ABSTRACT

British Football Violence Contextualized Several broad changes to British politics and society, and leisure culture speci cally, gave way to the rise of football’s popularity, as well as the violence that came to mark the sport from the mid-1960s. e relative a uence of British

society in the 1950s and 1960s provided increased opportunities for sporting leisure and popular entertainment, and professional football became the mainstay of these weekend pursuits. Along with cinema attendance and seaside trips, football spectatorship developed into an accessible and widespread form of recreation.1 Advances in British leisure received the full support of Clement Attlee’s (1945-51) post-war administration. Attlee wanted to provide welfare and security for the British people that had been lacking since the interwar period. While this administration had no speci c policy on sport, they did recognize the bene ts of extending leisure and popular entertainment to British citizens. e proposed reconstruction of Britain’s labour force and anticipation of full employment depended on balancing work with leisurely pursuits such as football spectatorship.2