WHEN football hooliganism was at its peak, culminating in the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, the game appeared to have played into the hands of the British government. Repeated incidents during the 1970s and 1980s meant football was already considered to be a pastime for louts, an outlet for working class yobbery. The government, led by Margaret Thatcher, had no interest in the value of the world’s most popular sport. Consequenly, at the time, any reasonable football follower would be slightly embarrassed about being a fan or a regular visitor to matches as you were considered to be an undesirable species, capable of violence and foul language. Reality Not many celebrities, politicans or members of the royal family would admit to being vaguely interested.…