Saturday, 21 September 2013

In For A Nasty Shock

There have been a proliferation of books by former and current soccer hooligans and their "firms" as they are known as.  Many of them have identifying names, such as Cardiff`s Soul Crew, West Ham`s Inter City Firm(ICF), Birmingham`s Zulus.  Leeds have the Inter City Crew(ICC) and Bradford have "The Ointment", and there has been intense rivalry between these close clubs and also Huddersfield.  The big moment for "The Ointment" in regards to the Leeds firm, came in 1986, when they clashed in a cup match at Odsal Stadium.  This Rugby stadium was being used by Bradford City following the terrible fire the year before that claimed 56 lives.  What went down that day?

    Many of the Bradford firm were gathered at the Red Ginn pub in West Bowling, about a mile or so away from the ground, when the landlord of the Red Ginn received a call from one of the top men of the ICC, asking what strength the local team had.  The landlord told the caller "You are in for a nasty shock".  When the Leeds firm arrived , from Ripley Street to the main road from the city centre, Manchester Road, there was carnage as fighting broke out all along Manchester Road.  The mighty Leeds firm did indeed get "a nasty shock" as they were run off.  This ruckus still lives on in many who took part, but it takes a bit of understanding as to why many men want to get involved in such violence.  I asked one former top man of "The Ointment" what was it that appealed to them?  He said that it was all like minded people who simply like to have a big punch up.  Many skirmishes are pre-arranged and some get to know men from other firms and friendships do form.  I did ask this man whom he thought was the top soccer firm and without hesitation, he said West Ham.  He also added that every firm has come unstuck at some point, though some firms like to boast that they have never been turned over.  My source says that most of the "hooligan" books are pretty honest, but not all.  It has never been my thing, and I do admit I am not a fighter, but I do like to know about motivations behind events.