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on 1 June 2014
This is definitely one of, if not the best hooligan books you will read. Honest accounts of some fierce battles from lads who have done time in the name of their clubs and their mates, with some really funny stories chucked in. Fowler sounds like a man you would want in your corner.
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on 1 May 2014
One of the best FV books I've read, honest stories of villas firm, no over the top BS just honest accounts of how it was.
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on 23 April 2013
Although I'm not into football violence ,but understand that there's more to it than violence .
The bond between them seems immense helping each other when fallen on hard times.i come from the same area as Steven does al though I have never actually met the man ,so I can relate to a lot that he writes about.
Extremely well written and well formulated a recommended read .
Well done to Steven fowler and good luck with your future
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on 1 August 2009
I bought this as a fan of Aston Villa rather than a fan of the genre so I can only really compare this to Heroes and Villans, the book about the 70-80's hooligans.

Ubnlike the other book, you don't get the feeling of lovable rogues about this lot. Although they stress the point that fighting came before the football in some cases, it appears that they are not much more than a bunch of blokes interested in getting drunk and finding a fight.

Michael Lutwyche does try to explain at the front of the book why this is (and he raises some interesting points) but as a fan raised outside Birmingham, some of the anti Birmingham City references cannot be fully appreciated.

Not a bad book, probably better if you're around 35 and based in the midlands as you could probably identify better with the writer and his mates.
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on 20 August 2014
Read quite a few books of this genre but found a lot of the recollections to be exactly the same, this to me seems that there must be a large amount of collusion, also I've never heard anyone talk about villa firm although I see they must of had some kind of firm if a few were cat c, it did seem though their top guy Fowler regularly decked people with one punch but didn't seem to hear anything regarding him ever getting done, other than that it was a good read.
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on 11 August 2013
I bought the book as I have got to know many of the people in it over the yrs.
I found it a good honest account from people I have always been made welcome by.
The introduction to the fat squad still has me chuckling , you have to know them i guess to know the banter with that.
As someone that aint a villa fan I cant say if everything is glossy or bang on but knowing the lads that have given accounts
I would say its been honestly written.
Total different in style to the other villa book which is also a very good read.
real good set of lads that took me in as an outsider and looked after me on many occassions, when I have been down in brum
for games and even invited me along to a villa , blues game and a few trips up to the north east.
real band of brothers.
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on 3 November 2013
I'm always bored when I read this type of book. You never get into the mind of the hooligan. It's always the same, 'we went to their manor, took liberties, did them in' etc etc. I would like it if they told you what makes them tick, why they do this type of thing, what's the true reason for them behaving in this way. 'Running with the Firm' was a far more enjoyable read, far more insightful and interesting. 'Hardcore' is a waste of paper and time.
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on 11 May 2014
poorly wrote villa never had a firm top firm around that era was stoke city or forest not aston villa
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on 24 January 2014
The bonus is that some blokes got together and wrote a book, well, thinking about it maybe its not a bonus. This scribble is accurate to an extent, i suppose the fact things they reference happened to an extent, and in general they tell the truth. The outcomes are a bit different mind, but then I suppose it depends on which side of the divide you stood. Villa have generally been a low profile firm, they have never really pulled up trees. They did participate on the England scene, but this guy Fowler reckons he was pretty much at the top of the tree, this is doubtful, if not extremely incorrect. By this I mean he keeps referencing when he was recognised, who recognised him and when. It is as if he is looking for conformation that what he says happened and is true. As i said its all debatable, especially with this firm, I have no doubt they had their victories, but then again everyone did. Its just that the way this book is written you would think they were the top boys, they are not. Especially with England. I do know that most 'not' of a Villa persuasion would concur. Best filed under part fiction.
70/30 in favour of fiction.
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on 17 April 2016
Ok read but pretty repetitive. The strange thing with all these books is its always a bunch of inadequate blokes who are average at fighting, joining together and starting fights with guys exactly the same as they are. I know some of the main characters in this book and they are quiet as nice in their own. Pretty sad really.
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