There are two Arsenal hooligan firms, named ‘The Gooners’ (a mutation of the club’s nickname, The Gunners) and ‘The Herd’.
The Gooners were a violent football hooligan firm mainly active in 1980’s. However, the name is now used by most Arsenal supporters and not Arsenal hooligans, who now consider themselves to be ‘Gooners’.
The Herd is one of the Arsenal firms and was mainly active between the late 1970s and early 1990s, although it still exists today but prefers to stay undercover. The Herd are a violent football hooligan firm and have the distinctive war-cry E-I-E. The main rivals of The Herd in the 80s and in the present day are West Ham’s I.C.F, Tottenham Hotspur’s ‘Yid Army’, Chelsea’s ‘Headhunters’ and Millwall’s F-Troop (later known as the ‘Millwall Bushwackers’). Although The Herd was mainly considered to be a violent firm, a few members were not physically violent. Dainton Connell (aka Denton ‘The Bear’ Connell) was considered a folk hero by many Arsenal fans but died in a car crash in 2007, where 3000 mourners attended his funeral. The Herd’s two most notorious clashes were with Millwall fans at Highbury in 1988 and with Galatasaray fans in City Hall Square, Copenhagen in 2000.
Battle of Copenhagen
The 2000 UEFA Cup Final Riots, also known as the Battle of Copenhagen, were a series of riots in City Hall Square in Copenhagen, Denmark, between fans of English football team Arsenal and Turkish side Galatasaray around the 2000 UEFA Cup Final on 17 May 2000. The scuffles, in which four people were stabbed, also involved fans from other clubs and were viewed by the media as part of a retaliation for the killing of two Leeds United fans by Galatasaray supporters the month before.
The events of the day started early in the morning when skirmishes broke out in a bar, which led to an Arsenal fan being stabbed. Later in the day, Galatasaray fans occupied City Hall Square before heading towards Arsenal fans in bars nearby. The Galatasaray fans were later attacked from behind by members of British hooligan firms seeking revenge for the Istanbul stabbings. Despite deploying 2,000 officers to the area and having prior warning of potential trouble, the police were unable to control the riot until they fired tear gas at the rioters. This led to 19 injuries, including 4 stabbings, and 60 arrests with similar events occurring in England and Turkey in the aftermath of the riots.
The riots were condemned by football authorities with threats of expulsion of national football teams from European competition being given out if similar events happened again. The Danish police also were criticised for their handling of the riots.