chapter  4
MISSING THE TARGET: LEGAL RESPONSES TO ‘FOOTBALL HOOLIGANISM’
Pages 28

This chapter is concerned with the legal implications of ‘what everyone knows’ about football hooliganism. It looks at the misconceptions that ‘informed’ judicial responses to football related violence and disorder, particularly in the years before the Hillsborough disaster, and, since 1989, how those misconceptions have coloured the several Acts of Parliament that have been foisted upon football fans. It considers in particular how the perception of hooligans as ‘not real football fans’ has underpinned both the legislative and judicial responses to their activities and the policing tactics that have been deployed inside and outside football grounds. It draws upon theoretical analyses and participant observation of football hooligans throughout Europe (Armstrong, 1993; Giulianotti, 1995; Armstrong and Giulianotti, 1997) which illustrate the flaws in the widely held perception of ‘hooligans’.