Football Ultras vs. Football Hooligans


Football culture is rich and diverse, encompassing a wide array of passionate supporters. Within this realm, two distinct groups often capture attention: ultras and hooligans. While both are deeply ingrained in football fandom, they represent different aspects of supporter culture. In this article, we’ll delve into the disparities between football ultras and football hooligans, shedding light on some of their characteristics, behaviours, and motivations.

FK Partizan v Crvena Zvezda, Stadion Partizana
Partizan fans at the Eternal Derby. FK Partizan v Crvena Zvezda, Stadion Partizana, Belgrade, Serbia. 31.08.22. © Hugo Saye

Football Ultras:

Football ultras are characterized by their intense dedication to supporting their team, often displaying choreographed tifos, colorful banners, and elaborate chants during matches. Some key traits of football ultras are:

  1. Passion and Loyalty: Ultras are renowned for their unwavering commitment and loyalty to their club. They view themselves as the guardians of the club’s identity and traditions, often going to great lengths to demonstrate their allegiance.
  2. Organised Support: Ultras pride themselves on their organised approach to supporting their team. They coordinate displays of support, such as choreographed tifos and pyrotechnic shows, to create an electric atmosphere in the stadium.
  3. Community and Solidarity: Ultras foster a sense of community and solidarity among supporters. They often engage in social activities, charitable initiatives, and community projects to strengthen bonds within the fanbase.
  4. Non-violent Protest: While ultras are passionate in their support, they typically eschew violence and hooliganism. Instead, they channel their energy into vocal support and creative displays, using the stadium as a platform for expression.
  5. Political and Social Activism: Some ultras engage in political and social activism, using their platform to advocate for causes they believe in. This may include anti-racism campaigns, LGBTQ+ rights advocacy, or protests against club ownership.

Football Hooligans:

Football hooliganism can be characterised by violent and disorderly behaviour, often involving clashes between rival groups of supporters. Some key traits of football hooligans are:

  1. Violence and Disorder: Hooligans are known for their propensity for violence, vandalism, and disorderly conduct. They often engage in confrontations with rival supporters, leading to riots, brawls, and property damage.
  2. Intimidation and Aggression: Hooligans seek to intimidate and assert dominance over rival supporters through displays of aggression and violence. They may target opposing fans, as well as police and security personnel, in their pursuit of confrontation.
  3. Criminal Activity: Hooliganism is often associated with criminal activity, including assault, vandalism, and public disorder offenses. Hooligans may face legal consequences for their actions, including bans from football stadiums and criminal prosecution.
  4. Negative Public Perception: Football hooliganism has a detrimental impact on the reputation of football clubs and the sport as a whole. It is often condemned by authorities, governing bodies, and the wider community for its destructive and antisocial nature.

While both football ultras and football hooligans are passionate supporters of their clubs, they represent vastly different aspects of football fandom. Ultras are characterised by their organised support, passion, and community spirit, while hooligans are associated with violence, disorder, and criminal behaviour. It’s important to recognise and understand these distinctions in order to appreciate the diverse spectrum of football supporter culture.

Don’t miss out on Lower Block’s latest news and features. Subscribe to our newsletter below and give us a follow on InstagramFacebook and Twitter

You may also enjoy…


Sign up for our newsletter