The numbers attending its so-called rallies, and rocking up at its alleged protests, have been steadily diminishing. Its organisation has verged on the farcical. Yet the Football Lads Alliance, or its Democratic Football Lads Alliance offshoot, has kept on providing opportunities for the Wall of Gammon (tm) to make fools of themselves.
Yesterday brought the latest chapter in the downfall of the movement, as the DFLA decided to commemorate the anniversary of the Manchester Arena bombing. To this end, less than a thousand of its adherents assembled for a march which wound its way from All Saints Park, routed through the city centre, and ended at the Castlefield Bowl.
However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, those marching showed little sign of respect for the memory of those killed and injured last year, as the cheap beer flowed and the gathering became hijacked by those more intent on showing their loyalty to Stephen Yaxley Lennon, who styles himself Tommy Robinson.
Lennon’s pseudonym was chanted by marchers, and was even chanted during the minute’s silence. The Daily Star told its readers “Members of the so-called Democratic Football Lad's Alliance marched and demonstrated in the city, 11 days after the first anniversary of the Manchester Arena terror attack … Many marchers shouted in support of Robinson, who was sentenced this week to 13 months at HMP Hull for contempt of court after filming himself outside a trial in Leeds Crown Court”.
But it wasn’t about showing respect. It was about making trouble. Jo Phillips observed “Seen 3 arrests so far on the #DFLA streams This guy threw a flare at the police and passers by and was very angry about something 1 guy was arrested whilst racially abusing a passer by and getting aggro with the police Another guy - dunno why”.
Far Right Watch agreed: “We've heard of total 9 arrests (we saw four) but possible some may have been de-arrested later. It's a good tactic used by Police, when used correctly”. And as for respecting the Arena bombing victims, Ms Phillips had bad news: “So they say they aren't EDL but guess what they sing? ‘Whose streets? Our streets’ (although most are not from Manchester given how bemused they are by where they are) ‘Your not English anymore’ ‘Tommy, Tommy Robinson’ and ‘E, E, EDL’”.
Far Right Watch has the true nature of the march figured out. “#DFLA's drunken stroll in #Manchester ... This guy with his customised Help for Heroes shirt. Nice. Hospital porter, we're told. Note : HfH have officially disowned Yaxley - and everything he stands for”.
There was more. “And, thugs doing what thugs do ... getting drunk, causing trouble. Nothing political about this event. Just a day out for thugs”. Some of the Twitter outpourings from the Wall of Gammon (tm) have been reported to GMP.
The Football Lads Alliance, whichever branch of it is concerned, was always going to have that problem - thugs wanting an excuse to go on the lash and cause trouble. They won’t get Lennon out of jail. They won’t help the cause of grooming victims. But they will, ultimately, get themselves even more extensive criminal records. No change there, then.