It’s a British made documentary inspired by the hit series Real Football Factories, which was about UK soccer hooligans and what the government did about it at the end of the 1980s.
The Real Football Factories International looks at football ultras, or “firms” as we call then in Britain, in many different countries, such as Brazil, Russia and many more. But the best episode is the one about Poland, made a couple of winters ago at the height of a resurgence of football related violence here. People were dieing.
It captures some of the most amazing footage of football violence - and the reasons why these guys do this stuff - I have ever seen. The central section of the film, about the rivalry between the teams from Krakow, Wisla and Cracovia, is breathtaking. The documentary has since become a cult success in the many countries that it has been broadcast.
At this point I should say that I had a hand in making the film. The producers got in touch with me via this blog, actually, and asked for help in getting contacts, etc. I also met the team in the Holiday Inn in Warsaw just after they spent an amazing couple of days with the hooligans of Krakow. They asked me lots of questions about how the UK got rid of its hooligan problem and I answered them as best I could.
They also interviewed many other people for the final “analysis” section of the film. The chairman of Legia was one. So was Simon Mol, who was then prominent in the “Kick racism out of football” campaign in Poland.
Unfortunately, just weeks before the broadcast premier of the documentary, Simon Mol was arrested for his now infamous behaviour. I then got an anxious email from the producers of the film: is Mol a kosher person as a “talking head”? I had to tell then that, in the present circumstances, he was not.
So, for that reason, or maybe for reasons of art - the footage of the Wisla/Cracovia game is so amazing and central to the film that they needed little extra - they cut Mol from the programme and many other ‘talking heads’. Except one.
See the rather entertaining documentary here (it‘s on youtube so split into five different parts). And I promise you that, although the British presenter is an actor, everything you see is how it happened. No set ups.