Geezers need excitement: a history of drugs in football grounds

Violence, racism and verbal abuse are on the rise in Britain’s football grounds. Many blame cocaine. But a number of illegal drugs have been popular among fans at one time or another, with each having an impact on the atmosphere around the sport and the country. Sam Davies takes a deep dive into footy’s druggy underbelly.

Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Get your copy here.

I’m high in the Steve Bull Stand when the fourth goal goes in. It’s 14th June 2022 and Hungary are beating England 4 – 0 at Molineux in the Nations League. Boos ring out around the ground, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers. England fans turn from edgy to sour. It’s a uniquely paranoid atmosphere around the ground, one mirrored across the sport and the country – especially if you’re high.

This game is happening only weeks after a wave of end-of-season pitch invasions. Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was headbutted at the City Ground by a Nottingham Forest season ticket holder (jailed for six months, banned from grounds for 10 years). Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira swung a leg at two verbally abusive Everton fans (no action taken). And it’s just under a year since the final of that tournament, when thousands of ticketless England fans stormed Wembley and Chelsea fan Charlie Perry went viral not once but twice – first for, in his words, banging a load of powder” into a nostril on camera, then for sticking a lit flare between his arse cheeks, both to a rapturous reception in Leicester Square. Twenty cans of Strongbow later he bribed his way into Wembley.

Now here I am watching the Nations League, on my second bag of jelly babies, researching drugs in football grounds as England get battered by Hungary, the crowd an angry mob of pent-up angst, police around the ground braced for trouble, tabloid reporters circling like vultures.

According to the International Journal of Drug Policy, 30.05 per cent of fans have witnessed drug-taking in football grounds. A Sun reporter found traces of coke in toilet cubicles at Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester City, and was even offered the stuff at a Brighton game. Boris Johnson recently decried middle-class cokeheads” and talked vaguely about five-year banning orders for fans caught with drugs in football grounds. And The Athletic and the Daily Telegraph have published exposés about how the game’s flagrant” cocaine problem is fuelling a surge in fan violence”.

But it wasn’t always this way. In years gone by, ecstasy, cannabis, LSD, amphetamines and heroin have all had an impact on the beautiful game. Since the bad old days of the 1980s, though, at least the aggro had subsided. So how the hell did we get here, with football violence in the news again and cocaine – apparently – rife on the terraces?

The Sixties. Acid, cannabis, free love and Beatlemania hit Britain. But they didn’t hit football. In 1963, Liverpudlian band Gerry and the Pacemakers, backed by Beatles manager Brian Epstein and producer George Martin, top the charts with a cover of the 1940s show tune You’ll Never Walk Alone. Crowds start singing it at Anfield. LSD and cannabis are for hippies and the middle-class. Football fans prefer amphetamines. Purple hearts, blues, black bombers. Speed.

The echoes with today and cocaine is that it allows people to drink more,” says Mark Gilman, who writes on drugs and football. Whereas somebody could have six pints of Stella and they’d be falling over or falling asleep, with amphetamines, or now with cocaine, they can drink twice the amount. So even though they’re still physically standing up, they’re absolutely off their nut. It’s the alcohol that’s intoxicating them, creating all the disinhibition and madness, and it’s the stimulant that’s allowing them to drink that much. And that’s where the violence comes from.”

In 1969, when he was 12, Gilman’s dad died and he was adopted” by a group of Manchester United fans from Bury. My mum wouldn’t let me go to away matches unless there were some older people going,” he says.

So my first experience of what you’d now call hooligans were older guys from Bury who took me to a few away games. I remember going to Sheffield Wednesday and people throwing these big fuck-off bottles at each other. That would be 1970 or summat.”

It’s 1971. Pink Floyd release Meddle, their sixth album, with the sound of Liverpool fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone at the end of a track. Floyd also, somewhat bizarrely, form their own team, PFFC, as seen on the cover of 1973 compilation album A Nice Pair. LSD makes a quiet entrance onto the terraces, usually in microdot form. But trying to clump around on six-inch soles while tripping on acid, drunk on beer and stoned on cannabis was no mean feat,” wrote Gilman in the International Journal of Drug Policy in 1994. Then in 1976 the Old Bill pull off Operation Julie. A hundred million quid’s worth of LSD seized. Britain’s acid habit gets dunked in cold water.

