Ultra by Tobias Jones review – Italian football and the far right
Violence and the return of fascism are part of the story of Italy’s most extreme football fans. But as this noble investigation shows, some have a much more positive reputation
What to do about violent youth? Violent young men that is. Their thirst for action, extremity, conflict, heroism. Their cruelty. Perhaps the army? But soldiers are expensive. There’s sport of course, channelling adrenaline and competitiveness into spectacle; but few of us have the stuff of athletes.
One idea that took off in the late 19th century was to corral rowdy men together in stadiums to support their local football teams, directing their negative energy towards the urgent rivalry of the players on the field. They might yell obscenities, invade the pitch and get into drunken brawls with opposing supporters, but with rare exceptions the mayhem was safely circumscribed; the police knew where the bad boys were; they could be frisked for weapons at the turnstiles; and their very thirst for transgression galvanised the stadium experience for everyone. Brutishness was satisfied, contained and even exploited.Continue reading...