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Category > History > Page Uploaded: 01/04/15

Casuals, a UK youth culture, popularise Adidas trainers

In the late 1970's and early 1980's, the popularity of Adidas trainers was particularly strong with urban youth subcultures in the UK: one of these subcultures was known as 'casuals'. The 'casual' subculture is generally believed to have been formed on the terraces of football clubs: initially in Liverpool and Manchester, and then spread to the football clubs of most British cities and towns. The most popular brand of trainers worn by 'casuals' were Adidas sneakers, most prominent of which were: Adidas SL 72, Adidas Beckenbauer, Adidas Hamburg, Adidas Handball, Adidas Superstar, Adidas Busenitz, Adidas Bamba, Adidas City Series, Adidas Island Series, Adidas Samba, Adidas Stan Smith, and Adidas Gazelles.

Awaydays movie, charting the rise of the first casual football firm, who were located in tranmere near Liverpool. The Firm 2009 movie, based on a West Ham United football firm, probably based on the exploits of the Under Fives, and centers on altercations with the Millwall football firm and Portsmouth's football firm.

In the 1970's, gangs of young football fans - sometimes termed hooligans - had close cropped hair, and wore dr martins boots, flared trousers, and tied scarves around their wrists. In the early 1980's, fans in Liverpool and Manchester ditched the 'bootboy' image and began to wear sports brands, usually: Fila, Adidas, Tacchini and Diadora. It is believed that fans from Liverpool FC were the first to adopt the casual fashion style: flick hair and trainers. Liverpool FC was the most successful British football club of the era and regularly traveled to Europe to compete in European cup matches. Liverpool fans bought and 'liberated' fashion from the European countries that they visited.

To begin with, fans from other clubs, accustomised to the more aggressive 'bootboy' uniform, thought the appearance of the 'casuals' was effeminate, but, by 1985, virtually every football club in England, Wales and Scotland had a firm/gang/mob of 'casuals'. It would be inaccurate to state that every 'casual' was a member of a football hooligan mob, but a good number of them were. Wearing casual clothes initially helped football hooligans to evade the police: who were still looking for the 'bootboys', with their dr martin boots and close cropped haircuts.

From the early 1980's to the present day, UK football firms have generally remained as 'casuals' and wear similar fashion to the original casuals of the 1980's. However, the difference is that the police now recognise these groups by the clothes they wear. The casual subculture still exists in the United Kingdom - primarily spearheaded by members of football firms - and a 'Casuals United' organisation was formed in 2009. The movie 'The Firm' (2009), pictured above right, is based upon a casual football 'firm', and members of the 'firm' refer to themselves as "casuals"; whether this would have been the case in the 1980's is debatable.