During the mid 70’s – 80’s, the football casual culture was in full boom. A culture of wearing Adidas trainers, jeans and one of the following brands; Sergio Tacchini, Stone Island, Peter Storm or Fila (probably more, insert brands if you want). This was the norm when going to a football game. The fashion and football combination occurred for the first time when Liverpool Youth started wearing these Peter Storm jackets with straight leg jeans and Adidas trainers. A style conjured up with brands which were collected when following their team around Europe. Then in came the Manchester boys with their Fred Perry clobber and Diadora shoes. This is all similar to now-a-days but the culture has been pieced together by wanna-be 80’s casuals who have the gear, know the music, know the lingo but won’t get their hands dirty when it comes to it. But this isn’t a bad thing, football is a culture without violence. The style and fashion of the 80’s casual is important because it’s something which signifies the game in England. A reputation which people from around the world look at. I don’t own a piece of Stoney or CP Company but it doesn’t take much to be fascinated by the culture which was the 80’s casual.
Films such as Green Street and The Football Factory have sparked the interest in the casual life among my generation but it’s all based on the look and the supporting your team and not the violence. With all this, the game is good without violence. Fight with tifos, banners and chants but not with your fists breaking another mans nose. I’ll receive a tweet from an original 80’s casual who disagrees with everything I’m saying and who will provide me with some lovely insults but who want’s to go to a game to get their face kicked in? Not me for sure. The atmosphere is the most important thing. The fashion and look of the 80’s casual is a bigger aspect than the fighting. The culture that surrounds us now is more of a tribute, it’s a striking reminder of the cultural flair which once was. Without the firm vs firm violence, the culture arguably becomes irrelevant because the fighting made it what it was, it wasn’t all about the look back then like it is now. However, the look lives on.
Saying all this, the 80’s casual life is fascinating but this will never fully return to football at all. The rules and regulations in football mean there is no way the extremes of the 80’s casual will be reborn into today’s game. The European Ultra’s from countries like Serbia and Turkey are currently showing up everything English football fans have to provide. Despite the chants, there isn’t much coming from the English game (and even these are dead half the time from personal experiences). No pyro, no flares, nothing and this is all down to the safety precautions placed. We can’t even stand at a game anymore (here’s to the campaign for Safe Standing!). Away games are probably the best chance you have to quench your thirst for atmosphere but then that sparks the ticket price issue which occurs across all form of games, home or away.
The culture of football casuals will never fully return to the English game but the look and the match day experience will but there needs to be changes if the atmospheres at English games want to improve. Check the Safe Standing campaign here and join the movement to improve English atmosphere.