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Among the Thugs

8 min read
by The Fighting Cock

On the morning of Thursday 22nd November, I woke up to the news (along with many other Spurs fans) that our fans had been attacked in Rome, resulting in many getting injured and one even being stabbed, putting him in hospital meaning he would miss the game he paid hundreds of pounds to see. I […]

On the morning of Thursday 22nd November, I woke up to the news (along with many other Spurs fans) that our fans had been attacked in Rome, resulting in many getting injured and one even being stabbed, putting him in hospital meaning he would miss the game he paid hundreds of pounds to see.

I began to hear rumours of West Ham fans also being involved in other attacks against Spurs fans out in Rome. It seemed they were ‘teaming up’ with Lazio’s famous Ultras to get to us, given that it is a lot easier in Italy than here in London.

I also quickly began hearing from people who were actually there, confirming it to be true. I dismissed it, not wanting to be to believe anything I heard. I just simply moved on to Sunday’s game against West Ham.

The game came around and I got the train (joined by my brother and two of his mates, both West Ham fans) to Liverpool Street station, arriving at about 2:20pm. The second we got off the train all we could hear were chants of ‘Lazio Lazio!’ and other more obvious West Ham songs.

As we walked further down the platform I was greeted by a sight by a sight I can only imagine was common in 70s, 80s or 90s. More than 100 West Ham fans, jumping up and down, beer flying everywhere, surrounded by police (talk about a Cup Final day out).

Suddenly, a policeman shouted ‘Okay, Move!’ and the barriers were opened. The West Ham fans poured out; storming towards the train I’d just got off. The majority were what looked like West Ham’s Youth Firm, or an element of it. I guess aged 15 and above, dressed in the standard Stone Island, CP Company and Lyle & Scott clobber. Of course there were plenty of adult men too, but the majority were kids.

Bottles and beer were flying everywhere, and as they walked to the train, ‘we’ll be running around Tottenham’ started. I won’t write the whole song out as I think you all know it already, but just in case, it ends with ‘you f***** jew’. As they made their way to the train, we were being shoved aside as they stormed past. I saw it was going to White Hart Lane and decided (stupidly) we should get on. So we walked towards the front, where it was less crowded, treading carefully over all the broken glass.

During the commotion directed at the Bell & Hare pub, I whispered to the policewoman next to me ‘We need to get out, we’re Spurs’

On the journey, the singing continued.‘Lazio Lazio Lazio!’ ‘Viva Lazio!Lazio! Viva Lazio!’ (Which makes no sense, given that ‘Viva’ is Spanish and Lazio are an Italian team, not to mention that it’s ‘Forza Lazio’ but still). There were also more songs about Spurs and our fans. Probably the worst I heard at that point was ‘always look out for Ities carrying knives’, to the tune of ‘Always Look on The Bright Side of Life’ by ‘Monty Python’.

At this point I should probably mention I never wear colours to games, and neither does my brother. Funnily enough I’d warned the West Ham fans we were with not to wear colours either but it seemed they were safer in them. So I just sat quietly with my brother, in disbelief. Eventually, after what seemed an hour, we got to Seven Sisters station, two stops before White Hart Lane

All the Spurs fans on the platform were told by the police to sit towards the front of the train. At this point, about five or so men (not kids this time, although I can only account for my carriage, which was by far the least crowded and rowdy), started making gas noises, on top of the abuse coming from the rest of the train. I should also mention that there were about six policemen on this carriage, one even standing right next to the men, who didn’t say a thing.

The next stop was Bruce Grove station, and it was at this point I realised that this is where the Away fans are escorted from, and that me and my brother didn’t have any option but to keep quiet and just go with them. What were we going to do? Say ‘Sorry, we’re Spurs?’ The police said the train wasn’t going any further, and all the West Ham fans got off, with us among them.

So it seemed the hell was going to continue. We arrived at about 2:30. Bruce Grove station is a good 15-20 minute walk from the stadium, and we kept being told to slow down! We were kept inside the station for a while, and eventually we began moving. There must have been well over 100 West Ham being shuttled on one side of the road. To our left was the pavement and shops, plus a line of policemen and women, and to our right, another line of policemen and women, also including police vans that kept everyone to one side of the road.

As we walked, more chants were heard, about Lazio, and about Spurs fans being stabbed. One man (not a kid) even had an Italy flag. It was during this journey I saw the first Nazi salutes of the day, which happened on more than one occasion. Again, all clearly witnessed by police. The West Ham fans also taunted and abused everyone they passed on the street, shouting ‘dirty jew’, ‘dirty yid’, ‘we pay your benefits’ and more.

At one point, five black men were standing outside a shop and the abuse began, with everyone chanting ‘we pay your benefits’. Understandably, one got especially angry and began shouting abuse back, walking forward, at which point a load of West Ham fans started getting a bit excited and jumping up and down. The police had to calm the man down and ushered him inside.

