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During the 1980s Margaret Thatcher’s government attempted to reduce the economic power of the industrial working class by legislating against the trade unions and defeating the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike. At the time English football was an important part of male working-class culture, particularly for northern industrial workers and was under attack from the Government and Press over football hooliganism. It has often been argued that Thatcher’s trade union policies were designed to break the economic power of the industrial working class (Young, 1993, Richards 1996). If, through comparison, a link between this policy and the treatment of football supporters is found it will determine whether this conflict had a cultural aspect. Scholars such as Giulianotti (1985) and McArdle (2000) have anecdotally made this link but there has not been sufficient analysis of the comparison. Waiton (2012, 2014) also references the similarities in Thatcher’s description of football fans and strikers with the IRA but does not interrogate this in depth. This paper will address this and focus on the Government and press treatment of football and trade unions and assess whether the Government was seeking to bind the two issues together.

Tom Campbell is a maths teacher at the UCL Academy in North London, he completed his masters in history at Durham University for which he won the Richie Prize prize. Despite pursuing a career in education he has kept his hand in the sports history gamen and has spoken at various conferences over the last 3 years on topics such as the interaction between racism and boxing in regency England, the importance of memory in football fandom, the development of football stadia and the history of football hooliganism. He recently published 'The enemy within' football hooliganism and the miners' strike' in Sport in History which he also spoke on at last summers' BSSH conference.

Please note that registration for this seminar will close 24 hours in advance so that the seminar convenors can distribute the meeting details to registered attendees.

All welcome- this seminar is free to attend, but advance registration is required.