The Lads Just Playing Away: An Ethnography with England’s Hooligan Fringe during the 2006 World Cup

  • James Treadwell
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in the Social Sciences book series (GSSS)


While much academic literature on the topic of English football hooliganism suggests that unruly travelling fans are inappropriately socialised (Williams et al., 1984; Dunning et al., 1987) other academics, such as Ruggiero (2000: 10) have suggested in contrast that ‘in fact, theirs is a form of excessive socialisation, which takes the form of an excessive attachment to their locality, city, or country … their violent behaviour may signify a perfectly acquired, if excessive national identity’. However, these accounts of English football supporters are problematic, not least because they do not consider how the fans behave in comparison with similar travelling English holidaymakers and say little about how or why they enact specific forms of masculine identity. This chapter seeks to rectify that by drawing on research undertaken with English male supporters of the national team over several nights during the football World Cup hosted in Germany in 2006. Data was gathered in both the Red Light District of Amsterdam prior to the tournament and then in Frankfurt, Germany, for two nights before England’s first game. Amsterdam provided a location that many English supporters decided to travel through en route to the tournament, in part because it allowed relatively easy direct rail links to the host cities in Germany.


National Team Masculine Identity Disorderly Conduct Hell Angel Rubber Bullet 
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© James Treadwell 2015

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  • James Treadwell

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