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Ecstasy Escape For World Cup Soccer Violence? ::

Reported by Trackitdown TID on May 22, 2006

Soccer violence expert Bill Buford, whose book about running with Manchester United gangs in the 80s ‘Among The Thugs’ remains one of the best on soccer hooliganism, predicted that World Cup violence will be manageable in Germany next month, partly because of dance culture.


“It’s probably not as bad as it was because it was kind of a social trend,” the acclaimed US travel writer told the Kansas City Star this week.


“Most of it (soccer violence) got replaced by rave music. A lot of the organizers of the violence of the ’80s became organizers of the rave nights and rave clubs. It was weirdly and apolitically that they had switched from one violent thing to a non-violent thing. It was completely arbitrary.”


Buford became relatively accepted by United hooligans and was even beaten up as a suspected thug by Italian police during England’s World Cup campaign in 1990, and admitted he’d ended up fully understanding the buzz of gangs.


“One of the things that surprised me is that it was extremely exciting for everybody,” he admitted, “And there was, as perverse as it seems, an element of fun, that it was a kind of drug-like pleasure.”


His views on what  became 80s hooligans were matched by Liverpool house star John Kelly who chatting to Skrufff last year, recalled rave’s culture’s decidedly mixed beginnings.


“Rave culture was never just about youth culture. In the early days in ’88 it involved such a wide variety of people; black, white, yellow, brown, old, young, rich, educated, poor, gangsters and football hooligans,” said John, “A lot of the London based people who are now DJs used to be football hooligans,” he added.


Counter-culture guru Nicholas Saunders (now deceased) also addressed the issue in his seminal drugs book Ecstasy Reconsidered in 1995, quoting extensively from Lifeline expert Mark Gilman’s two-year study on Manchester United and City gangs he studied between 1991 and 1992


“Conversations were no longer about which team lads could be ambushed where and when,” said Gilman.


“Rave culture and ecstasy use had become more attractive than using large amounts of alcohol and running around the streets looking for fights with opposing football fans. MDMA use encouraged a desire for friendship and togetherness, not aggression,” he reported. (‘The first derby game in the 1991/92 season fell on a Saturday, but by this time something quite remarkable had happened. Many of the hard-core lads from both United and City had spent most of the summer dancing the weekends away to the sounds of house music at raves fuelled by the drug Ecstasy. They had done this together! They had got into a routine of meeting up at rave clubs and taking Ecstasy in groups comprising both United and City lads . . .’)


Jonty Skrufff (