Archive for May, 2011

Book review: Football Fascism and Fandom

May 31, 2011

Football Fascism and Fandom : by Alberto Testa and Gary Armstrong

First Published : 2010

ISBN 978 1 4081 2371 3

Score out of 5 :

“In this calcio bought for money – where Buffon [the Juventus and national team goalkeeper] is worth more than all the Chievo football team – there is no longer any space for values. The tifoso has been replaced by the spectator, the manager-fan by professionals; the football fan-players have disappeared, replaced by mercenaries ready to change their teams every year. The UltraS mentality is to fight this to ensure that football passion can defeat money; to give the stadium back to their legitimate owners [the supporters]. To fight such repression is not violence; it is the will to conquesr what has been sacrificed in the name of business. UltraS follow the team everywhere. The television is for spectators [not UltraS]; the UltraS refuse compromises with anyone. UltraS honour the team shirt regardless of who wears it. UltraS fight il calcio moderno [modern football].”

So speaks the direttivo of the Boys UltraS group, affiliated to AS Roma. A far cry then from the typical utterings of the legion of British ex-hoolies in their memoirs. This book is a revelation, most football people know of the Italian Ultràs, but how many have heard of the new breed, the mostly fascist UltraS?

The two authors, while both academics, have got in amongst the UltraS of the two big Roman clubs – AS Roma and the Irriducibili of SS Lazio. The distinction between the old school Ultràs and the new breed is, in simplest terms: The former are bound to the team and the local area and are strictly football-related; the latter put their group and ideology (in the case of Roma & Lazio a fascist ideology) first, the team and club are just part of their everyday life and they are often involved in activist politics and campaigns away from the stadium, including violent ones. There is nothing like the UltraS anywhere else in Europe, and it makes for an eye-opening read to hear about them. The main theme is how serious these boys (and occasional girls) take all this football and politics stuff, they mean business.

I’ll not go on much longer, but this book would have got 5 Cass’s out of 5 if it wasn’t for this boob (read it below) by the authors, it may not seem like much, but to someone who takes pride in knowing his football fashion, it can’t be overlooked:

Instead of the black bomber jacket or the Doc Martens boots of the stereotypical European extreme right groups, the UltraS wear expensive jackets, such as those made by the English[?!?] company, Stone Island, or Aquascutum labels or the Italian CP Company.

There, I had to highlight it, I just hope no English-hating Roma Boys read the book, that’s all.

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A casual buy no. 34

May 26, 2011

I bought these a while back in Peggs, but haven’t been wearing them much as I’ve been overseas a lot lately, where flipflops or sandals are more suitable. I went into Peggs hoping to buy a nice tan/brown leather boot, but these caught my eye and when I tried them on they looked great with my selvedge jeans. Suede is a fucker to keep clean, so they will be dry weather footage only.

The original brown leather version are fine too, but brown leather boots are a bit too common these days, even the funboys are sporting them, but they usually spunk their money on sad TopMan/H&M copies. Avoid.

A great end…

May 8, 2011

…to a fantastic season. But that’s enough of me gassing, here’s the photos from yesterday’s 1-1 draw up at a very accommodating Notts County and the Gus Bus victory parade down on Brighton & Hove seafront today. Enjoy your summer and full speed to Falmer in August. Cheers!

Build Another Bonfire

May 4, 2011

Build a Bonfire, the must-read but currently out-of-print book about the Goldstone Ground fiasco is being reprinted this summer. The chaps over at the Build a Bonfire reprint website are bringing out a verbatim paperback copy, with added words from North Stand Chat, the Albion’s biggest and best independent fan forum.

I’ve been looking for a cheap copy of the original for ages, best price for a dog-eared edition on Amazon is £50 (whoosh). This is a great idea and a timely production, so all the new faces in the stands at Falmer in August should know exactly what the club and it’s long-suffering fans went through in the dark days of the mid-1990s. The first run will be only 2000 copies, you can sign up for the pre-order here.

It’s all about the product: Stone Island Part 3

May 3, 2011

Belatedly continuing with this fascinating series of documentary films from Stone Island’s official YouTube channel, the Italian clothing legend’s core values of innovation and quality manufacturing are revealed. Andrea Moro talks about Stone Island’s DNA, which is the “maximum expression of sportswear”, and of course “passion”.

Another new vid is the Spring Summer 2011 collection:

In a puff of smoke, it’s gone

May 1, 2011

Farewell old chum, my arse misses you already

Brighton and Hove Albion 2 – 3 Huddersfield Town. That result will be forgotten quite quickly here on the south coast, but the date 30th April 2011 won’t, not because it was such a memorable day’s events, but it signalled a momentous day in the turbulent history of the Albion.

A mate in the pub afterwards summed it up perfectly “I feel like I didn’t really give the occasion the attention it deserved, I couldn’t really get into it. We won the league weeks ago, so the party atmosphere has been dragged out a bit.” I agree (although I missed the fucker), we won it too early. But just as Oh Gary Hart missed a tap-in in his last ever home game yesterday to cement his cult status forever with Albionites – the fairy tale season had a bit of a damp squib ending, you can’t have it all. Football isn’t like the movies, unless you’re a Manc (a red one, not an Arabian blue). So, we had our last day at the Theatre of Trees, and instead of reflecting on and celebrating the most successful stadium in the long history of BHAFC, yesterday the sell-out crowd was there to deliver a collective sigh of relief that we’re finally moving out of the place.

I’ll not cover the match, two players impressed – Craig Noone for his industry, and Marcos Painter for the most commanding defensive display I’ve seen in ages on any pitch. I’m sure even the onlooking Player of the Year Adam El Abd appreciated it, Gus Poyet definitely did and his “we’re not worthy” bowing, after Painter embarassed a Town forward with a Bobby Moore tackle, was the best comedy moment. Painter was my man of the match. But the day belonged to Harty, and every free kick, attacking move, and even defensive pass was greeted with “Give it to Harty!” from the stands. In true “ledge” style though, Gary came close, but ultimately failed. Never has such a squad player received such warm reception from his fans. That’s down to his loyalty and ordinariness, he’s an anachronism in these days of mercenary slag footballers with their off the field antics, and demands for squillions of pounds each week. And I will miss this ditty, my favourite Albion terrace chant of all time:

Oh Posh Spice is a slapper

She is a fucking tart

And when she’s shagging Beckham

She thinks of Gary Hart

OH GARY HART, OH GARY, GARY, GARY HART

For those readers who are unfortunate enough not to be Albion fans, that’s sung to the tune of “My Old Man’s a Dustman”.

So, it’s gone now, the old bleachers will be ripped up and Withdean will go back to hosting athletics in front of two old boys and a dog. It’s legacy will be as one of the worst football stadiums in the football league, but it’s also been one of the most formidable places to visit. I firmly believe that time will produce a fondness for it in the minds of all those who sat and got soaked in the open stands, miles from the pitch action. It will never compete with the Goldstone for the affections of the faithful, but Falmer has a hard act to follow in terms of footballing success, and yes some great games. Rest In Peace.