Late Seventies/​early Eighties. More than a decade after the hippies, football fans start smoking weed, sometimes instead of booze, sometimes with it. Mrs Thatcher’s mingebag economics were biting home in all urban centres, not least Merseyside,” writes THE FACE’s Kevin Sampson in 1983. So, naturally enough, the Liverpool match-goers turned tramp on us all. Trainers were replaced by suedies, lager by cannabis, Joy Division by Frank Zappa, and jeans weren’t replaced at all, they just deteriorated on the sickly body.”

The freezing January air, near us at least, was thick with marijuana smoke,” wrote Nick Hornby in 1992’s Fever Pitch, the first time I had really noticed that there was some sort of different terrace culture emerging.”

Weed calmed things down considerably”, Gilman says. But not everyone agrees.

Don’t forget weed was different then, mate,” says John. Scouser. Seventies vintage. It’s not like the strains you’ve got now. It was rocky, it weren’t that strong. If you were going on specials, you’d go on with cans of lager and a few joints and stuff.”

John grew up with the County Road Cutters, Everton’s hardest firm, travelling to games on specials” – trains put on especially for football fans. Known to get lively.

You’d have fans taking lightbulbs out, lampshades, toilet rolls, letting fire extinguishers off, you name it,” says Bill Valley. Ex-Old Bill. Worked in transport. Seventies. I was policing the train back from Blackpool after a night game and when we were in the Preston area, all the lights went out. Next thing, I was jumped on by half a dozen football supporters and pushed under the seats. They started kicking me. Somebody came to my rescue, but I’d lost me helmet. About three days later it was found on the trackside just south of Preston.”

Weed never made John any less violent. He was on booze and amphetamines too, mind.

In my day you’d have a little bomb of speed because that’d keep you bouncing all day. You’d have a couple of joints, get pissed, and just go looking for fights,” he says. That’s what the Eighties were all about.”

He’d put his pile of speed in a Rizla then chuck it down him. Bombs away.

An hour later you’d be fucking bouncing everywhere. It keeps you happy, it keeps you moving, you feel a million miles an hour. That’s why it’s called speed.”

The Eighties. Pablo Escobar starts exporting powder cocaine to Europe. Britain was soon hooked. But not at the football, though. Coke was for City boys. A gram could set you back a hundred sheets. You could get a gram of speed for a tenner.

In Among the Thugs (1990), Bill Buford wrote about attending a National Front party in a pub filled with West Ham and Chelsea fans in the 1980s, meeting the birthday boy and noticing how the pupils of his eyes had contracted to tiny little dots… Amphetamines, I figured. Speed has this effect.”

On 11th May 1985, a fire caused by a cigarette kills 56 fans at Bradford City’s ground Valley Parade. On the same day a 14-year-old boy is crushed to death when a wall collapses at St Andrew’s during a fight between Birmingham and Leeds fans. In the same month 39 supporters – 32 from Italy, the rest from France, Belgium and Northern Ireland – die at Heysel Stadium in Brussels after being charged at by Liverpool fans and crushed by a collapsed wall. English clubs banned from Europe for five years. Thatcher sets up a hooligan war committee, promises stiff” sentences for those found guilty. Hooliganism gets a new name: The English Disease.

As the mingebag economies take hold, heroin use shoots up. Big impact on United’s hardcore fans, says Gilman: A lot of them were early adopters of heroin. They don’t talk about it a lot, but they were.” Heroin doesn’t really enhance the football experience. Never much evidence of fans shooting up in grounds. But it proves a seductive alternative.

It took a lot of people out,” he adds. I can think of people who started smoking heroin and never came back to football after that.”

It’s 1988. New Order go to Ibiza to record their fifth album Technique. They discover ecstasy.

We saw it. We brought people over to witness it. And we brought it back to Manchester,” said the band’s then-bassist Peter Hook to Sports Illustrated in 2021.

Ecstasy spreads. First through Manchester nightclub The Haçienda, run by New Order and their label Factory Records. Then through Britain. John remembers it reaching Liverpool.

About 1988 I had my first pill and I had the best night of me life. I heard about this club, Quadrant Park. I couldn’t believe what I saw when I walked in – whistles, glowsticks, people tryna hug you. At that time you were going fuck off dickhead!’, but as soon as you’d dropped your pill, you were exactly the same.”

