Loved by few, hated by many, feared by all – this is one of their mottos. Who are we talking about? Soccer hooligan gangs. The violent behavior now known as “soccer hooliganism” originated in England in early 1960´s but soon spread to many other European countries. Strict legislation and safety precautions have almost eradicated hooligan gangs in England but in many other countries all over the world, soccer hooliganism has flourished. Here are 25 of the most fearsome hooligan gangs.
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Dynamo Zagreb, Croatia
Its major hooligan firm called The Bad Blue Boys belongs to the worst soccer thug groups in Europe. They are also known for their vocal and physical intimidation at soccer matches. The hard core of the group has hundreds of members who fight with any enemy firm but their biggest rivals are hooligans of the Red Star Belgrade.
Lazio Roma, Italy
This highly organized gang called Irriducibili is one of the most brutal in Italy. Infamous for its fascist sentiments, this group even influences the transfer policy of the team and sometimes meets face to face with poor performing players.
Slask Wroclaw, Poland
Polish hooligans are sometimes considered the most violent in the world with gangs often making friendly alliances. The battle of Wroclaw allied with Gdansk and Wisla Cracow against Gdynia, Poznan and Cracowia Cracow in 2003 which turned out to be one of the biggest hooligan fights in history. 229 rowdies got arrested, one was killed.
Galatasaray Istanbul, Turkey
The most famous Turkish hooligans. Their matches against their city rival Fenerbahce are among the most dangerous in the soccer world. Two years ago, the Galatasaray thugs even attacked the players of the other team.
Millwall FC , England
The soccer team is actually known only thanks to its violent fans. Their extreme rivalry with West Ham United has even inspired several movies, one of them being The Green Street Hooligans with Elijah Wood. Their motto: “Nobody likes us, we don´t care” is well known among many other soccer fans.
Boca Juniors, Argentina
Boca Juniors against River Plate is frequently dubbed the biggest soccer game in the world. It divides Argentina as much as Peronism does. Tradition, honor, history and class are all ingredients that make it one of the most disputed matches in club football, both on and off the pitch. Apart from fighting against the rival fans, Boca´s supporters can also create an incredible atmosphere at the stadium.
Spartak Moscow, Russia
One of the oldest firms in Russia is Spartak’s Gladiators who were formed in 1996. Their battle against St. Petersburg´s rowdies in 2005 was one of the greatest fights in hooligan history with over 200 fighters on each side.
Manchester United, England
The oldest and most famous hooligan firm of Manchester United is the Red Army. Their activities, however, as well as the English hooliganism in general, have declined since the late 1980´s when The Red Army was at its best.
FC Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona is one of the most popular soccer teams worldwide with tens of millions fans all over the world. But when it comes to hooligan firms, they also have some. The most famous and feared is called Boixos Nois. Some of its members have even been convicted for death threats, murders, illegal firearms possession, extortion and drug trafficking
Sparta Prague, Czech Republic
The most successful Czech soccer team has several hooligan gangs such as “Prague Boys”, “Sparta Young”, or “Falanga”. Their most hated enemy is the city rival Slavia Prague. Usually, these matches have to be secured by hundreds of policemen.
Panathinaikos Athens, Greece
Balkan soccer fans are considered one of the most fanatical and Greek rowdies are no exception. The most feared of Panathinaikos´ soccer thug firms is “Gate 13”. The same group also supports the local basketball team.
Ajax Amsterdam, Netherlands
There are many hooligan firms within this famous Dutch club. The most active is probably the gang called “F – side”. This group took part in another historical hooligan fight. In 1997, the F – side rowdies met with Feyenoord hooligans on a freeway. The fight was so severe that the witnesses said it was a miracle that just one man died in it.
Wisla Cracow, Poland
Another Polish team whose rowdies you should avoid at all costs. Their fights against the hated city rival Cracowia Cracow are among the most violent in Europe. Unfortunately, they sometimes result even in death casualties.
Glasgow Rangers, Scotland
Rangers supporters are famous for their intense rivalry with the city rival Celtic. In 2008, their favorite team played the UEFA Cup final against St. Petersburg in Manchester and almost 100 000 of the Rangers fans traveled with them. There were huge clashes outside the stadium and on the inside, one Russian fan got stabbed.
Dynamo Dresden, Germany
There are not many well known hooligan firms in the German soccer league but if there are some, Ultras Dynamo is definitely one of them. The hard core of the group forms hundreds of active members who are menace to all other German fan clubs.
Flamengo Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Flamengo is the most popular soccer team in Brazil with about 40 million fans all over the country. Their matches against their biggest rival Fluminense are huge events for the fans. In 1963, their match was watched by an incredible 195 000 spectators – the greatest number in soccer history. Flamengo´s most famous hooligan gang is called Torcida Jovem-Fla.
Besiktas Istanbul, Turkey
Another Istanbul team that is known for their rough and thuggish fan base. Their rivalry matches against Galatasaray and Fenerbahce are among the most brutal hooligan clashes.
Red Star Belgrade, Serbia
Supporters of this team have one of the most fearsome reputations in Europe. There are several hooligan firms within the Red Star including Belgrade Boys and Zulu Warriors.
West Ham United, England
One of the team where hooliganism actually originated. The Inter City Firm is widely regarded as the first properly organized hooligan group ever. Their fights with Millwall supporters became notorious.
St. Petersburg, Russia
Along with the fans of the Moscow teams CSKA and Spartak, the most violent soccer fans in Russia. The main hooligan group of St. Petersburg has seemingly innocent name Music Hall but their members are enormous brawlers.
FC Zurich, Switzerland
Even Switzerland, the little elegant country has some hooligan issues. There are two irreconcilable rivals in the capital city – FC Zurich and Grasshoppers Zurich , whose matches are the so called “high risk games” requiring increased police presence in and around the stadium.
Universitario Lima, Peru
This team´s hooligans are the most violent in Peru and some of the most fearsome in whole South America. During Universitario´s matches, several away fans have been killed.
Shakhtar Donetsk, Ukraine
Ukraine´s soccer clubs have been also facing significant hooliganism-related problems. Shakhtar is one of the most popular Ukraine´s team but its rowdies are no less famous. Firms like Weekend Team, The Club or Ultras 18 are feared by all other teams´ fans.
Juventus Torino, Italy
One of the most successful Italian soccer team has many fan, ultra and hooligan groups. A fan group called Drughi, for example, used to have over 10 000 members. As for the hooligan firms of Juventus, the Vikings are one of the most active.
This soccer hooligan gang is among the most violent in Eastern Europe. Their most hated enemies are the supporters of the rival city club Ujpest. Massive clashes of soccer thugs armed with baseball bats, chains or tasers are quite common before and after, sometimes even during these rivalry matches.
Soccer has its share of hooligan gangs, but how do you think they compare to these 25 Notoriously Dangerous Gangs.