In Pictures - Gullit captains Holland in 1988 final

With Holland missing out on the 2016 European Championship, it’s time for fans of Dutch football to reflect on the good times of the past. In 1988 an impressively mustachioed Ruud Gullit captained the Dutch national team to victory at Euro 1988. The powerful forward might have expected to be the star of that team, but found himself outshone by Marco van Basten. Gullit contented himself to play in the service of his team, fully living up to his captaincy, but did produce one crucial goal when he opened the score in the final against the Soviet Union.

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Gullit and his teammates lining up before the match

Hooliganism makes it to the big stage

Football vandalism has a surprisingly long history, but modern hooliganism is the product of the England of the 1970’s, when crime and violence were rife around football games. The rest of Europe soon found itself introduced to the phenomenon, as British teams travelled to the continent for European cup ties. As authorities struggled to get hooliganism under control, crowd violence led to suspensions from European competition for Leeds United in 1975 and Manchester United in 1977. The World Cups and European Championships held during the decade however, were spared the new violent fan culture. The reason was simple: England had failed to qualify for every major tournament since the 1970 World Cup.

At Euro 1980 England was present for the first time since football hooliganism had exploded into public consciousness. The England team, featuring the likes of Kevin Keegan, Ray Wilkins, Trevor Brooking and Tony Woodcock, was widely counted amongst the favorites. English clubs had won the European Cup four years running, with Liverpool and Nottingham Forest both winning it twice. There was every reason then, to assume that English fans would travel to support their team en masse. About 4500 supporters obtained tickets for England’s first game, in Turin against Belgium, through official channels. But in fact about 8000 Englishmen descended upon Turin and the surrounding area. Any hopes that it might be a peaceful affair soon evaporated as numerous violent confrontations between English fans on the one hand, and Italian fans or police on the other, marred the run up to the game.