An excerpt from my script review for Green Street Hooligans which will be available 02/21/23:
1.) Marketability of the Idea
Now, I’m not here to argue you shouldn’t love American football over “soccer” but as this section is dedicated to the “marketability” of a project, I will point out that one does have a larger following than the other.
I’ll let the Welcome to Wrexham folks explain the “pyramid” of English Football Leagues…
The Premier League is the top, and any given season you can have a multitude of teams just in the London area.
You have the big 3…Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham whose biggest issue during recent seasons is will they be in the top five of the Premier League, never relegation.
(If Tottenham sounds familiar, it’s because that’s where your favorite fictional football manager had his English debut, although short-lived.)
“How many countries are in this country? Four.”…still fantastic.
Mid level teams…where I would put Crystal Palace and West Ham.
Then a few clubs that always seem on that Premier League/Championship bubble…Brentford, Fulham, and Watford.
After that you have clubs in the lower leagues.
(Forgive me if I missed any, but remember I am American after all.)
I should make the point though, that although recently promoted, Brentford and Fulham are actually having decent seasons this year while two of the bigger 3 have been struggling.
(One of those clubs being Chelsea, who Graham Potter has not been sacked yet as manager at the time of this review. Good guy, but like Nuno and Wolverhampton, Potter should have never left Brighton.)
Okay, so what’s the whole point of this?
The supporters of these clubs are more than just “fans”. Supporting a team like West Ham or Tottenham is often in their blood, passed down from generation to generation.
To say people take it seriously and personally is an understatement.
(A history Welcome to Wrexham displayed really well.)
Speaking of Wrexham, I had the opportunity to attend a match there in October, when Wrexham hosted Torquay United.
The score was something like 6-0 in Wrexham’s favor, and the chant going through the stands towards the end directed at the Torquay United away fans?…
“Six nil and a long ride home.”
Funny, sure, but also kind of mean.
Similarly, one of the children’s’ coaches is a Sheffield United supporter, where their rival is a club in one of the lower leagues. The chant they employ when playing their foe?
“Mind the gap. Mind the gap. Mind the gap. Sheffield Wednesday mind the gap. Mind the gaaaaaap.”
That one’s funny because “mind the gap” is all over the UK in reference to stepping off a train and onto the platform.
(A phrase that’s second only to my favorite, “See it. Say it. Sorted.”)
Pair this type of taunting with the fact that folks in the UK enjoy a pint or two before a match, and people are too willing to scrap, win or lose.
Does it justify “hooliganism”? Not in my opinion, but I’ve never truly seen that.
In my experience, anytime it’s even been remotely close to happening there’s always a strong presence of police and security, like after the Torquay United match, where the away fans were escorted onto their charter buses.
In fact, when I talked to a friend here that’s from the UK, he said the firm skirmishes still happen, but less frequently, both because the police monitor that stuff closely, but more importantly, clubs are now handing out lifetime bans to those caught partaking.
One of things that is consistent though, is stadium staff is very adamant about not wearing away gear in the home stands.
For instance, I once went to a match where Tottenham was hosting Sheffield United, and for the above mentioned coach back home I took a picture with a “match day scarf” and held up the Sheffield side of it slightly.
After it was taken I was approached by an usher and asked not to do that again.
Even though I didn’t see it doesn’t mean the staff/police don’t still take hooliganism seriously.
Before diving into the plot of it all, will there be interest in this story?
Or more appropriately is it a relevant story for audiences?
Certainly, especially when you consider it came out in 2005.
(Okay, the stats above don’t necessarily back up my argument for relevance, but in my defense, anytime I go over and tell folks I’m a West Ham fan over here, asking if I saw Green Street is their most common follow up question.)
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