The Big Question: How do you rescue the bad reputation of English football fans? - With Euro 2000 underway, the threat of running street battles breaking out between hooligans supporting the England team and fans of the opposition can never be too far awa



Mail on Sunday

’Nobody can say it is a media creation, and if there is violence it will

be reported. The reputation of England fans can be revived by weeding

out the hooligans and letting the good people, who love football and are

aware of decent standards of behaviour travel as our ambassadors. The

Scottish reputation has changed because their fans are not in any


The best PR initiative can be conducted by the people, but first the

Government must prevent convicted football hooligans from leaving these

shores. We can win a PR battle if Jack Straw stops the hooligan element

from travelling.’



’I think it is important that the statistics are voiced. I would use

real fans as spokespeople. I would want to work with a national tabloid

newspaper on something along the lines of a ’Shop a Hoolie’


I would use police spokespeople to comment on the actual number of

hooligans compared to good, honest fans, and to comment on how football

hooliganism has diminished considerably, following campaigns and

activity by the Football Association, the Government and the various

football forces. I would commission an independent poll on the

percentage of people who would be keen to see football hooligans having

their passports removed, to demonstrate the force of public



FA Premier League

’So much depends on the behaviour of a small minority. Sadly, there is a

media obsession with any form of misbehaviour, which tarnishes the rest

of the England fans. The media focus is on the bad news and we have to

put it in some sort of context. The general public have got a more

measured view of this than the media itself. If you listen to radio

phone-ins, people are talking about how they enjoyed the game and saw no


I think the media are out of step with the public. I would use direct

statements, phone-in programmes and interviews which condemn the


You can’t ignore it so you must condemn it very strongly and, at the

same time, try to move the story on to the wider picture.’


Marketforce Communications

’If there is one set of 25-year-old fans rioting and then another bunch

of loud men in their twenties commenting on it to the media, then it is

difficult to differentiate between the two. It would be better to have

families and women ready and prepared, who can immediately speak to

television crews, if any reaction is needed. The whole emphasis of any

campaign should be on generating a grass roots feeling. It’s a question

of credibility.

Everybody who might be asked to comment should be clearly briefed in


We need to send all journalists covering the match press packs which

contain the real facts and photos of positive role models, such as women

and families.

Public relations activity cannot hide the truth. What we are trying to

do is mitigate disaster.’

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