Soccer’s Most Rowdy Fanbases
There is no doubt the beautiful game is packed with passion, adrenaline and euphoria. But when emotions get out of control and fans get rowdy, things can turn deadly violent.
From starting wars, setting stadiums on fire to dozens of deaths, fanbases worldwide have shown the ugly side of the sport. Let's see who made the list as the world's most violent ultras.
Most Rowdy Fanbases In Soccer
Lazio — Italy
The "Irriducibilis," without a doubt, take the "prize" as Italy's rowdiest fanbase. They are known for their racist chants, displaying swastikas and makings fascist salutes from the stands. The ultras went as far as to hand flyers in the Stadio Olimpico, prohibiting women from sitting in the first 10 rows. But they can also get bloody: Some radicals took things out of control when they stabbed two Celtic fans before a Europe League match in Rome in 2019.
Millwall — England
The "Millwall Bushwackers" take the No. 1 spot of England's most crazy radical fanbase. Their craziness goes back to 1906, from stabbing, rioting to arson. Since 2016, 56 Millwall fans have been arrested over football violence, and 41 of them had weapons. Their last violent clash against Everton fans in an FA Cup match in 2019 is considered one of the most brutal in English football history.
Al-Masry — Egypt
When it comes to deadly fans, sadly, Al-Masry set the bar high. In 2012, after a rare historic victory against top-team Al-Ahly, Al-Masry ultras entered the field to attack rival players and fans. The consequences were devastating: 73 people died and a thousand were injured. It was so bad that it wasn't until 2018 when Egypt allowed spectators to attend games again.
Ferencváros — Hungary
The Ferencváros ultras are Hungary's most violent. They are known for their radical political views, racism and violence. They even scared the heck out of the super rowdy Millwall "Bushwackers" hooligans after they stabbed four fans when they played a UEFA Cup game in 2004. The stabbing didn't end there. In 2017, they were hit with an $11,000 fine and partial stadium closure after a fan was stabbed in Hungary's first football knife attack ever. The brawl left many injured fans with cuts and fractures.
Since the club has implemented security screens to buy tickets, fans need to fill forms, provide biometrics and photos.
Galatasaray — Turkey
There is a reason why, when visiting the Turk Telecom Arena, teams are received with a "Welcome to Hell" banner. Turkey's most thuggish fanbase can make any opposing team feel like if they are actually in hell. When Manchester United went to Istanbul to play against Galatasaray for a Champions League match in 1993, hell broke loose. 164 Red Devils fans ended up injured, in prison, and most didn't even make it to the game. Years later, in 2000, two British fans were killed by Galatasaray ultras after they were attacked with machetes on the eve of a UEFA Cup game against Leeds.
Fenerbahçe — Turkey
Istanbul-based like Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe has more in common with their neighbors: crazy rowdy ultras. When they play derbies, the situation sometimes gets out of control with police using shields to protect players, pepper spray to disperse fans. In a match against Galatasaray in 2018, Ferenbahçe hooligans rioted across Istanbul, setting police cars on fire and attacking fans for wearing Galatasaray shirts.
Red Stars (Crvena Zvezda) — Serbia
The Red Stars Ultra "Delije" are the only European club team in history to have started a war. Like, a real war. It all went down in 1990, the "Dinamo Zagreb-Red Star Belgrade riot" in Croatia. The Red Stars ultras made their way into the Dinamo fans area and attacked them with torn seats; a violent brawl erupted on the pitch between ultras, police and even players, leaving 60 people injured. They even set the stadium on fire. The riot is credited to have helped start the Croatian War of Independence.
The violence didn't end there. When the "Delijes" play the Belgrade derby against Partizan Belgrade, violence is just around the corner.
River Plate — Argentina
River Plate's ultras are known as "Los Borrachos del Tablón," and they share the No. 1 spot as Argentina's most thuggish fanbase with Boca Juniors. This "barra brava" is more than just football-related violence. They have leaders and factions who struggle for power and are more like a criminal organization than violent fans. Throughout the years, many key members have been murdered. They also do the "normal" hooligan kinds of stuff: rioting, attacking and killing opposing fans, attacking players and even their own team and stadium.
Their last big scandal was back in 2018 when the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors was suspended and eventually was relocated to Madrid. River's ultras attacked the Boca's players' bus, injuring many of them; Buenos Aires was in chaos and a real war zone between ultras and the army.
Boca Juniors — Argentina
Boca Juniors' ultras are better known as "La 12." They are River Plate's neighbors and most-hated rivals. Members of "La 12" have been involved in money laundering, shootings, brawls, stabbing, looting, murder and robbery. Just as "Los Borrachos del Tablón," Boca's ultras also have leaders who resemble more a mafia organization than a fan club.
Member of "La 12" are so feared that after relocating the 2018 Copa Libertadores final to the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid, an infamous Boca's ultra was deported from the airport as soon as he landed in Spain.
PAOK — Greece
PAOK Thessaloniki's ultras are Greece's most feared. Their thuggish behavior involves brawling, attacking fans and players, rioting, murder, looting and detonating fireworks and stun grenades in the visitor's tunnel. But not only do the ultras behave like hooligans! In 2018, the team's owner, Ivan Savvidis, ran onto the pitch with a holstered pistol on his hip. Savvidis was held back as he tried to get the gun to confront the referee over a goal.