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
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

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

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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.

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game