August 26, 2009

Real Life Green Street Hooligans

The 2005 film Green Street Hooligans depicts the tale of an expelled Harvard journalism student who is thrust into the brutal world of English soccer hooliganism. A family connection to the GSE (The Green Street Elite), the West Ham hooligan supporters group, brings Elijah Wood’s character to the forefront of this underground society. When I first watched this film I was confused as to why the producers of the film chose the antagonists of the movie to the hooligans supporters of Millwall, a team that has never spent a season in the premiership. Being from the states, I guess I underestimated the intense rivalry that is present between the two clubs. Of all the rivalries that exist throughout the country, even more specifically regarding the various London derbies (as the movie is set in London), I never understood why the aforementioned teams were chosen…..until today.
The drama from today’s second round Carling Cup ties extended from the pitch to the fans, most notably with the riot that broke out at Upton Park. Who was involved? Well it was the fans from Millwall and West Ham of course. Proving exactly why the producers of Green Street Hooligans chose those teams instead of, say, Tottenham and Arsenal.
The Football Association has already launched an investigation into the rioting that lead to the suspension of play at one point during the match, the first meeting between these two rivals in over four years. Hundreds of fans were involved in the uprising while police removed fifty from the pitch before play was allowed to resume. A forty-four year old fan was also hospitalized with a stab wound. The Hammers game back from 1-0 to eventually prove victorious 3-1 after extra time. So while the FA sorts out the mess in East London, the fictive story behind Green Street Hooligans has become a little more real.

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