Football violence website collapses

A sinister website for hooligans targeting PNE supporters has been taken off the Internet.

The Evening Post revealed last week how thugs calling themselves North End fans were trying to set up a violent new "firm" by posting notes on the site's message board.

But the website run by Preston Youth Firm (PYF) has now collapsed and is no longer available.

The homepage carried pictures showing scenes of violence abroad and at home and a worrying image of a small child, with what appeared to be blood on his face, making crude hand gestures.

At the top of the page was an animated cartoon picture which showed a baby viciously kicking the badge of Burnley FC. Messages on the website spoke about fights before and after matches. They earmarked a number of fixtures next season for possible action, including those against rivals Burnley and newly promoted Wigan.

The Preston Youth Firm gang will now have to find alternative means of planning their violent meetings.

Hundreds of sites dedicated to so-called "causal culture" celebrate violence among football fans.

As well as PYF, other groups claiming to support Preston North End include the Preston Para Squad and the Preston Internet Nutters, who feature on a site called Real Football Hooligans.

University of Central Lancashire computer expert, Chris Casey, said it was easy for any fan with sinister motives to set up a website.

He said: "I would imagine that anybody with knowledge of how to work a word processor would be able to set up a basic website.

"There are companies around at the moment, for example Freeserve, who offer a package with a small amount of web space which would be enough for a simple site with text and pictures.

"It is certainly much easier now than it was several years ago.

"There is nobody as such to regulate websites, and one like this would almost be treated as similar to a newsletter."

Preston police football liaison officer PC Guy Nellany was unavailable for comment.

PNE chairman Derek Shaw condemned any websites used by fans to plan violence at football matches.