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No Frills, No Sensationalism. An Honest Account.,
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This review is from: Rangers and the Famous ICF: My Life With Scotland's Most-Feared Football Hooligan Gang (Kindle Edition)
This autobiography is a detailed account of the author's extensive involvement in football violence, from adolescence to middle age. It feels overwhelmingly honest throughout with no attempt to sensationalise or embelish events; indeed, there were parts where I felt the climatic moments could have benefited from a spot of added descriptive colour, or at least a bit of fatting-out. Then again, maybe the intention was to keep the recollections as concise and factual as possible.
The book does not unfold chronologically; it categorises the various rivalries of the ICF (e.g. ICF vs Hibs; ICF vs Aberdeen) and then deals with each a chapter at a time. This works well in terms of exploring the bitterness between the rival firms, but on the downside it fails to contextualise the individual violent altercations against the evolution and scale of the terrace culture from the 80's to the present day.
Sandy Chugg is extremely open and candid about his love of football violence and his deep-rooted hatred of all things Celtic. He explains his reasons with a surprisingly clear logic (and some serious criticisms of the Catholic church) and you quickly get a sense of the depth of divide between Rangers and Celtic in Glasgow.
One thing that also shone through was Sandy Chugg's genuine love of Rangers FC and football in general (he was a successful youth player and now coaches youth teams).
Although clearly a violent man with some unpalatable views, I got the impression the author is in many ways a decent bloke, and I was surprised to learn that his wife comes form a Celtic-supporting Catholic family - surely a major paradox!
For anyone interested in an honest first-hand account of life in the world of organised football violence, the buzz and the perceived honour, then this book would be very hard to beat, irrespective of your allegiance.