Al Jazeera World

Whitehawk’s Football Ultras

The fans at a small, non-league English football club use their fandom to oppose all forms of injustice.

Hardly anyone outside Brighton in southeast England has ever heard of Whitehawk Football Club. But this small, non-league club makes a lot of noise.

Whitehawk is a semi-professional club on an underprivileged housing estate in the Brighton suburbs since the 1930s. Its most loyal fans, the Whitehawk Ultras, chant loudly on the terraces, opposing racism, sexism and violence, and think of their support for the Hawks as the opposite end of the football spectrum from the commercial world of the English Premier League and the global game.

It is a club where refugees are made welcome and there is a collection for a local food bank as fans enter the ground. Supporters also fought a fierce boardroom battle in 2015 against plans to change the club name to Brighton City. They said it would betray the club’s identity and roots in the local, working-class community – and they won.