John started selling and then manufacturing ecstasy himself. Bought 150, sold them all in a night. Then bought more.

Before long I was controlling thousands.”

The Nineties. Pills everywhere, none more popular than those bearing a Mitsubishi logo. Half of them made by John, he reckons.

Some fans leave football to deal drugs, like Paul Massey, Red Army member and influential gangster, aka Mr Big, who seized control of the Haçienda’s drug supply in the late Eighties (he’s eventually murdered in 2015). E’s impact on the terraces becomes the stuff of legend.

I’m sure you’ve heard the stories about football fans fighting on the terraces Saturday daytime and hugging at nighttime in the clubs when they’d taken the Es,” the jungle DJ Grooverider told me a few weeks ago in an interview about something else entirely.

In Simon Reynolds’ book Energy Flash: a Journey Through Rave Music and Dance Culture, the Dub Pistols’ Barry Ashworth says: Leading up to that time, it was a pretty violent period in football. And then throughout the country everybody started necking pills, and then people started going to the terraces necked up, too.”

It just seemed bizarre to be chasing each other up and down the street on Saturday afternoon when you’d been out dancing all night the night before,” says Gilman. It didn’t seem culturally right.”

But not everyone saw it that way.

To be quite honest with you, you’d go to a match, have a tear up with people, then you might see them in a club in the nighttime and have a hug with them,” says John. But you’d see them back at the match a couple of weeks after and you’d just wanna fight them again.” Fifteenth April 1989. Sheffield.

Hillsborough. Ninety-four Liverpool fans dead at an FA Cup semi, crushed against fencing designed to keep them off the pitch. Three more die as a result of their injuries. Another four days later. Then another in 1993. Another in 2021. Hooliganism not to blame. Police failures. Ambulance staff. And the media, not least for spending the last decade painting football fans as animals. Football never the same again.

The Justice Taylor report comes out nine months later, saying pitch-side fencing has to go and all major stadiums” in the top two divisions must have seats added. In Among the Thugs, Buford recounts meeting some United fans at Wembley for the 1990 FA Cup Final. Many have turned their back on hooliganism. People did not talk about violence. They talked about drugs, or acid house parties, or the Manchester music scene.” England fans take the rave to the World Cup, sing Let’s all have a disco” at Italia 90.

The atmosphere around football is transformed. Thatcher granting Murdoch a satellite licence paves the way for Sky Sports and the Premiership, replacing the old Division One in 1992. CCTV comes in, inside and around grounds. Hooligans much easier to catch. Most of them behave.

It’s 15th May 1991. Man United beat Barcelona in the European Cup Winners’ Cup final at the Stadion Feijenoord in Rotterdam. First time an English club has played in Europe since Heysel. As the Red Army arrive in Amsterdam the weekend before the game, something feels different.

There’s plenty of booze, fags, bravado and adrenaline. But there’s also weed, ecstasy, psychedelics and coffee shops.

The Mancs were in a civilised society where the police treat you like human beings and all your physical and psychological needs are available – legally,” as Gilman reported in the International Journal of Drug Policy in 1994. As Mancunian band Inspiral Carpets play the Paradiso in Dam two days before kickoff, an MUFC flag flies on the dancefloor. Weather’s nice all day but it pisses down throughout the match. Sit down next to me,” sing the fans. James, another Madchester band, took the song to Number Two a couple months before. Considering the mood, Gilman wrote, violence and hooliganism are out of the question: The Red Army’ were here on R and R’ – rest and recreation. Any trouble would ruin the holiday.”

United win 2 – 0. Mark Hughes with both. Reds fly home with a newfound taste for ecstasy on their tongues and Belgian techno ringing in their ears. Next thing you know they’re down The Haçienda sharing the love with Blues.

For a short period, football violence was uncool and drugs played a major role in bringing this culture shift about,” Gilman wrote, arguing that his research offered further evidence that experiences with psychedelic drugs can be important agents of personal, psychological, cultural and social change”.

This is football in the Nineties. Hooligan casuals on inter-city rampages were old hat. Football was coming home and bringing ecstatic, loved-up pacifism with it.

It does get over-egged a bit, I might have been guilty of that,” Gilman admits. But for a couple of seasons ecstasy definitely had an impact.” In 1994 he wrote: Now that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of ordinary kids have tasted psychedelia, who knows what changes lie ahead.”

