Scarf Wars

There has never been a football hooligan. There is no such thing. Hooligans are usually groups of men apart from a drunken granny from Preston arrested after they played Blackburn in 1905, and they have certain facets in common. Generally they failed in the classroom, failed in the workplace and failed in the bedroom so they share, in total ignorance, a monumental self-loathing. Had they encountered psychologists, other than the ones they had head butted at case reviews, they could have been made aware of the depths their self-esteem had sunk and attended raffia weaving classes to achieve a little pride, a first building block on the road to self-love, which, if you believe George Benson, is the greatest love of all. According to George, if you do not love yourself you cannot love anyone.
Thus, in a state of unawareness they develop an urgent need to externalise their hatred. The only way to do this effectively is to find a group you can join and then, together, vent your bile on another similar group. Challenge one is to find a group to join and chapel, work and glee club prove to be barren bonding grounds. Some notice that the local football stadium on match days has a surfeit of likeminded individuals who eventually gravitate towards each other.
When they meet one of them says, ‘What does versus mean when it says Millwall versus Queens Park Rangers?’ The newly formed group’s only genius, who spent hours in the school library looking for rude words in the dictionary, spotted ‘versus’ because it was at the top of the page that had ‘virgin’, and confirms, ‘It means ‘against’.’ One of the group will concur that ‘against’ sums up their main objective perfectly and the next requirement will be to find someone to be against.
Like burglars who mainly burgle their neighbours they are generally too lethargic to go on an ‘against’ safari to find prey. Noticing that where they are currently standing most of them have the same coloured scarf, they realise that people with a different scarf colour make perfect subjects for a regular ‘against’ jamboree. It is not football’s fault that it happens to provide the only venue, personnel and appropriate level of social ‘againstness’ for these people to exercise their new, and seemingly morale building diversion.
Their forays should never have been called ‘football hooliganism’. They should have been called ‘scarf wars’ in the same way that when the British went to China it was called the ‘Opium Wars’ and the horticultural skirmish between Hebden Bridge and Bacup was called the ‘War of the Roses’. When Serbian teams play Croatian teams in South Sydney the resultant arm flailing and name calling forays are not hooliganism, they are warfare. News hasn’t yet got through to the Sydney scarf warriors that the Balkan Wars have ended, and I am not referring to the recent Balkan Wars. If croquet had reached the same level of popularity as football there would eventually have been ‘croquet hooliganism’ which, considering the proximity of mallets, would have been infinitely more dangerous.

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