Britain still needs football hooligans.

An inconvienient truth for modern society.

Our new world of safe spaces, micro-agressions and sertraline-green haired students claiming deep trauma if someone uses the wrong pronoun has created a very vulnerable societal underbelly, an easy target for those who wish to cause harm – true harm – to those living in an apparent free society.

Man-spreading, mansplaining, manterrupting, toxic masculinity and the final level boss, The Patriachy, have all attacked blokes and what seems like the traditional role men play in society. Try to give some push-back like Dr Jordan Peterson and the mob assembles, pitchforks and #nazi hashtags at the ready.

The rise in victimhood as a status marker along with the premise of the accuser being automatically guilty muddies the waters of what acceptable behaviour is anymore.

At the risk of being called out for any number of perceived wrongs, there is seemingly a temptation to deride all masculine traits and retreat into an existence of man-buns, veganism and This Is What A Feminist Looks Like tote bag. A great example of this is Prince Harry who matured from a naked pool-playing Apache gunship pilot to admitting to millions he was knocked to the floor by Prince William, tearing his necklace.

And so with a nation of increasing number of metrosexuals and the armed police putting down guns through fear of facing murder charges who is going to come to our aid when shit gets real?

When Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba carried out their terrorist attack on London Bridge and the surrounding area in June, 2017, it was Roy Larner who fought back in the Black and Blue steakhouse with his bare hands allowing patrons to escape. He ended up in intensive care with multiple stab wounds, but survived. Whilst being carved up, Larner goaded the attackers, shouting ‘Fuck you, I’m Millwall!’.

Now dubbed ‘The Lion of London Bridge’ – after Millwall football team’s symbol, he’s become a bit of a local legend. His mum Phyllis stated to The Sun newspaper although he was lippy, Roy wouldn’t back down from a fight, even if they had a knife or a gun.

When the Dutch ultras of AZ Alkmaar rushed the family stand in a match against West Ham following their last minute winner, the West Ham players jumped over the advertising hoardings in fear their wives, children and friends were in danger.

Step forward 58 year old electrician and Hammers fan Chris Knoll, aka ‘Knollsy’, who stood on the threshold of the stand steps and single handedly beat back the balaclava clad horde of 20 to 30 men. The ‘Angel of Alkmaar’ didn’t escape a black eye or two but he stood firm. Rewarded with a ticket to the final, he was able to watch West Ham win the Europa Conference League.

Reminds me of the final scene in the dark comedy A Room for Romeo Brass (1999) about two 12 years olds, Romeo and Gavin, befriend the local weirdo Morell, played by the excellent Paddy Considine. Morell goes psycho and bullies Gavin’s dad into kneeling down so he Morell can smash in his head in with a hammer. The dad meekly complies until the ultimately unlikeable Joe, Romeo’s dad, turns up puches Morell and tells him to fuck off without seemingly breaking a sweat. The only thing missing is him shouting ‘I’m Millwall!’.

It seems people today want the world to be in black and white: the goodies and the baddies, but often things consist of shades of gray. I say ease up on the eradication of these hero hooligans. Their hearts in the right place and when the chips are down, it’s not a campaign or the HR department you turn to. Those who want to cause real violence have no concept of safe spaces save for the ones created with fists and a won’t-back-down attitude.

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