The Second Summer(s) of Love, they called it, talking about 88 and 89. By the Nineties drugs were everywhere. 1997: Walthamstow boyband East 17 sack their singer Brian Harvey for publicly declaring his love for ecstasy; Noel Gallagher says taking drugs is like getting up and having a cup of tea in the morning”. 1999: Robbie Fowler places a nostril on a touchline at Anfield, celebrating a Merseyside derby goal in front of the Everton fans amid unfounded rumours of a coke habit. Four-game ban.

In the UK the rave scene killed off hooliganism,” says TV show The Real Football Factories (2006). Presenter Danny Dyer investigates hooligans in the Dutch game. But it was the total opposite in Holland. The fights intensified and the police shut down many of the parties because of violence and the hooligans’ involvement with drugs.”

Reports of British hooliganism’s death were, however, greatly exaggerated.

It didn’t die down at all.” Ex-copper. Anonymous. It just happened away from the cameras and the press.”

He was a football intelligence officer, one of hundreds working among fans of every club in England’s top four leagues. Introduced in the Nineties. There to get a grip on trouble.

I’m not sure how you’re gonna word this, but I used to pay somebody in the hooligan group to tell me what the plans were.” He’d give his informant a hundred quid ahead of pre-arranged fights. Prevented thousands of pounds’ worth of damage. And countless injuries. Got a sense of hooligans’ drug intake, too.

It was obvious that the well-known hooligans were high on cocaine. Something about the way their eyes stared at you.”

1996. Novel comes out called The Football Factory. Written by John King, and published by Vintage Books, the same house as Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh. Academics like Mark Schmitt write about King and Welsh’s work using terms like tainted whiteness”, in his book British White Trash. 2004: The Football Factory film hits cinemas, with Dyer in the lead.

All about prearranged meets” between football fans, fuelled by copious lines of cocaine. That espresso’s really kicked in,” says Neil Maskell’s character Rod as he sits down for dinner with his in-laws-to-be. His girlfriend reminds him: Darling, you don’t drink espresso.”

2005. Elijah Wood stars in Green Street as an aspiring American journalist kicked out of Harvard when cocaine is found in his room. Wood’s character moves to London and befriends members of the Green Street Elite, a firm named after the road on which West Ham’s old stadium Upton Park was built. Success of both films proves the nation’s appetite for hooliganism at a distance. But it’s tinged with something. Nostalgia, maybe.

Newcastle United vs Aston Villa, 2nd April 2005. Lee Bowyer and Kieron Dyer at each other’s throats during the game. Teammates. Both sent off. Lots of hand- wringing. You’re both a fucking joke. You’re a disgrace to the club,” says Alan Shearer, captain on the day. The club should sack them and they should be banned from the game,” says local Labour MP John McWilliam. Lots of eyerolls about the overreaction, too. Quite simply the game has gone soft,” writes the Guardians Rob Smyth, using terms like gentrification”.

Out comes Dyer’s docuseries The Real Football Factories. Then, as the second series, The Real Football Factories International, airs, so does a wave of sentiment decrying football’s new middle-class image. Diving, corporate hospitality and the vicious rulemakers have scarred the face of the beautiful game,” says David Baddiel in the intro to a Sky programme called Football’s Gone Soft, calling the Seventies and Eighties football’s golden period” when tackles were hard, hairstyles were shocking and balls were bigger”.

It’s 2007. The return of the English disease?” asks the BBC, reporting on violence by Man United fans in Rome and Spurs fans in Seville. And as hooliganism reclaims column inches, cocaine claws its way into grounds. 2010: Arsenal’s chief football intelligence officer Pete Dearden tells the Guardian: Physically, the drive used to be alcohol that fuelled this anti-social behaviour. Today, cocaine is massively in abundance. It gives them that strength of character to go into situations where otherwise they might have been frightened. It makes them braver. Cocaine is the choice of a modern-day hooligan.”

It’s 2015. Paris. Chelsea fans sing we’re racist and that’s the way we like it” while preventing a Black commuter from boarding a train. Video of the incident flies around the world on social media. The judge bans four fans, including a retired police officer, from games for up to five years. Says heavy drinking was evident and some were taking cocaine”.