We walked past a couple of Spurs cafes/bars, eventually coming to the Bell & Hare pub (which is a big Spurs boozer by the away fan’s entrance to the ground). Again the abuse started, with police having to keep the West Ham fans in the escort (although if I’m honest it really was just ‘jumping about a bit’ and if someone really wanted to break through, they could have easily done so.)

We arrived at White Hart Lane and I realised if I didn’t act now we would be pretty stuck. During the commotion directed at the Bell & Hare pub, I whispered to the policewoman next to me ‘We need to get out, we’re Spurs’. I couldn’t believe it when she laughed and replied ‘Yeah, of course you are!’ I had to get out my phone and show her my background (a Spurs photo), to which she looked shocked and said ‘you’ll have to speak to him’ and pointed to another policeman. It was getting too late so I grabbed my brother and we both slipped out as some West Ham fans went into the ground and others shouted at the pub (easy as pie).

I stood outside the Park Lane end for a while and some Spurs fans (who I guessed had just come from the pub) started singing (you guessed it, non-offensive) songs. There was a bit of back and forth and a few punches where I think some fans got to each other but it was over quickly.

During the game, I sat about 8 seats away from the West Ham fans. There was more singing about Lazio than there was in support of their own club. Again kids were witnessed doing Nazi salutes (footage was even on TV), and more offensive chanting. ‘Can we stab you every week’ was sung rung out in the lower tier, but the worst was yet to come. A pathetic flare was lit, which I think resulted in one or two fans being ejected. How they were allowed in with it I don’t know, they should have all been searched.

Bottles and beer were flying everywhere, and as they walked to the train, ‘we’ll be running around Tottenham’ started.

At half time, a boy no older than 16 was Nazi saluting at us, in front of police and stewards (who did nothing to stop him). Then, at some point in the second half, admittedly a smaller section, but enough to be heard loud and clear by not only me, but journalists in another stand, started chanting ‘Adolf Hitler, he’s coming for you!’ and at 2-0 down both the top and bottom tiers of the Away section were singing ‘Lazio’ songs (which is NOT a minority as stated by many).

Sure some of the songs were sung by a minority in the grand scheme of things. Compared to 2000 people, a few hundred is a minority. But it’s not an extreme minority like 10-15 people. It was well into the 100’s.

Being trapped with the West Ham fans for so long, knowing I couldn’t get out worried me. I feared it would get to the point where I had to make it known I was Spurs to get out. Unfortunately that would probably have ended with me and my brother in hospital, but luckily it didn’t get to that point.

Looking around, seeing and hearing the words and actions of these people, made me realise just how lucky I am to be a Spurs fan. For me there’s so many different things that make me proud to be a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. One of which is that I’ve never seen a Nazi salute, or heard a chant referencing Adolf Hitler! But more importantly, the genuine feeling of passion for our own club, (as opposed to hating a race) helped get me through.

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.

23 Comments

  1. Chris
    29/11/2012 @ 2:53 pm

    poor u .icf

  2. Stratty
    29/11/2012 @ 2:54 pm

    Well, it is good to support a team who’s fans aren’t essentially racist – but the reality is that there are some really nasty Tottenham supporters as well, there’s no point pretending otherwise. West Ham supporters have a more retarded element, but have you ever been to East London, or seen the schools?

  3. David Kirby
    29/11/2012 @ 3:18 pm

    Assuming the account is true it is clearly appalling behaviour by any standards, including those set by Chelsea supporters. The one good thing is that this has drawn attention to this neo-fascist culture that exists among those supporters and the fact that this has been condemned by many supporters at West Ham and also the club’s management. Although there has been rivalry and even animosity between the clubs, fuelled mainly by a West Ham’s director, lets not forget that on the whole it is a good club whom have a distingished history and is supported in the main by good people.

    • Flav
      29/11/2012 @ 3:41 pm

      It’s 100% true, however for obvious reasons the writer wanted to remain anon.

  4. Peter Ag
    29/11/2012 @ 3:22 pm

    Being a bit older I remember the 70’s where the whole point for some ‘fans’ was to ‘take the other teams end’ The fighting in the streets on the way to the ground etc… The really disturbing part of the article is the police and the actions of the ‘football family’ … The reaction to all of this should be West Ham and Lazio being docked points .. making scapegoats of 1 or 2 of the W.Ham fans or imposing pocket money fines on Lazio is exactly how the authorities used to respond .. it took Heysel and Hillsborough to turn things around. I totally understand why Jason Roberts, the Ferdinand brothers and the Wigan team refusing to wear T-Shirts to support ‘kick it out’ when these campaigns have absolutely no teeth … I have been disgusted at the number of ‘monkey chant’, Jewish hating, footballer/referee incidents that have crept back in … it’s only last year that English Football, players pundits and media were slating Poland and Ukraine for levels of racism tolerated and yet … stinks of pot calling kettle black if you pardon the pun …

  5. David M
    29/11/2012 @ 3:56 pm

    To Peter Ag,
    Should the docking of points also mean THFC should be included for the vile, racist abuse Sol Campbell was subjected to? His crime, to dare change football clubs.
    Please not all WHU fans are as whats been portrayed in the press. The majority are good humoured people joined together for their love of West Ham and football.

