Are football hooligans the new patriots?

It has been there, the signs have been building up. Roy Keane going to Celtic has brought the perfect merger of Manchester United laddism to the Sectarian sectors of Celtic supporters. Not that Roy Keane is to blame, or the average Celtic support, but these elements are there and are dangerous.

Soccer violence has had small flash points before in Dublin. Take the Bohs/Rovers clash of 2004. Or there recent one 2006 clash

But nothing on the scale of last Saturday’s riot.

There on O’Connell street, the historical birthplace of so many trends in Irish society, senseless soccer hooliganism showed its nasty face.

Look at the signs. Young men fired up. Tracksuit wearing, not because their into fitness but rather sporting clanship. The main stores that get looted are the sportswear shops, selling expensive trainers, track suits. The rioters singing Ole, Ole, Ole, the great swaggering song of the 1990’s football era. Or the chanting of Fields of Anthrey outside the GPO in the middle of the mayhem.

I am sure the garda paid great money to their informers in the Continuity IRA and the like but was that the real root of the riot? It was street lead violence. Nothing political only hooliganism for the sake of it on a Saturday afternoon.

Jeffery Donaldson said that the riot showed that Sinn Fein leadership was not in control of these people, which must beg the question who was?

McDowell worries about a tuggish fascist fringe,(how easy those words trip off his lips) Maybe they should look to the Irish business men who have been busy over the last two decades making big profits from turning a football game into an money making, alcohol fueled racket.

The tensions were building. The Scottish Celtic, versus Rangers sectarian rivalry has come home to roost in Ireland. It was okey to whip it up overseas, but now we have seem its effects here. I am a work colleague who was worried about his young son who has become a mad Celtic support and has embraced the sectarianism as part of the package. He had wanted to bring his son into Dublin to see the Orangemen march and to show them that they have a different culture and it must be respected. I hope he didn’t because this was not a pleasant sight and I figured would have fired up any young man’s blood.

Maybe we should look at the real cause of this, football hooligans have become the new patriots, with no great love of county but rather the love of riots and violence. It is as smile as that and it was no wonder Bertie Ahern was able to say that on Friday night he got rumour of there going to be trouble. He hangs with the soccer crowd, this is where the Gardai should have been looking, the young guns that fuel any riot. Let’s hope they get it right for the next time, and there will be a next time. Meanwhile we all should look at the build up of sectarianism at home in our leafy suburbs as the kids kick footballs wearing the Keano, number 16 (16, think about it?), Celtic jearsey.

1 Comment so far

  1. Scouse (unregistered) on February 27th, 2006 @ 10:38 pm

    Outstanding piece – the sectarianism of ‘normal’ people whilst watching an Old Firm game was the first worrying thing that I noticed when I moved to Ireland. The worrrying thing being that ‘Orange Bastard’ was being shouted by people from nice 3 bed detached houses from the suburbs.

    As a follower of Shelbourne we had to put up with these sectarian/republican/scum/Sellthick fans in Tolka last year for matches against Linfield and Glentoran.

    I have a 2 year old son who has been baptised a Protestant (after his mum) and it really worries me about what he is going to have to put up with when he gets older…..

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