Throughout the 2010s coke in Britain becomes purer and cheaper as Albanian gangs revolutionise the drug market, negotiating directly with the Colombian cartels controlling coca production. According to the Guardian the UK snorts more than almost any other country in Europe. In 2019, the Telegraph finds traces of the drug in half of Wembley’s toilet cubicles during an England game.

And now… after the 2020/​21 lockdown season, fans have returned to football like they haven’t had a party in years. I always liken it to an old song by The Clash called Bankrobber,” says Peter Houghton, former steward and now director of operations at the Football Safety Officers Association. There’s a line: Imagine if all the boys in jail could get out now together’. That’s kind of what it’s like. It’s as if all the demons in football stadiums that we’d got rid of have suddenly ganged up on us again. Cocaine is just an add-on issue. We knew it was going on, but not to the extent that it is now.”

May 2022. BBC Radio 4 interview Houghton and Dr Martha Newson, a cognitive anthropologist at Oxford University and Future Leaders Fellow at the University of Kent. It was her 2021 report in the International Journal of Drug Policy which found that 30.05 per cent of football fans have witnessed people doing coke in grounds. Dr Newson cites drugs, toxic masculinity, the search for a party, imitation, saying f*ck you to the hierarchy” and signalling group strength in tumultuous times” as being among the causes for fans’ recent behaviour in a tweet after the programme.

The sometimes terrifying results are amplified with intoxicants, traditionally alcohol, but increasingly cocaine,” wrote Dr Newson in an 2021 article for digital magazine Psyche, titled Why do hardcore football fans behave like rutting stags?” She added: While alcohol renders football lads’ relatively incompetent by late afternoon, ego-inflating cocaine keeps them active and focused well into the night.”

It’s June. I’m still at Wolves’ Molineux Stadium for England/​Hungary and the crowd is calling for Southgate’s head. This is where you came in. I’ll say at this point that, though it’s an unusual atmosphere, it’s still a football atmosphere, the likes of which you can’t get from anything else. It’s like being pumped full of drugs,” raves Dyer in The Real Football Factories, emerging from Ibrox after a Rangers/​Celtic derby. This is the point. For many of us, football is the drug. We hand over increasing amounts of money for it on a regular basis, injecting it into our veins even though it often brings us no joy. There’s no addiction I’ve been battling for quite so long. So I don’t do drugs at football.

Not usually, anyway. I had an edible on my way here.

Ethnographic research. You’re supposed to get involved. Get chatting to a Stockport fan on the train. He was in London for the Euros final last year. I didn’t stick a flare up my arse, if that’s what you’re asking,” he says. It’s not exactly what I was asking. For me that was just so… England. But yeah, I did laugh.”

Stockport County were promoted to League Two last year. I ask about drugs at games.

When we were back in the National League North, cocaine was a big thing, in the dressing rooms and stuff.” In the dressing room? Yeah, like part-time players…”

His mate interrupts with a cricket update. Bairstow on a hundred. Coke’s a problem at the cricket, too.

It’s abundantly clear it’s not only football,” says Peter Houghton. We keep in touch with other sports, and people in rugby league, rugby union, horse racing, cricket are all having the same issues. Test match today, England have a great chance of winning. I bet there’ll be a few having a good old snort.”

Get to Wolverhampton and it’s a glorious day. Summer belongs to football as much as it belongs to music festivals. They take the goalposts down at the park because it’s not football season”, but then every other year (and every year soon if the Nations League gets its way) it is football season, on an international scale, and it’s the best thing ever. For football fans it’s better than Christmas Day, every day, for about six weeks.

Christmas World Cup this year,” I say to some Port Vale fans at Wetherspoons. Yeah,” replies one of them, rolling his eyes. I say something about how football is governed by money these days, but that it might be fun watching Brazil with the tree up. This is the smart opinion to have on Qatar 2022, I think: condemn the corruption, embrace the game in all its forms.

Whatever kind of ritual we engage in, there’s always a hierarchy,” said Dr Newson on Radio 4. A lot of fans love their club and they love the players and they love their fellow fans, but they hate the management. There’s this disengagement about how moneyed the clubs are and how they don’t listen to the fans. There’s not a huge amount of respect in that hierarchy. So I think we need to think a little bit more cleverly here about what the fans are doing, what they want, and changing something a little bit deeper, rather than just putting up physical barriers.”

