Fascism is anti-working class; it attempts to control and split them. Fascism is not compatible with original 80s football lads and lassies. We were rebelling against Thatcher’s Britain; it wasn’t even political to be a football casual, it was born out of football and there was no music or music bands originally attached to its origins, you had to look for music that fitted.
This started in the North West, particularly Liverpool, a working class city going through major hardship at the time. When Liverpool regularly played in Europe during the late 70s and into the 80s, their fans brought back with them these obscure sportswear labels. “A crocodile? What’s this all about?”
With a bit of robbing on the way, it was working class lads on the take looking for their own one-upmanship. The trainers the Liverpool lads found were also obscure and were easy pickings given the fact they were normally on display outside shops.
They then went on their own personal trips to bring back this new trend, usually sportswear such as trainers and tracksuits not really seen in the UK. When the lads kicked this off it started being worn at the football. Was this supposed to be stylish? No – it was anti-suss.
“By the time London has its own version of this, it’s Arsenal that lead the way, there certainly wasn’t much right-wing within their unit especially with the amount of black lads within their ranks and leading them.” – (P. Hooton; TAL Fanzine)
The London Casual was born from modern soul boys and dub music then onto the football terraces and had a lot of Afro-Caribbean chaps leading the way.
“Casual style in London grew out of the late seventies soul boy scene this was inherently racially mixed – the idiots who wanted to be racists became boneheads. Our fanzine Boys Own was very left wing (mainly because of comrade Steve Mayes, who also went to Chelsea with me) and we deliberately set out to stir shit up”. – (T. Farley; Skiddle 3rd March 2016)
Casuals as a concept finished around 1989. The anti-suss part had been sussed and it went mainstream. After this you just had trendy hooligans, although you may ask “what’s the difference?”
“I am a member of Football Lads and Lasses Against Fascism (FLAF) and believe that we as football fans have a duty to reject the hateful message of the ultra right. They are the tools of the ruling class and always blame the wrong people when the going gets tough. We can all support our own teams and even countries – although I’m not a patriot myself – but we also need to protect our own communities and those less fortunate than ourselves. As The Who said: we won’t get fooled again!”– (P. Thornton; FLAF article 27/8/19)