  6. Sir Trevor
    29/11/2012 @ 4:05 pm

    You really should not be trying to take the motral high ground here. I was at the game and yes, I witnessed a lot of what your account describes and yes I think it was a disgrace. But rightly or wrongly each club has its element – it was not that long ago that Spurs fans were jailed (or banned, I can’t remeber which)for the abuse they gave Sol Campbell. Was it dying from HIV or hanging from a tree – not sure it matters. Not long ago Man Utd and Liverpool fans were chastised (and rightly so) for chanting about Hillsborough and Munich. I don’t doubt you are a good law abiding citizen and it probably was not a nice experience for you on the day but please don’t come across with this ‘all Spurs fans are lovely and all West Ham fans are scum’ attitude. And as for Peter Ag suggesting we are docked points, all I need to do is swap my West Ham shirt a Spurs shirt, start chanting some vile nonsense about Wenger being a paedo and then get you some points deducted. Think about it!!! Yes, the rascist and vile people need to be removed from football (all clubs) but do be careful that you don’t dirty your halo whilst shouting about it.

  7. TommyHarmer
    29/11/2012 @ 4:07 pm

    A couple of things to begin. I’m 69, and I taught for 30+ years all over the East End. I can tell you that Stratty’s reference to the schools in East London is WAY wide of the mark – even the very young kids I taught in East London will point out and disapprove of the most casual racism in classrooms. Another thing is that the Hammers’s supporters don’t all come from near the ground, but from way out into Estuarine Essex, just as a lot of Spurs support comes from out into Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire. In many cases they are Eastenders made good; in the worst cases they are examples of ‘white flight’, escaping into white ghettos away from the ‘coons and the curry-eaters’. But just as you couldn’t characterise the average Spurs fan ( I agree with Stratty that there are some pretty unpleasant but marginal Spurs fans) so you shouldn’t the Spammers: there are some really nice hammers and I am happy to know quite a few. Their reaction to what you have described would be to be horrified as much as we are. What is important is to do something about this – stewards must be MADE to act, and supporters encouraged to complain and to shop racists. I was at Anfield recently when an elderly Liverpool supporter sitting very close to me did this and her complaint was immediately acted upon. I think also that the tide of away support indulging in anti-semitic chants at the Lane has to be dealt with by training very good cameras on them, and taking action very publicly – I think this will work. And I promise you that decent supporters of ANY club will support this stance, and that is the vast majority. And police MUST be forced to act against racist and threatening behaviour on trains, in stations and on streets. Another thing is that youthful support of all clubs amongst those who live close to the ground is in decline. Black kids who live close to WHL can’t afford the seat prices, but they attend NextGen Cup games at the Lane because they get in for £1!! If we could find a way to make seats available to young black and Asian supporters at a low price now and again, we would build our fan base and also attack racism face on. COYS!!!

    • IKnowAlanGilzean
      29/11/2012 @ 5:42 pm

      A very interesting and enlightened post Tommy Harmer.

  8. Bruce Grove
    29/11/2012 @ 5:03 pm

    20 minutes to walk from Bruce Grove to WHL? We’re you wearing lead diving boots or something?
    The sad thing is that most of us that attend games know that racist and anti Semitic abuse is not an unusual occurrence. It’s about time the stewards and police did something about it.

    • tomsel
      07/01/2014 @ 1:47 am

      Innit 15.20 min walk lool talking 5 minites tops do you even know the mannor your repping son

  9. dchammer
    29/11/2012 @ 5:15 pm

    im a jewish west ham fan and have been going now for 33 years . I have no feeling but disgust for thoseso called west ham fans shouting and singing the anti semetic songs they sing ..
    im the last 10 years i have barely seen a fight , heard anything homophobic or anti semetic at west ham . what we need to remember is that regardless of football these mindless idiots still think and behave as they do regardless of whether they are at a west ham game or not . they are not behaving like this to follow west ham . they are behaving like this because they are either uneducated or they are stupid and they always think this way . going to see west ham away at spurs just gives them an opportunity to voice their stupid ideals in public !
    its nothing to do with football ,.. they just use football as an excuse !!!

