October 03, 2009

Southampton fans targeted in English Defence League recruitment drive

A far-right group is attempting to recruit Saints fans to its ranks, a Daily Echo investigation has uncovered.

The English Defence League (EDL) last month launched a recruitment drive in Southampton to enlist football fans to march against “Islamic extremism”. The league, whose demonstrations in London, Luton and Birmingham led to violence, has infiltrated supporter’s online forums and the terraces of St Mary’s Stadium. Concerned Saints bosses have condemned the group and brought it to the attention of Hampshire police, Southampton City Council, Hampshire FA and football’s antiracism campaign Kick it Out.

Southampton Itchen MP John Denham, who is in charge of promoting inter-faith harmony for the Government, last night branded the group “troublemakers” and said he was confident most fans would have nothing to do with them.

The Echo can reveal Saints this week ordered Facebook to remove the club’s crest from an EDL campaign group founded on the social networking website. By yesterday 175 people had signed up to the “Southampton FC branch of the EDL”, which claims it wants to peacefully protest against “militant Islam within our shores”.

Desperate to disassociate itself from the fringe group, Saints were last night seeking legal advice to have the name Southampton FC removed from the website page.

A Saints spokesman said: “Southampton Football Club wholeheartedly condemns this type of racist activity. We were made aware of this group, and immediately took the relevant steps to ensure that any implied affiliation was eradicated. Further to this, we have notified members of the club’s Racism Just Ain’t Saintly committee of our concerns, and asked that these are passed on to the Premier League and Football League to make other clubs aware of these activities. This is something the club will be monitoring in the future as it clearly conflicts with our principles of a united, cohesive and integrated community.”

The right-wing radicals, whose emblem is a St George’s Cross emblazoned on a shield, hit the headlines in recent months after they fought running battles with anti-fascists protesters.

Saints fans were first invited to join the newly formed group on September 17 by a local organiser who goes by the online name of “Bigtonsfc”. In a posting on the supporter’s website saintsweb.co.uk he said they were a “fast expanding” group who “have had enough of Muslim extremists being allowed to shout about murdering British people and ruining our soldiers’ homecomings”.

It sparked an online debate about the pros and cons of the league that has continued for the past two weeks, however most fans appeared to dismiss the approach.

On the EDL’s own website, members have discussed the desire to organise a demonstration in Southampton. One poster also said a “few Southampton lads” were going to march in a protest planned for Manchester next Saturday.

A spokesman for United Against Fascists, (UAF) which has clashed violently with the EDL over the past two months, described the league as a “threat” and said news that Southampton FC was being targeted was a “very worrying development”.

“They claim they are not racist, but all of the evidence points in the opposite direction. There is no doubt that these are a group of hooligans who have decided they are going to go round multiracial areas to stir up trouble and attack Muslims,” the spokesman said.

Southern Daily Echo


Anonymous said...

Surely we can outnumber the fash next Saturday in MCR, if antiracists are properly mobilised by email bulletin such as the LUnity newsletter,

Sarah P said...

The EDL need to be stopped next Saturday and taught a (non-violent) lesson which will make them cease their millitaristic actions.

Trade unionists, united faith groups (including Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist and Christian groups), Anarchists, socialists, gay and lesbian groups, and mainstream politicians need to gather in Manchester next saturday to provide a united front against these violent nazi bastards.

Gordon Brown might not give a fuck about Manchester's safety by refusing to ban the EDL's planned riot, so it's now up to the ordinary people of Manchester to say enough is enough (peacefully) next Saturday.

boothy said...

The National Front did the same thing in the 70s but they didn't have the internet.

Nowadays it is so much easier for neo-fascists like the EDL to infiltrate football when most white working and middle class supporters have broadband.

Anonymous said...

The EDL Casuals idea of "peaceful protest" involves bricks, bottles, boots, fists and Nazi salutes.

NewsHound said...



NewsHound said...



Anonymous said...

One of the the EDL's Founding Fascist Fathers Jeff Marsh is a 44-year-old convicted football hooligan from Barry, South Wales, Marsh is a Cardiff supporter and has been jailed three times for violence, including a two-year sentence for stabbing two Manchester United fans.

He will be visiting Manchester as part of the EDL protest, so hopefully anti-fash Man United fans will be weary that he likes to stab them.

NewsHound said...



Yet another merchandising opportunity for the BNP, as football once again becomes the playground of racists.

Anonymous said...

What is Kick It Out doing to mobilise opposition against the EDL?

billyblue said...

Big, big on-the-spot fines would be a brilliant way of the police to clamp down on football hooligans, racist or otherwise combined with ASBOS and travel orders to stop them touring the country causing riots.

If EDL troublemakers were fined £5000 each, they would soon leave the organisation before they landed into debt and their properties were repossessed.

Sadly thanks to Hollywood, it's cool to be a football hooligan, once again!

This must be nipped in the bud with draconian fines!

sm@lljon said...

How come Facebook is a haven for fascist groups like the EDL, BNP and the KKK?

beezneez said...

Nottingham Stop The BNP Campaign against the EDL's planned march in Nottingham on the 7th of November: -


smashtheedl said...

The best anti-EDL quote comes from the Tenpercent blog: -

While EDL fronts are at pains to claim non racism and that they are not fascist, whether it is misdirecting expediency or personal denial;

"If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a fucking duck!"

XMen said...

Wander if all the non-chain bars in Piccadilly will shut next Saturday?????

The Wetherspoons in Picadilly Gardens will be where the EDL thugs will drink before the fight, which I have been told will now be put back until 5pm.

Should be easy for Antifa to pop in there to keep the EDL thugs monitored.

Swann said...

Sadly the far right are far more internet savvy than most other people thus they have an advantage in posting troll propaganda on the internet, pretending that their support is far greater than the truth in reality.

AA said...

Wetherpsoons do the cheapest beer, so I can understand why the EDL Casuals football hooligan army of pissheads have arranged to meet there.

Toitle said...

Love the fact that some of the EDL morons wear that stupid uniform with the badge, which makes them easy to spot a mile-off.

I know where that Wetherspoons is, indeed!

Anonymous said...

The England match is now not going to be on live telly, which means that as Wetherspoons don't show the footie, it won't make a difference.

Explains a lot.

Jamie The Antifascist said...

The amount of hype surrounding next saturday's protests is growing hugely by the day. At the moment is seems as though we're gearing up for this generation's version of the battle of cable street!

Anonymous said...

Wetherspoons Piccadilly normally have two doorstaff on the door when the football is on, which won't be enough when it all kicks off!