Ultras-Tifo : Hi Bob! First introduce yourself, please!
Bob: Ey up! I’m 21, and together with 3 others, help run the Jorvik Reds, and was one of the founder members when the idea for the group first came about.
UT: Tell us a bit of the history of your group.
Bob: The group was formed in October 2004, but it was about 5 months later until our first real display was carried out. I’d long had an interest in the ultra scene, mainly brought about sue to the Serie A games that used to get televised on Channel 4 on British t.v., and wanted to do something at the club I’ve supported all my life.
Before the Jorvik Reds, me and a few mates would occasionally bring a load of balloons to games, or make lots of confetti, but nothing organised, and we didn’t go by a group name. The JR was the idea of mine and another York fan also interested in this way of support, and after discussing it for a while and coming up with ideas, we launched the group and appealed for other like minded fans to come forward, which a few did.
Our first display was streamers at a televised away game at Halifax, and this was really the start of the group, as people began to talk about us and wanted to know more.
Today we have about 10 regular members, with the launch of a membership scheme planned for some time in the not to distant future, in order to help the JR progress.
York is a very famous City in terms of its history, and that is something we wanted to touch upon when deciding on a group name, because just as we are proud of our football club, we are proud of our City and it’s great past. The ‘Reds’ part is straight forward, as that is the colour the team play in, but ‘Jorvik’ is the name the Vikings gave to the City when they invaded in 866.
UT: Are there any other groups at York City ?
Bob: There are no others groups at York, and that is the way it will probably always be, as our average crowd is only 2,800, so there is not much need for another group, unless of course they were situated in a different section of the ground.
UT: Does your group have any political tendences ?
Bob: The group as a whole has no political stance, as we don’t see what place politics have in the game.
UT: Tell us a bit of the whole scene of York City and the general organisation (Awaygames, etc.)
Bob: The Jorvik Reds don’t have their own away travel as there are plenty of existing methods of traveling to games, with trains being the most popular for a day out, like with most English fans.
York has a strong traveling support, and last season had the highest average away following in the Conference of around 440, which isn’t bad going when you consider the majority of our games are against teams in the south of England.
Our largest traveling support was 1,776 for the derby game against Scarborough.
Before and after games, like a large amount of fans at clubs all over the U.K., we go for a few drinks. This is something I don’t ever see changing over here, as it is part of our culture, and standing in a ground 1 or 2 hours before kick off sober, just wouldn’t feel right!
UT: Is your group influenced by other scenes or countries like Italy ?
Bob: I think like a lot of groups, it is hard not to be influenced by Italy! They are the reason I first had an interest in the scene, and the scene over there is both impressive and inspiring. I’m also a fan of the scene in Argentina, just because it looks so mental!
UT: Who are your enemies? If you have them
Bob: The group doesn’t have any enemies at the moment, but like any team we have our local rivals, ours being Scarborough, Doncaster, Hull etc…
UT: Could you explain the development of the Ultra movement in England ?
Bob: The scene is still in its very early stages, and has been going 2 years at most, so as each year goes by, I expect it will improve, and hopefully new groups will emerge from clubs who don’t currently have one.
My main hope for the scene in England is that as the inevitable emergence of new groups comes about, and with existing groups progressing, the clubs and authorities will start to work with us all better, and see that we are a positive thing for not only our clubs, but the game as a whole.
All we can do in the time being is keep working with them, show that we can be trusted, then hopefully they will reward that trust by giving us a bit more freedom.
UT: Is your group violent ?
Bob: No. We are separate from the casuals, and always will be. We have no interest in violence, just the support of our team. Things are different in that respect to many clubs in Europe.
UT: How much is your influence in the club ?
Bob: We don’t hold any influence over the club, and we wouldn’t want too. We are there to support the team, we don’t want to become ‘uber fans’ and try and put our weight about. The main thing, like at any club, is that fans as individuals or as a whole are listened too. That doesn’t always happen, but it’s not our place, as a group atleast, to act on behalf of all York supporters.
UT: Have you to do with repression by the government or the police?
Bob: The main battle in England is against the dreaded health and safety laws. While we appreciate a lot of rules are there to ensure fans safety, an awful lot of it is common sense, and unfortunately you now have a situation in England where fans can be ejected from a ground for nothing more than standing up. It does tend to depend on where you are, as some club stewards are more helpful than others, but on the whole, the way fans gets treated is often nothing short of disgraceful. There can’t be many things in life where paying customers get treat with such contempt like they do in football grounds.
UT: What are your future plans?
Bob: On the display front, we are already working on ‘projects’ for next season, so all I can say is, watch this space!
We are also looking to start a membership scheme, as we see that as vital to the groups progression.
UT: What is your opinion of the Ultramovement in Europe, which scene are in your view the best and which scene have a good development?
Bob: I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of the scene and only base my opinions on the pictures I see, but I think the movement in Europe is super. I couldn’t pick a scene as the best, as there are groups from different countries who I like, rather than just one. My personal favourites from a few countries are PSG, Marseille, AC Milan (before the break-up of FDL, although i’m taking a keen interest in the situation there to see what happens with the GU), Rapid Vienna, Legia Warsaw, and many others, just too many to name!
UT: It would be great if you could say one finalsentence to the user:
Bob: Support your club through thick and thin. If the bad times are more often than not, success will be even more enjoyable knowing you stuck by them when times were hard .
Thank you Bob!
(This interview was done in June 2006)