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4.3 out of 5 stars
Running with the Firm
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 26 January 2014
In the saturated hoolie book market one which links the infamous Millwall Bushwhackers and an undercover police operation should make for a rollercoaster of a read. Unfortunately this book is duller than a whack on the head with a Millwall brick.

The reason for this is that contrary to the blurb the author didn't infiltrate Millwalls main firm. He "infiltrated" guys who were, at best, on the periphery of the scene. Consequently this slim book is hugely padded out with tedious descriptions of Met "office politics",the authors lovelife , countless run of the mill conversations in South London boozers, and trips to games where nothing happens !

The fact that the two year operation ended with no arrests shows , that like the time spent reading this book, it was a wasted exercise. The authors assertion that after the operation ended he has continued to attend Millwall matches over the subsequent twenty five years stretches the tales credibility even further. Its naïve to believe that he would have been able to continue to turn up at the Den / new Den if he had infiltrated the clubs hooligan element to the extent he suggests.

Most tellingly the book contains a prominent disclaimer that names, places, dates, sequences or the details of events have been changed. Cynics might suggest that this gave the author carte blanche to make up whatever he wanted and avoid any consequences?

I cant believe that this book would be of interest to any current serving police officers, except perhaps the fraud squad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 27 August 2014
A very good book, well written and interesting throughout, you get a real sense of authenticity, as the book does not become fat fetched or unbelievable in any way. I believe football fans will gain a good repot with the protagonist throughout, and find the other characters in the book very intriguing. One fault I could pick is that of the relationship between James and his partner, at times, goes round in circles. The ending may be a bit of an anticlimax but that is one of the things I find genuine about the book, it didn't sacrifice the authenticity of the storey by manifesting a 'big blowout'.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 August 2013
I've seen I.D. but I obviously didn't expect the book to be as dramatised.

What I did find though that it was very repetitive throughout the book and there were a couple of occasions when I had to re-check what I was reading as I'd read almost the exact same sentence/paragraph a few pages before. I completely respect that this is non-fiction, so the author can't make something happen that didn't but it was also quite a common theme that you got built up for something to happen, only for nothing really to happen. It makes the book a real "can't put downer", but it's more in the hope that something is going to happen rather than you just can't stop reading. The fact that there's 37 chapters in roughly 330 pages probably gives a good idea how briefly things are touched upon through the book

The best comparison I can give is that anyone who's read the biography of a young footballer will recognise the similar style of writing. There's little back stories that pad it out and give you a nice insight, but they're short and once you get to the end of that fragment it's often never referred to again. Then the other part being that there's only so many times you can read about the almost identical build up to a match-day without it becoming a little tedious.

It was interesting to see how the operation was given such poor back up and resources compared to other areas and cities and also (as portrayed in the book) how out of touch the higher ranking officials and, to an extent, regular uniformed officers, were from what was actually occurring on the streets and stands. But, overall, at the end of it I felt quite deflated by it.
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on 26 September 2014
Not quite running with the firm more of a casual jog with some lads from the pub. I.D was a great film (back then) and although I'm sure "infiltrating" hooligans is a scary part of the job sadly the book didn't read like this. There is a lot of build up for nothing and there is no mention of any serious trouble. The love story (if you can call it that) was pointless and there really isn't anything to it, a pretty girl says hello to you, hardly Mills and Boon. With all due respect the author seems to get more credibility because it was Millwall and he's living off their reputation.

I bought the book because I was fed up of all the same hooligan books that do the rounds. If knocking about with lads that like beer, watching football and get a little bit rowdy makes you an undercover policeman then most of us who read this will qualify. I read it on holiday which is just as well otherwise I may have given up. This is deffo a book for the new breed of Stone Island wearing Danny Dyer type kids you see knocking around chip shops outside grounds these days. if you have the time get the book if you don't watch the film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2015
This novel based on true facts is an ok read. The subject matter is interesting, but there are other books about football hooliganism which are far superior . The author appears to have delusions of grandeur; the book is not particularly well written and it becomes rather boring and repetitive. Good value though, as it was part of the three paperbacks for a tenner offer. Bargain!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 October 2013
Without wanting to sound like the latest Cass Pennant "I was there" during the period this book is set in & was a regular home & away,drinking in The Fox (The Puffin in this book) most match days.One of the few things the book gets spot on is the tough characters that used to drink there especially on a Saturday.

Whilst their maybe an element of truth in some of the authors claims I have yet to meet anyone who was an active Millwall member at the time who recognizes Mr Bannon!

Whilst some of the events did happen,West Ham smashing the pubs in New Cross (Just look on You Tube) I certainly can't remember Bannon being led around the pitch at Highbury after taking the North Bank in the FAC as he claims & our away match at Leeds in our promotion season was a night game not a Saturday!!

Fair play to the bloke for making money on the strength of this rubbish but please don't be naive enough to believe a story from someone who made a living telling lies!

If you haven't seen the film go & buy it instead of wasting your money on the book, but enjoy it for what it is a great work of FICTION!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 17 October 2014
I would recommend this read to anybody out there no matter what their interest is, this book is a exceptional good read from start to finish. Having worked in covert operations myself I can relate to some extent of the feelings and emotional roller coaster ride that this book has to offer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 24 October 2013
If your one of the lads and had the crack in the 70s,80s you will really enjoy this book. Reminds you every away game there could be trouble, going places like Middlesbrough and West Ham where you never got the welcome you get these days, different types of supporters back then. Enjoyable
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2013
A breath taking look into the life of an under cover officer, you can feel the tension rise as Saturday comes, running with one of the most notorious firms in the country knowing your cover could be blown any minute, if you love football your gonna love this book
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on 26 June 2014
I'd seen the film and enjoyed it and thought this would give me a lot more insight and detail into the workings of the undercover police during the hooligan era. Although a good read I felt as though the author was holding something back or missing finer details out in parts, maybe it is classified, who knows but I thought it could have dealt with the subject matter in greater detail. The support these guys got, or rather didn't get was comical at times and makes you wonder how they got away with it for 2 years, a testament to the guys willingness and determination I suppose. Overall a decent read but monotonous in parts, felt like the book was more about drinking in their locals than hoolaginsm, but suppose that was a major part of that culture at the time.
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