity between West Ham fans and outsiders, but he had never felt intimated while at the football ground and had taken his young son to most games.

"We are talking years and years ago - it's all so quiet now. I hope that's not what people think about when they think of Green Street. Other parts of London have far more problems," he said.

Jane Downes 35, a fruit and veg stall owner who was born and brought up on Green Street, said she had witnessed football hooliganism but that was at least two decades ago.

"The ICF ruled the street. It was a dangerous place, bottles would fly everywhere and I couldn't walk down the road when I was about nine years old. It is part of our history but everything has changed since then. Everyone gets on with everyone else, there's all colours here, we live happily," she said.

Jack Ferguson, a songwriter originally from the Caribbean who had been living intermittently on Green Street for years, said that he had been away to Italy and came back two years ago when he noticed that the street had been transformed. "I really noticed the progress when I came back, there's a fantastic improvement so I don't think the film is relevant to now," he said.

Arts and Entertainment

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
V&A museum in London

Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'

Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
Arts and Entertainment
Bradley Cooper, Alessandro Nivola and Patricia Clarkson on stage

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Kitchen plays Christopher Foyle in ITV's 'Foyle's War'

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt will be starring in Dominic Savage's new BBC drama The Secrets

Arts and Entertainment
Vividly drawn: Timothy Spall in Mike Leigh’s ‘Mr Turner’
film
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
News
art

‘Remember the attackers are a cold-blooded, crazy minority’, says Blek le Rat

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project