Another sorry outbreak of the English disease

Share

Of all England's exports to Europe, few have been quite so unwelcome as football hooliganism

Of all England's exports to Europe, few have been quite so unwelcome as football hooliganism. And it seems that the old English disease has broken out on the Continent once again, despite assiduous efforts by the Government and the Football Association to stop trouble-makers travelling to the European Championships in Portugal. In the small hours of Tuesday and Wednesday morning, in a scene reminiscent of past competitions, Portuguese police found themselves fighting it out with drunken English football fans in the town of Albufeira, in the Algarve region. More than 40 Britons have been arrested, and there are fears the England team could be ejected from the championships if the violence continues.

But it is important to keep a couple of things in mind when dealing with the phenomenon of English football hooliganism. First of all, these trouble-makers are by no means representative of all England fans. Some 40,000 have travelled to Portugal to enjoy the championships and most have behaved impeccably. Only a few hundred were actually involved in skirmishes with the police. What we are dealing with is a small number of violent individuals who, like parasites, hide in larger groups of supporters.

Second, it is questionable to what extent such hooligans are actually football fans at all. This week's trouble took place 300km from where the England team has been playing. The Algarve has been popular with English holiday-makers for decades. The drama of England's match against France on Sunday may have intensified the atmosphere, but what we have really seen this week is drunken louts on a holiday rampage. It is as mundane as that.

Thankfully, Uefa, who run the championships, seem to accept this and do not intend to punish the England team itself, although that could change if violence breaks out at an England match, or around a stadium where they are playing. For the sake of real England fans out in Portugal, and the Algarve locals who have had to tolerate this uncivilised behaviour, let's hope we have seen the last of this thuggery so we can get back to enjoying the football again.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in August  

Ferguson: The sad truth is that Michael Brown was killed because he was a black man

Bonnie Greer
A protestor poses for a  

Ferguson verdict: This isn't a 'tragedy'. This is part of a long-running genocide of black men in America

Otamere Guobadia
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital