The evolution of violent football hooliganism has been recorded in a book which pins the firework-buying informal Brazilian football associations as its beginning and ultra-violent organised criminals at its conclusion. Ultras, published by Carpet Bombing Culture, attempts to tell the detailed story of the journey from football hooliganism to organised criminal activity. The book considers the start of Ultra culture in Brazil's Torcidas, which are informal football fan clubs. Started in the 1930s, fans would co-operate to buy fireworks, cloth for large flags, and other things to be used during the matches to show their support. Though their origins are innocent, the Torcidas developed into hotbeds of hooliganism, leaving the police no option but to disband them. The socio-economic downturn in the United Kingdom during the 1970s and 1980s made a fertile breeding ground for hooliganism and then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, even set up a war … [Read more...] about Inside the violent world of football’s Ultras: How firework-loving Brazilian fans sparked the ‘English disease’ of hooliganism before European die-hards took it to an even more vicious level
“With Leon Clarke making his Premier League debut at the age of 34 for Sheffield United against Liverpool, who is the oldest debutant in a top division?” tweets Joe Turner. We’ve unearthed a golden oldie who can beat the ageing Blade by two years. Now-retired Brighton defender Bruno captained the Seagulls to promotion and then made his first appearance in the English top flight at 36 and only two months shy of his 37th birthday. But Tom Aldous points us in the direction of Graham Alexander who, at the ripe age of 37, made his Premier League debut for Burnley in 2009. Italy has always been an accommodating place for footballers who have got a fair few miles on the clock, so it is little surprise that a 39-year-old made his bow in Serie A in 2016. Goalkeeper Maurizio Pugliesi turned out for Empoli against Torino in the last game of the season and ended up on the winning team too, the home side victorious 2-1. Sticking with goalkeepers, the one and only John Burridge was … [Read more...] about Who is the oldest footballer to make their debut in a top-flight division?
It has been nearly a decade since Ken Loach cast 17-year-old Martin Compston in Sweet Sixteen, as a Scottish kid who drifts into dealing heroin. The teenager had never acted before – not uncommon for a Loach film. All he'd ever wanted was to play football. As it happens, the week he left school, he found himself with not one but two potentially life-changing offers: one from Loach and a contract with Greenock Morton FC. It all worked out fine. Loach wangled it with the club so that he could miss a bit of training. It must have must have been a difficult decision, after a season, to hang up his boots to concentrate on acting. Yes, but not exactly a big deal, says Compston. It wasn't as if he was choosing between Real Madrid and Superman. "I was choosing between being a YTS on £100 a week at Morton or being an unemployed actor. It wasn't glamorous." Unemployed? Hardly. He has worked non-stop since in some cracking British films – Andrea Arnold's Red Road, The … [Read more...] about How Martin Compston shimmied from football to films