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Service Crew: The Inside Story of Leeds United's Hooligan Gangs

Service Crew: The Inside Story of Leeds United's Hooligan Gangs [Kindle Edition]

Caroline Gall
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Explosive, violent and unmissable.'

A new book chronicling the exploits of one of the most infamous hooligan gangs of them all.
-- Yorkshire Post

Product Description

Paris, 1975; Chelsea, 1984; Birmingham, 1985; Bradford, 1986; Bournemouth, 1990. Many of the most shocking incidents in British football history have involved the hooligan followers of one club: Leeds United. For 40 years they have run riot across the country, punching their way to international notoriety, yet they have remained the most secretive of all mobs.

Journalist Caroline Gall spent two years interviewing participants from several generations to piece together the first ever history of the gangs, from the Shipley Skins to the youths of the present day.

The apex of this hooligan army was the Service Crew, who adopted their name from the service trains they used instead of the heavily policed 'specials'. They emerged as the casual era dawned and, against the violent backdrop of the Miners' Strike, quickly became feared by their terrace foes. The police eventually launched Operation Wild Boar to take down the ringleaders, only to convict a small number of relative fringe players.

Service Crew examines racism at Leeds, chronicles some of the worst incidents of football-related disorder in modern times, and charts the effects of drugs and the rave scene on the hooligans. It is the definitive story of football's most vilified fans.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is very poor indeed. As other reviewers have said it skips wildly from one era to another. I have read countless books on football violence but this is easily the dullest and most disjointed. I thought a serious account of one of the country's most notorious football firms would be told but instead the book is a thousand snippets of confrontations that bare little relation to one another save the fact that football violence is involved. The development of the gangs is barely touched upon.

Instead of trying to piece together the actual story of the gangs all it contains is a simple mish mash of accounts of fights without any apparent flow whatsoever. One Leeds fans description of an incident is followed by another's account of some other fight at an unrelated match, and so on and on and on.

The modern era is narrowed down to a few chapters and one of the most notorious occasions (in Istanbul in the UEFA Cup a few years ago where Leeds fans were ambushed and murdered) is inexplicably limited to roughly half a page. Instead more of the football club's on pitch performances and boardroom errors are highlighted.

Seriously - avoid this book. It's appalling! I hate to think what the Leeds firm members who contributed to this must think.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Absolute rubbish - avoid 26 Sep 2012
If you were hoping for any sort of insight into the world of hooliganism then forget it.
As poor a book as i have ever read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars one sided 27 Oct 2011
I bought the leeds service crew book after reading the reviews on amazon some were good some were bad reviews but a gave it ago and to be honest i have to agree with the bad reviews it is very one sided they seem to never lost a battle with other firms home or away . There is some good bits to the book some intresting points but overall i thought it was very poor and i have read a lot of these books but this is only my opinion.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty Poor 14 Jan 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
From a personal point of view this book was a huge disappointment. I did get through it but just found the whole thing ill thought out and superficial. A huge surprise to read that the author is supposedly a journalist, there seems to have been precious little research carried out other than regurgitating banal anecdotes. On the same page you could read about an incident in 1987 quickly followed by one in 1993 and the we could be back in 1978!

The level of stuff which made it into the book really suggests to me she was scratching around for material eg. once in 1978 Bozo was standing outside a chippy when a bloke asked him 'if he was Leeds' he told him to 'P*** off!' This actual piece isn't in the book but something similar is, I just couldn't be bothered to find the page!

An easy if somewhat superficial and repetitive read which wont enlighten you much - overall very disappointing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars service crew 18 April 2013
By Neil
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
readable it gave info on all the leeds crews over the years and was fairly accurate from what my memories of a couple of the games in the 80s were
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By josie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
good read its local to where we live and as we are leeds fans (not violent ones) it was interesting
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Some memories,O.K. 3 Feb 2013
As someone who used to go.I found it disjointed and a little disappointing.It is a story about small groups of young thugs looking for truoble.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Something missing 18 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have read a lot of hooligan books but none of them have quite had the structure and feel of The Soul Crew. Still I believe it to be true and worth a look.
Well done to all the lads involved as your crews reputation is in my opinion and others one of the top firms in the UK!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars top firm with a story to tell!
should have been a great book ! all we got,as many have already said,was disjopinted badly written nonsense

Most firms are full of characters and got up to all... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointed poorly written and boring
rambling stories very disappointing. It didn't give much insight into the people involved. Some pretty pathetic justifications allowed as well.
Published 4 months ago by gary spain
2.0 out of 5 stars service crew
this is just snippets of a few peoples memories one after another. It gets a bit same old same old. Not my cup of tea.
Published 7 months ago by neil pickering
5.0 out of 5 stars gret present
great present for my partner who is a much loved Fan!
Cant wait till we can get on that 13 hour flight and for him to read the thing from front to back!
Published 11 months ago by Lisa Fletch
3.0 out of 5 stars Service Crew
A bit chaotic at times but an eye opening view of how the lads operated and what motivated them. Which at times wasn't the football.
Published 18 months ago by MR STUART A HANSLIP
4.0 out of 5 stars Service Crew: Inside storyof Leed's United's Hooligan Gangs.
This is a good read and not as 'far fetched' as some of the other
'Firm's' books I have read. I enjoyed it as I did 'The Zulu's'
by the same author. Read more
Published on 26 May 2011 by T. Gussmann
2.0 out of 5 stars read only if your a leeds fan
quite a poor book. just constant tales of fights. no real insight or characters. its hard to relate to or care about anyhting that goes on. Read more
Published on 1 July 2009 by B. Gash
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