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on 30 January 2014
This is a well written book which contains plenty of graphic detail and brilliant wit. It really gives an insight into the life of the Casual. The only drawbacks are how truthful Dykes actually is about some of the events he took part in. Now, I'm not saying he's lying about what Hibs got up to and who they turned over, its common knowledge that Hibs were the top mob in Scotland and possibly the whole of the UK for many years. But his reluctance to divulge all the dirty details kind of put me off. He makes out like the CCS were total gentlemen to non-hooligan fans. This of course is nonsense. Also, he states quite a few time throughout the book that he didn't get tooled up before a meet with a rival firm. Again, this is rubbish. Hibs were the most notorious weapon-wielding firm around. Plenty of other rival firms had their members beaten with bricks, clubs, hammers, batons etc. While others were attacked with knives, hatchets and stanley blades. They were also well-known to stand on a bridge in Edinburgh and drop bricks and paving slabs on to buses with rival firms on-board who passed underneath.Perhaps Dykes never did any of this, but other CCS members did and the fact that he brushes over all of these facts is a little off-putting.

All in all, a very good read and would definitley recommend.
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on 15 August 2007
Firstly I will make it clear that I am a Hearts Fan (although never a Casual or a hooligan as I was a bit old) so maybe some of you will think this review is a bit biased. My younger brother was a Hearts Casual right from the start however and this is just how someone who was genuinely interested in the Casual scene through those family links saw things.

Having read this book there are many positive aspects to it. The book is well written and the story is told in an interesting and entertaining style. Derek Dykes has obviously led an interesting life and he certainly appears to have a story to tell. In addition, the descriptions of the various altercations and the description of how the Hibs Casuals started is also fairly captivating.

The downside and it is a pretty major downside is the untruths about the "so called" standards the Hibs firm allegedly adhered to. They are quite rightly quick to condemn the Aberdeen firm for almost killing one of their friends and for the Celtic fans who threw a CS Gas canister in the ground at Easter Road during a game - an act of such complete stupidity and cowardliness that it almost beggars belief. But, (there is always a but) the double standards shown here is unbelievable. The Hibs firm were amongst the biggest liberty takers and bullies that you could come across. Here are a few of the myths perpetuated by them exposed.

They say they only fought like minded people. Why then did they indiscriminately attack anyone wearing Hearts colours at derby games, stooping so low on one occasion as to attack a Hearts supporters bus at the east end of Princes St which contained terrified women and children? Hardly like minded people. They were the only mob to do this. Celtic, Rangers, Aberdeen, Motherwell, the Dundee teams all brought large mobs of Casuals down to Tynecastle and whilst the fighting with their rivals in the Hearts firm was often fierce I never felt scared or at risk against those teams either at home or away as it was always kept in house. In fact I can recall one trip to Aberdeen when myself and two friends all decked out in Hearts colours were walking back to our car. We hesitated when we started walking down the road to where the car was parked as there were about 30-40 Aberdeen down there. Straight away the Aberdeen lads on seeing our concern assured us that they were not interested in us and that they were waiting on the Hearts Casuals and we walked without harm to our car. That would not have happened at Hibs.

The Hearts Casuals were cowards and their only decent lads came over to Hibs - While I admit that the Hibs casuals were a superior mob to Hearts I wouldn't exactly, from what I have seen, call them cowards. As Dykes himself admits they turned out and fronted all the other firms including the mobs of Aberdeen and Rangers both of whom he respects. So why then did they not show out well against their local rivals? The real reason for this is a story Dykes fails to tell. Basically, the Hibs firm attaching themselves to a club with little reputation for hooliganism at that time, grew very quickly, whereas Hearts already had an established hooligan support who had held the crown of the worst in Scotland since the late 60's therefore the fledgling Hearts Casuals found it difficult to get a foothold at Tynecastle. As such Hibs held the ascendancy in numbers right from the start and they gained control of the city centre. Having done that they then embarked on a campaign of intimidation against Hearts Casuals that was definitely beyond the boundaries. Guys out with their girlfriends/wives or their work colleagues were getting attacked by large groups of Hibs lads. Visiting guys at their place of work and going round to their (often) parents houses completed this cycle of intimidation which resulted in a desire by many Hearts lads to keep off the Hibs radar and the easiest way to do that was to keep their heads down at derby matches. So, in my view the guys who stayed supporting Hearts as Casuals were the blokes who had a bit about them and the ones who went over to Hibs were the people whose strength of character should be questioned. Real lads will know that the one thing you cannot do is to change your allegiance to the supporters of your local rivals.

If the intimidation of the Hearts Firm in their personal lives wasn't bad enough there is also the antics they employed in Edinburgh's nightlife scene. The amount of totally innocent people who fell foul of the Hibs casuals is huge and anyone who frequented Edinburgh's nightlife in the 80's will testify this as wannabe hard men comfortable in the knowledge that they had a firm behind them would pick fights with regular clubbers on a constant basis.

