A group of local thugs responsible for racist abuse at England’s game with Bulgaria took inspiration from British hooligan culture and have their own website claiming “25 years of organised violence”.
The gang, calling themselves the Lauta Army, were seen gathered in one section of the stadium wearing black hoodies, making monkey noises and apparent Nazi salutes before leaving shortly before half-time.
The group claims association to Lokomotiv Plovdiv, a top division Bulgaria team from the country’s second-biggest city, which plays at Lauta Park.
Its website makes several clear references to English hooligan culture, with a section clad in the Burberry colours often associated with British football gangs.
The site also contained photos from a celebration marking “25 years of dedication and fight”, in which they held a party with “friends from Napoli and Spartak Moscow and Levski (Sofia)”.
Some of the pictures show banners and badges bearing the union flag emblazoned with the words “the usual suspects” – one of the Lauta hooligans’ taglines.
Following Monday night’s game, the gang posted an image on Facebook of a large group of “Lokomotiv Plovdiv lads” in black hoodies, with faces blurred, outside the stadium.
The post claimed the group had a planned meeting with “two English clubs” which did not happen as “the English didn’t stick to the agreement and turned their phones off”.
It is unclear to which “clubs” the post was referring. The group did not respond to requests for comment.
Other posts on the group’s website show violent clashes with police, while one collection of images claims to show the group “attacking the away support” at an under-17s game between Lokomotiv and local rivals Botev Plovdiv.
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