Whether I’m buzzed or not, I’ve never been more aware of the chasm that’s opened up between football and its fans”

The sweet hits me as I’m talking to some Liverpudlian teenagers. If you smoke weed you can’t concentrate on the game,” one of them says. It depends on the strain, I say, for some reason. I did it at Liverpool. You can’t focus,” says one of the lads. Then I’m talking to a portly Wolves fan outside the city centre’s other big pub. Going to the game? No,” he says. Banned.” Won’t tell me why.

No incident en route to Molineux. Police managed to shepherd the Hungary lot into the ground without them seeing the England fans. We walk through an underpass decorated with Wolves greats. One of my anonymous ex-copper contacts told me Wolves used to have a firm known as the Subway Army, so named because they used to ambush rival fans in this spot. No such danger today. Get to the gates of the Steve Bull and people are getting searched at the turnstiles. Still got another sweet on me. I’m chewing it as the steward feels my pockets.

The game kicks off and I can’t stop fidgeting. Can’t stop looking at my phone. Can’t stop thinking. I’m looking at the players and all I’m seeing is youthful millionaires who probably all have flights booked to Dubai and the USA and the Caribbean tomorrow”, as one fan put it on the train back. Fucking journo,” he added. Green Street reference.

Whether I’m buzzed or not, I’ve never been more aware of the chasm that’s opened up between football and its fans. Three months before the Euro 2020 final, news leaked that 20 of Europe’s wealthiest clubs planned to break away into a European Super League, an American-style competition with no promotion and no relegation that would change the fabric of the game. Vociferous fan protests ensued. Within three days all English teams had withdrawn.

No two people seem to agree on the root cause of rising violence and unrest at football: cocaine, post-Covid lawlessness; toxic masculinity, kids not respecting their elders, people not respecting authority. These are all valid suggestions. But there’s something compelling about Dr Newson’s idea that the seed of the trouble is fans’ deteriorating relationship with the game. In Fever Pitch, Hornby wrote about feeling like he’s at the centre of the world when he’s at a big game, being part of a story that will be in the papers the next day. That desire not just to observe the action but be a part of it is the very essence of fandom.

Are acts of hooliganism not an extreme extension of this – overzealous attempts to redress the balance of attention in the relationship between club and fan? In Among the Thugs, Bill Buford wrote about meeting a Man United fan who had just lost his job; he’d sacked it off in favour of Juventus away, But for the moment it didn’t matter. He was a celebrity. He had been in Turin when it had gone off.” And in the International Journal of Drug Policy, Mark Gilman wrote of United’s travelling support: The hooligans were stars. In many ways just as famous as their heroes on the pitch.”

Martin Amis called football fans belching sub-humanity” in his review of Among the Thugs in the Independent on Sunday. Among those who objected was the editor of Oxford United paper Raging Bull, Ed Horton. He wrote in the football fanzine When Saturday Comes that casting football supporters as belching sub-humanity’ makes it easier for us to be treated as such, and therefore easier for tragedies like Hillsborough to occur.”

The Hungary game ends with animosity and bile, but no violence. I’ve seen nobody with a key in their nose and no evidence of football’s flagrant” cocaine problem. In fact, I leave thinking I might be the highest person in the ground – and, to paraphrase Bill Hicks, I didn’t murder anybody, didn’t rape anybody, didn’t rob anybody, didn’t beat anybody, didn’t stick one fucking flare up my arse and, as far as I can see, neither did anybody else. And if fans are off their tits and not causing any harm, that’s their business. Isn’t it?

The trouble with drugs is most research is anecdotal, most data unreliable. I’m not even sure if Dr Newson’s 30.05 per cent has much meaning. (So you’ve seen people taking drugs? So what?) And as Dr Martha Newson tells me herself: In all my work with the cocaine stuff, it’s only ever an association. I can’t ever say that cocaine is driving violence. It’s just one factor that’s associated with it.”

At this point, the idea that fans are to blame for everything is almost laughable. Maybe it’s the weed, but I’m seeing Charlie Perry’s flare-in-derrière stunt – complete with Louis V hat and Benidorm Bunters” bum tattoo – not as a crime, but as an inspired act of abstract anti-establishment expressionism. Meanwhile the government are decrying middle-class cokeheads” at the football, people are dying building stadiums for the winter World Cup and football clubs are increasingly holding their fans in contempt while charging them constantly ballooning amounts for tickets and shirts. The irony of it all.


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