THESE are the faces of the hooligans who brought terror to the football terraces for decades, The Sun reports. The sinister portraits – released ahead of Euro 2016 – are part of a series from acclaimed photographer Simon Harsent.His new work explores football hooliganism through petrifying portraits of the football firm leaders themselves.
Entitled GBH (Great Britain’s Hooligans) the series brings people face-to-scary face with some of the country’s most notorious hooligans.Simon said: “It’s an examination of social discontent in Britain as the beautiful game presented an ugly face, and how the decisions of a few men 30 years ago have impacted their lives today.
“I’m not trying to glorify them or condemn them. These are portraits of people who chose one path in life and now have all turned their lives around. “There is a written piece in the exhibition catalogue by my brother and co-collaborator on this project that talks to each of the guys about what was going on in their life at the time.
“It talks about the complexities of trying to generalise football hooligans, because there is no one single reason that young males are drawn to it.” Although the men pictured all had different stories to tell about how they got involved in trouble, there was one common theme. “One thing I did hear from a few of the guys was that it was like an addiction and if looked at like that I think we might perceive it in a different light,” revealed Simon.
“If you have other addictions such as drugs there are treatment programs but the so-called cure for a football hooligan is jail time.” Riaz Khan of Leicester’s Baby Squad said: “Being part of a firm gave you that sense of belonging. I was always on the fringes when I was at school. I never belonged to any sub-culture or gang because I was Asian.
“When I was at school, racism was rife and gangs of boneheads would chase us just because of the colour of our skin. “When I started following the Baby Squad, I felt protected and also brave because now we had lads who would defend you through thick and thin.
“!I felt invincible. I wasn’t a troublemaker – only at the football.”