Football Casual : It started in the North?
Northern football casuals, the originals? The age old debate rages on. What region of England does the terrace casual movement owe its beginnings to? It'll probably never be proven and definitely never agreed on. And whilst our Southern counterparts were perhaps the first to be noticed and marked with the medias Casuals moniker, fellow Northerners who were there from the get go claim it all started back in '79.... up North of course!
Regardless of the scene's beginnings, one thing that was guaranteed from region to region and certainly in the the pre-internet years, was the difference in styles and trends. Casuals we'rent just competing for who had the best mob of fighters but also who had the best Saturday dressers in an ever changing battle of oneupmanship, where an explosive combination of violence and sharp dressing came hand in hand with the movement. This has been almost lost in these high tech modern times of social media, which is a little sad really.
From a stereotypical standpoint, Northerners where famous for a rugged outdoorsy style that went hand in hand with the bleak weather and grim industrial backdrop. Think Peter Storm cagoules, Berghaus and izod windbreakers. Whereas the hooligan mobs from the South were famed for a more flashy dressed-up style with more brands on show. People who were there in the beginning will argue this until the end of time, mind. And you even hear claims, that have even been printed in many of the hooligan novels of the 90's and early noughties, that some Northern football firms were still rocking up to the match in donkey jackets and bovver boots at the height of the football casual movement. Of course this may not be totally untrue, the world wasn't as interconnected in those days, in fact far from it. So smaller town teams could well be years behind in subculture terms. But this would have no doubt also stood true for other Southern football fans from outside of London.
On forums of old, numerous documentaries and probably on various social media platforms such as Facebook & Twitter, the debate will continue. Obviously for us, we're in the North camp for this one and to celebrate our claimed victory we even once printed it on one of our popular football casual t-shirts.
It's a real shame that the modern day has put an end to this era of football fan weekend oneupmanship. And often no matter where you go, not just in this country but also now in most parts of western Europe, you'll see the same brands and styles on and around the football terraces. Obviously it's much tougher to be different and stand out from the crowd these days, especially when what was once the rarest of Stone Island jackets or Adidas Original deadstock are often just a Google search and a PayPal transaction away from being hand delivered at your doorstep. This is why it's important that independent brands such as ourselves pave the way for new trends whilst not forgetting and still paying homage to the scene's origins.
Where you an original casual? We'd love to hear which camp you sit in.
North or South?
Thanks to Bobby Gallagher and Nic Dunnaway for featuring in the digital image above.