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Amongst The Cyber Thugs

by Dave Wiggins 

Like me, you will no doubt have bellowed with pleasure at the recent headline news about Polish hooligans planning all manner of mayhem at the forthcoming World Cup.  It’s the same every two years, of course (it always happens in advance of the European Championships as well), whether it’s England’s top boys – led by some ‘General’ or other from Market Rasen – planning to run riot across sleepy Belgian towns, or Latvia’s main faces, mobbing up to surprise unsuspecting Dutchmen in jester hats (the Dutch wearing the hats, not the Latvians).  And as long ago as 1970, rumours were rife, beforehand, that a tasty little Peru crew were all set to do Brazil at a flared kecks and stack-heel straightener just north of Albuquerque.  It never happened, in the event, and, as we all know, 99% of this scare-mongering shite never accrues.


But here we are, in 2006, and a new menace is all set to blight our national –nay-international – game.  Yes, the insidious shenanigans perpetrated by the Internet hoolies.  Those bedroom-based warriors, are already in the throes of attempting to wreck the forthcoming showpiece spectacular that is ‘WM06’ (remember those boss WM74 stickers, orange adidas tee shirts and Gerd Muller?  Sparwasser 1-0, etc, etc).  Message boards across continents have been rife with who is going to run whom, and which German hamlets are to be turned into cauldrons of hate.  But what drives these lunatics, who clearly aren’t football supporters, to get involved in, at best, overtly anti-social behaviour?  In the interests of investigative journalism, ‘SWINE’ sent me undercover, to track down some of the denizens of computer-led tribalism.  I uncovered a shocking world of empty threats, repetitive strain injury, regular ‘self-love’, and an attempt to smash the system from inside by living with one’s parents.


I was introduced to a lad called Jonathan, from Southport , near Merseyside, whose name had been given to me in a McIntyre-esque tip-off.  Jonathan said that he was a Manchester United supporter, but also liked to see Liverpool and Everton – and Southport – doing well.  He said that he once ran with the Burscough, but that legging the likes of Formby or Frickley Athletic became too easy, so he turned to the Internet for some real action.  We met up at his parents house – a pleasant semi not far from where the likes of Hansen, Whelan and every 80’s double-winner seems to live – and he wasted no time at all in logging onto ‘Fly me to the Moon’ to see how ‘Boro had fared in Bucharest.  ‘Bernie_Slaven8’ was holding court.  ‘We ran thise (sic) f*kers (sic) over the show, man.  Wait til they come to the Riverside next week.  What’s your 5 favourite crisps’?  I pointed out to Jonathan that ‘Bernie_Slaven8’ must have got back from Rumania like Billy fuckin Whizz, given that the game had only finished 10 hours ago.  Jonathan ignored me, already typing furiously to get into ‘Inter the Valley’ – a joint Internazionale / Charlton Athletic Website, on whose message board the Azzuri’s top boys swapped torrid tales with South London’s finest.


I asked Jonathan why he chose cyber-hooliganism over some old fashioned plastic chair-throwing, and standing with your arms wide open, looking like a twat, on a Mediterranean street.  Look mate’, he said, it’s the buzz.  Some people might like to have a girlfriend, or go to a rock concert or the cinema.  For me, and others like me, you can’t beat the rush that comes with virtually running someone across hyperspace.  I was offering ‘Hammer_til_I_die’  out on a West Ham board the other day, and you could smell the fear coming from his office PC.  In fact, I offered to meet him face-to-face, next time The Iron play Southport or Marine, but he shit one and logged off.  I don’t like to brag, but I am the Kraftwerk of the hooligan world.  Why set foot out of my ‘studio’ (if you will), when I can rule from right here’?


At this point, things were getting a bit heavy, as he started to question me in return.  Who have I worked over on a Message Board?  Where do I post?  Did I fancy an attack that he was planning on the Tranmere site ‘Shit Sellotape’?  Luckily, just as I was thinking up a response, his mum shouted down that it was time for his tea.  He gave me a look that indicated it was time for me to leave.  I had, though, achieved my first objective.  I had made my way into the inner-sanctum, and just in time for the World Cup.  Declining his ma’s offer of a cup of Earl Grey and a Fruit Club, I asked Jonathan when we could meet up again.  He ushered me past his dad’s study.  Come back next week’, he said,  ‘there’s a few of us going on the Germany Fan’s site, ‘Over icht line – mein arsen’, and it will be going off big time.  I’ll text you’.  And with that, he was gone.  I couldn’t believe my luck.  I had made immediate contact with probably the main face in internet hooliganism, and this was only the start.  I did, though, fear for what is going to happen from June 9 onwards, as computers of all types are plugged in across the world.  I predict cyberspace carnage.   Still, it is probably better than arranging for that German bloke, Arwen Meiwes,  to eat you, or a joint suicide pact with somebody from Bruges.   And with those dark thoughts swirling around my head, I made my way to Southport station, hoping against hope that a load of ASBO ninjas wouldn’t get on before I reached Bootle. The little gets.               





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