So, in summary, the CCS were far from the "men of honour" that they try to portray and were in reality a vicious gang of bullies who had quite happily ripped up the "rule book" and brought misery to countless innocent people. I wonder if the journalist author who pins so much on their alleged code of conduct realises the real truth. Despite this, the book is worth reading and for that I have given it a 3 star rating
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on 3 June 2013
As I have almost finished this I thought I would review it. This book is well worth a read and knowing a couple of boys and from Edinburgh at times I felt I was there with them. Slight contradiction as there was a couple of times they ran off but definitely the top boys shame there wasn't more photos but good read on the whole.
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on 1 September 2007
This book is quite a good read. It's not the usual "we did this, they did that", it is about Dereks' experiences and I think you can actually get a feel of where the author is coming from as he writes.
I suspect that Dereks' memory of some events may be somewhat blurred, however, this is simply an observation from those that may (or may not) have been involved in any of the incidents and it doesn't detract from a neutrals ability to enjoy this book.
Some of the descriptions of events have an element of artistic licence to them, but hey, if you want a factual account of dates, numbers and places there are plenty of other books you can trawl through. This book revolves around a character (an often larger than life character) and by the end of the book I suggest you will feel that you actually know the guy.

ps as mentioned above, I hope Scott B gets his finger out and produces something to compliment this book.
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on 11 June 2015
Ok first off, having been a Aberdeen casual, active from the start up until well "I should grow up" 20??. Dykes version of events are distorted. Now don't get me wrong, Hibs were a proper game firm & I had the up most respect for them from the late 80's to early 90's. They even traveled to Aberdeen then, although this book would have you think different. The self proclaimed number 1 in Scotland, is just that, self proclaimed. Who really cared? Shout about it enough then people might start believing it, which shows in this book. I guess you have to put a bit off bias bravado, in frank bulls*** to make up such a book. But I did enjoy it, Scottish scene and all. But you really have to take this with a pinch of salt. It tells what the hibs causals want to hear. Us outsiders reading in, just laugh. Known, experiencing such events that is explained from there point of veiw. I.E the petrol bomb. 89 vs England, yes we called a truce, but them Calling the shots? Wise up Dykes your not even a top boy at Hibs.. So I know from first hand experience that the incidents against the ASC are distorted, whats that say about the battles against the other firms? That is explained in this book. Like I say I understand the bias and bravado, all hoolie books are the same. In fact all casuals in the land are full of s***. We all have our stories. I guess I could rant about the Hibs lads all night long. The SNF? Hahaha . Enough said..
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on 20 January 2016
My hubby couldn't put this book down. He really enjoyed it.
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on 10 October 2009
This is an absorbing and often humorous account of a unique phenomenon in our lives - the football casual movement. Dykes seems a friendly old soul and certainly not the type you expect to see swapping blows before football matches.

Of course a healthy scepticism must be exercised by the reader lest we grant these urban terrorists the status of pocket Napoleons with their craftily hatched battle plans. This is after all basically punch-ups followed by pints of beer type stuff.

However, the amount of thought that clearly went into the strategy of the CCS leads one to believe that Mr Dykes might have been more profitably employed as a manager in a business or industry rather than out on the streets.

Much is made of the "Flash in the Sky" that set the Dons running and instantly made the CCS top mob in Scotland. Two things come to mind here. Firstly, isn't it immensely irresponsible to behave like that in a busy shopping street on a Saturday? I find it hard to believe that some passers-by weren't either injured or traumatised. Secondly, isn't the use of a petrol bomb a bit - well - unfair? I take it Mr Dykes would have considered it ok if he and his friends had been met with hand grenades when next they visited the Granite City!

The casual thing gave a lot of lads some meaning in their lives and a bit of status and respect from their peers. Excitement too - undoubtedly more excitement than that gained from sitting watching what passes for football in today's Scottish Premier League.
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on 24 October 2007
I grew up in Leith and as a Hibby on the very outer fringes of the cashie scene, I was keen to read this. A great book in my opinion that I believe captures the essence of what went on back then. I don't believe the book is distorted to 'big up' the CCS and the authors have done well to keep it balanced - detailing the highs as well as the lows. I know people -honest people - intimately involved in several of the events detailed within this book and they correlate with DD's account.This book was a welcomed trip back down memory lane and brought back some good, if not rose-tinted, memories.

This book is a compelling read and I would recommend it to anybody interested in the scene. I received it at 5pm yesterday evening and finished it at 1am this morning. Nice work DD - well worth the ten quid IMHO.
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on 2 August 2015
A good read.
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on 15 February 2009
This was a good read. The author told a good story from the early days of the CSS to their demise. Great exploits at Millwall and Wembley - they were obviously a tough Firm.
They also had rules and normal football fans would have nothing to fear from the CSS - just other Firms!
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