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Should I Be Concerned About Safety?

Safety is something that many first time travelers to English football worry about. You hear stories and read about hooligans, and brawls at matches, and supporters being jumped on the tube, and things of that nature. From my experience, it is absolutely something to be concerned about, but is not a problem as long as you know how to conduct yourself and are aware of your surroundings.

As described in other articles on this site, the relationship between home and away supporters in England is very different than in America. In the US, there are occasionally fights at American football games, but usually home and away fans can mix in the stadium parking lots, bars, and in the stadium itself without issue. This is not the case in England, where away supporters have their own stadium entrances and are kept completely separate from the home supporters. This extends itself to bars around the stadiums on match day, where they usually require identification in the form of a ticket or your Red Membership card to prove that you are a home supporter.

Because of this, there are expectations for conduct that you must follow in places where you could encounter supporters of other teams. These include:

The reality is that 99%+ of football supporters in England are normal people who enjoy cheering for their team and against their opponents, and aren’t actually looking to engage in any violent behavior. But there are still a small minority of supporters who long for the more violent days of the 1970’s and 1980’s when violence was much more common. As long as you are careful to avoid these people and are aware of your surroundings, you will be fine.

One other thing to note is that among stadiums in the Premier League, the Emirates is (for better or worse) one of the safest, least rowdy grounds. Of the violent events I’ve personally witnessed as a supporter in England, none of them have happened at the Emirates.

Story Time
In my many trips to London, I’ve seen quite a few violent altercations, although almost all of them have been resolved without (to my knowledge) serious injury. Here are some of the more memorable ones:

On your trips to London, you’ll likely encounter similar things, but it’s all part of the experience and hopefully you will end up with some similarly entertaining stories like I recounted above!

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