Football, Hooliganism & The United States

For those of us watching from the other side of the Atlantic ocean, Major League Soccer is, to say the very least, an education. English football developed into what it is today as the result of one hundred and twenty years of evolution. MLS, by comparison, hasn’t had much time to develop a universe of its own. It has had to be, in the already cluttered landscape that is American sport, be a revolution in itself, and it is still, as far as many Americans are concerned, on probation. There is still time for MLS to collapse in on itself in the same way that its predecessor, NASL, did in the early 1980s when the crowds drifted away and the backers pulled the plug. Its development has been slow and steady. MLS still can’t compete on an even keel with American football, baseball and basketball, but it has made significant in-roads into the psyche of a nation that had looked for many years as if it would prove to be entirely impervious to the game. Crowds are growing and money is starting to be invested on being in star players from overseas. The problem side of the game, however, is also starting to rear its ugly, spit-flecked head. Last weekend’s friendly between Columbus Crew and West Ham United seemed to be an innocuous enough looking fixture. A chance for...

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