The 2005 movie, Green Street Hooligans, captures the heart and soul of football hooliganism and shows, in graphic detail, the extent to which many fans are prepared to fight in the name of their team.
The defining moment, for me in this movie, comes when an American â€”who is drawn into the football gangs of London during his stay in that cityâ€” asks his colleague if the West Ham/Milwall rivalry can be compared to the one between the Red Sox and Yankees in baseball.
Itâ€™s the answer that captures the attention with the guy responding by saying that â€œitâ€™s more like the Israelis and the Palestinians.â€
While Green Street Hooligans concentrates more on football hooliganism, it also brings out the degree of spectator passion and explores the power of football rivalry.
Crucially, against a background of all those gory images of blood and broken limbs, the film also shows that the worldâ€™s most beautiful game is certainly nothing without the sights and sounds that come from those who follow it.
Football is special and it unites us and divides us in equal measure. It fascinates us and frustrates us in equal measure, it delights us and destroys us in equal measure. It excites us and exhausts us in equal measure.
Football is about rivalry. The bigger the rivalry, the bigger the game and one of the biggest derbies in the world is definitely the one that captures the imagination of the entire football world. The one that features the globeâ€™s two greatest players on either side of the Great Divideâ€”Barcelona versus Real Madrid; Messi versus Ronaldo; Guardiola [before he left] versus Mourinho; Rebellious Catalonia versus Authoritative Madrid; Football Artists versus Football Machine; Art versus Craft; Them versus Us!
In Africa, we also have our own derbies Al-Ahly vs Zamalek in Egypt and in South Africa, there is the famous Soweto derbyâ€”Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.
On the domestic scene, we have our own super Blantyre derbyâ€”Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderersâ€”and it therefore felt so good last Sunday to see the massive crowd, the beautiful colour in the stands, the roaring fans in Biafra Stand and scenes so beautiful angels would have saluted in their flight.
The commercial cityâ€™s derby might still be struggling to scale the heights it set in the â€˜70s, â€˜80s and â€˜90s on the pitch, but it is not short on appeal. In those good â€˜ole days when a mother in a family was a fan of one of the giants and her hubby supported the rival team, she would not cook if her team lost and the hubby could not be allowed the luxury of having â€˜shushuâ€™ if the spouseâ€™s team happened to be on the losing endâ€”it would be plain sleep, nothing else!
And I believe the Nomads and the Peopleâ€™s Team took us down memory lane last Sunday with a vintage show. Bullets yabooka!!! Shaa!!