By Greg Mockos

This is part two of a five part series about different styles of supporter culture from around the world.  If you missed part one on the English style of support, you can get caught up here.

The Continental European Style

The continental European style emerged slightly after the English style and added several components to supporter groups. Initially the continental European style was very similar to the English style, but traveling support had yet to catch on mainly due to the difficulty of travel in most European countries due to under developed rail systems. This changed drastically in the 50s and 60s as the infrastructure in European countries was vastly improved after the war. These improvements allowed for easier travel and shorter travel times resulting in growing away supporter travel.

The single largest contribution that the continental European style brought to supporter groups was the need for a more structure organization as the introduction of capo led-chants and tifo require coordination and management. These two components led to groups that had highly developed structure with defined roles for individuals. This process began in the 60s. The emergence of tifo in the continental European style occurred in the late 60s and early 70s as politics made their way into football. It is no secret that groups in most European countries had political ties- either to the left or the right. This is the direct consequence of the thesis stated at the beginning of this article, meaning that supporter groups in the 70s largely aligned themselves politically as a result of the predominant political trends in their respective countries, regions, or cities. Tifo emerged as way to communicate between rival groups and political factions within groups. At this point in time it is when you see the first rail banners and text banners emerge in the European terraces, better known as curves (from the Italian word “curva” which means round end of stadium where the supporter groups congregates in the cheap seats). Tifo was a communication tool initially between supporter groups and then evolved into somewhat of an art form with the goal of either demoralizing the rival supporters/team or inspiring the home team.

The Three Types of Supporter Style

By Greg Mockos

Football support is a global phenomenon whose expression deeply reflects the culture in the country, region, or even city the supported football club is located. Football support, as intended in this article, is defined as the collection of actions that supporters do on any given game day as part of an organized group of individuals. This includes chanting, singing, pogoing, waving flags, tifo, and anything that elevates your beloved team’s performance on the field. How supporter groups around the world enact each one of those actions is greatly determined by the local culture. This point would lead to say that, since there are tens of thousands of football clubs around the world, then there ought to be tens of thousands of supporting styles. This is largely true as each supporter group has its own ways of supporting and its own idiosyncrasies. However, supporting styles can be clumped generally into categories of styles. There are three major established styles of support: the English style, the continental European style, and the South American style. Most groups, whether they fall into the aforementioned regions or not, largely follow these styles or mimic certain components of each style. Over the next few weeks we're going to discuss each style type, starting today with the English style.