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Soul Crew: The Inside Story of a Soccer Hooligan Gang Paperback – Illustrated, 1 Mar 2002
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'A great read with no shortage of humour.' (Loaded magazine)
The Inside Story of Britain's Most Violent Hooligan Gang; The Cardiff Soul Crew are recognised by police intelligence officers as the most violent football hooligan gang currently active in Britain. Their 400-plus members have been involved in mass disorder at matches for more than twenty-five years. Yet they have largely escaped the notoriety of their English counterparts - until now. Two men closely involved with the gang tell its history from its origins through to the present day: their leaders, their fashions, how they organise and who they fight. "Soul Crew" relates how an infamous clash with Manchester United's Red Army in the mid-Seventies was the impetus for the formation of the mob. A core group of hardcases from the tough Docks area of Cardiff was joined by alienated, unemployed youths from the valleys and former pit villages of South Wales. They took their name from their love of soul music and adopted the 'casual' fashion of designer-label clothes. In time they would fight fierce battles with rivals like the Frontline Crew, the Bushwhackers, the Gooners and the Central Element."Soul Crew" also reveals for the first time the network of alliances and communications between the leading hooligans around the country: the so-called "Category C" thugs who organise much of the violence. And it tells of their cat-and-mouse relationship with the police spotters who now follow them everywhere From the publishers of the best-selling Guvnors and Blades Business Crew, "Soul Crew" is the best evocation yet of life running with a soccer mob.
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Both male authors describe a slow change that takes place in their lives around adolescence. Previously interested in the game of football itself, they start to feel and nurture a deep interest in the clothes other boys are wearing (described here in great detail)at the match, their hairstyles, whose appearance is the most satisfying to the eye and so on. Inevitably this leads to physical contact.
They find this physical contact extremely exciting and gratifying and seek to repeat the experience every weekend. At the start, these brief encounters are with total strangers and are both short-lived and aggressive, as is the norm. But, slowly, as the lads' network expands the trysts become more organised and arrangements to meet and engage are made with other well turned out gents from around the country.
Equally inevitably, the police are keeping a watchful and disapproving eye. So from having it off in front of everyone at a stadium, the physical side of things has to develop in semi-private circumstances: back alleys and tube stations become the venue for these disapproved of physical deeds. Still they crave more.
As with Oscar Wilde, the police continue to intrude but by this stage our well-presented, strong, masculine gents have found the rave scene. Dark rooms, different clothes to talk about and yet more physical proximity mmmmm.....
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