  10. Munky
    29/11/2012 @ 6:46 pm

    Racism, religious hatred, any prejudice based on the GENERALISATION of people is a thing to be despised.
    Aren’t we lucky we live in a society where we can easily identify the good and bad elements based on the football team they support? (Read it a few times until the irony sinks in).

    This blog entry is an absolute disgrace. There are some great comments here, from both West Ham and Spurs fans by the sound of it, but as for the tone and content of the piece itself, the only purpose I see in posting it is a thinly veiled attempt to absolutely ensure that good people are tainted by bad, in an attempt to take the moral high ground… based on football support!
    Righteous indignation as a means of attack.

    The fighting cock? Well you seem to be using your keyboard as an offensive weapon. And you’re a cock.

    • TommyHarmer
      29/11/2012 @ 8:16 pm

      Have to disagree, Munky, this blog entry is not a disgrace unless you can show that what it describes is false ….. a large group of fans ( a carriage-full) behaved badly and antagonised other people who felt threatened. The same thing happened after the Spurs v Chelsea game and is the subject of a Transport Police enquiry; I hope THIS incident has the same reaction. And I’d say that if it was Spurs supporters doing the threatening.

      • Munky
        29/11/2012 @ 9:36 pm

        I think most people hope for a proper investigation and action, whether we’re West Ham, Spurs, Chelsea, whatever. Lets keep the banter away from race and religion.
        But this blog entry seems intent on tarring most West Ham fans as Nazi sympathisers with Spurs fans as some kind of innocent football family.
        I’m not referring to the train journey but the last 3 or 4 paragraphs. I stand by my comments. Using something we all detest to feed football supporting prejudices. An absolute disgrace.

  11. Ramsingh
    29/11/2012 @ 6:51 pm

    Still cannot believe that West Ham were allowed to be so anti-Semitic on the train network and not get pulled up by it by police.
    If Spurs fans were to all congregate around Bruce Grove station and waited for away supporters and sung songs of a racial nature, I’m sure there would be plently of football banning orders and police involvement. What happened to the West Ham fans?

    • TommyHarmer
      29/11/2012 @ 8:20 pm

      Some West Ham fans, Ramsingh, SOME. If we try to tar everyone with the same thing, we turn this into tribalism ….. the idea is to stop this stuff happening. There is CCTV on trains and someone needs to complain to British Transport Police.

  12. James
    30/11/2012 @ 9:28 am

    I have to say, on the occasions that i’ve been to Spurs v Wet Spam, the policing hasn’t been particularly great. Last season they let their fans out of the escort way too early and there were a few scuffles as their fans ran straight into ours.

  13. SH
    30/11/2012 @ 2:37 pm

    I’m a West Ham season ticket holder here. I’m not racist, anti-semetic and I don’t fight. I wear colours to games home and away and I’m ashamed of the handful of morons who were involved with this and bringing our name through the mud.

    I’ve said this over and over again since the incidents last week, and I stick by it. All the issues you describe are society issues. Football is just a way it manifests itself.

    Not for a second do I wish for this to sound like I’m defending the chants and behaviour. But the thing is, whether racism occurs on a one to one basis in a quiet conversation, or whether it happens in a group of 20 or so football fans – it’s still racism. *This* is the issue.

    By your reckoning, Spurs fans are all perfect and it’s a really lovely family club. Roll back a few years and you’ve got the Sol Campbell song. Racist, homophobic and vitriolic. The colour of the shirt does not matter, society breeds these individuals and the issue needs to be tackled there.

    (for what it’s also worth, two friends of mine were in Rome. One left before the pub incident and the other was in the pub. And he was the one who got stabbed)

  14. simon
    10/04/2013 @ 7:10 am

    Irony is that Tottenham currently have the most biggest/active hooligan firm in London……If you did your history you would know that Spurs thugs were the first English hooligans to take “the english disease” abroad in the early 70″s.

  15. iron made
    27/07/2013 @ 2:12 pm

    simon, all spurs done in the early 70s abroad was get batterd by Feyanord, as for biggest firm in London? dont make me laugh, as for the racist chanting on the trains etc and in the ground..so what, every ground ive been to, whatever club, they have all had racist fans, but the press like to single out fans like West Ham and Millwall, what the Spurs fans sung about Sol Campbell was disgusting, but thats ok though because your poor hard done by Spurs, man up and wind your necks in.

  16. steve
    07/03/2014 @ 8:16 pm

    Yes tottenham are the biggest firm in London if not England if you think otherwise your watching to much football factory or green street do yourself a favour and watch some more shit.

  17. lieutenant
    21/04/2014 @ 9:43 am

    LOL WESTHAM THOMAS TANK ICF FAGGOT FUCK WITS SING DIRTY SMEG HEADS NUMPTY MUGS .NORTH LONDON la.la.la WE SHALL NOT BE MOVED 1882 CASUALS YIDS GHOST SPOOKS*

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