Imagine your favorite football team has just lost the Super Bowl to one of their most heated rivals. Imagine how you feel and how much you hate the fans of the other team. Would you not like to just run up to them and punch them in the face after all the trash talking they were doing to you and your team during the game? Now imagine the pandemonium that would ensue if every fan did this after every football game that took place. Then take the violence times ten and you have a typical European soccer match. In Europe, soccer is more than a sport to them. They treat it more like a way of life and every time a fan's favorite team loses, it feels like a death in the family to them. For years now Europe and other places have been struggling to find a way to deal with the violence that always follows fans after and before soccer matches.
Hooliganism is a term that was created by the media in the 1960's to describe the violence, disorder, and general destruction caused by soccer fans before, during, and after games. However, there are two very specific types of disorder that have been labeled "hooliganism". There is the first type which is: spontaneous and typically low level disorder caused by fans at or around soccer matches, and then there is the second type which is the deliberate and intentional violence involving organized gangs, or "firms" as they are referred to in Europe, who are supporters of one particular club and then follow them to their games and fight other firms that are supporters of the club that their team is playing. These fights tend to take place a long distance away from the actual match and could occur days before or after the match has already taken place. The first type of hooliganism is usually seen as more of a random occurrence and tends to depend more on what happens during the actual match. If there is bad call by the referee or a particularly bad tackle by a member of the other team that could cause normally calm supporters to lose control and form an angry mob that could take to the streets and cause destruction on a much smaller scale. The second type on the other hand is usually more of planned attack by the firms who go into the match knowing if there is going to be a fight after the game takes place. These firms tend to avoid striking out against what they decide to be "innocent" bystanders and typically usually go for members of the opposing teams firms, or other die-hard fans of the other club.