Thatcher's Legacy on the Legal Narrative Surrounding Fans of Football

Ashley Lowerson, Matthew Hall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Margaret Thatcher is well known for her ‘tough on crime’ and ‘law and order’ rhetoric that saw her Conservative Party elected to Government in 1979. However, some criminological scholars have argued from a punitive perspective that Thatcher’s legislative programme lacked the ‘toughness’ that she championed. Assessing law through ‘punitiveness’ is, however, a narrow approach.
Two pieces of legislation passed during Mrs Thatcher’s tenure, the Sporting Events (Control of Alcohol etc.) Act 1985 and the Public Order Act 1986 are rarely discussed within this literature. Moving away from punitiveness, the restrictive nature of this legislation amounts to ‘tough’ policing and still exists today. Drawing attention to a recent case study, it will be exemplified that football fans are still often stigmatised and policed on a 1980’s narrative that these individuals represent somewhat of a societal threat. Thus, this paper will demonstrate that Thatcher’s legislative legacy upon football fans still exists. From this angle, Thatcher’s legislative programme arguably satisfies the toughness that she advocated. Indeed, many would argue that football specific legislation is draconian. The symbolic nature of this law will always shape public perception. It is such legislation that needs to be addressed before any real transformation to the narrative surrounding fans of football can begin to change for the better.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThatcher's Legacy on the Legal Narrative Surrounding Fans of Football. In: Football Collective - Challenging the Narrative
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes
EventChallenging the Narrative - Hampden Park, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Nov 201830 Nov 2018


ConferenceChallenging the Narrative
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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