5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Who's the Guv'nor?,
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Paperback)
After reading Roy Shaws biography 'Pretty Boy' I was very keen to read more about the violent underworld these characters lived in. Lenny McLean was Shaws arch rival and the two men hated each other. The Guv'nor tells a very similar tale of a boy raised in London who would become a villain and feared hardman.
McLean obviously had a tough upbringing, mostly at the hands of his mothers violent boyfriend Jim Irwin. Lennys grew into a tough teenage crook and after a spell in borstal took up boxing. McLean was a ferocious fighter and a mountain of a man. He travelled the country fighting in gyspy fairs and made a small fortune whilst at the same time building a terrifying reputation.
Whereas Shaws book appears to be brutally honest, McLeans appears exaggerated and self indulgent. McLean tells of how he 'looked after' pubs and clubs for their owners as if he was doing them a great favour when in actual fact he was running a protection racket. If anything McLean attracted trouble as he was often a target for people looking to make a name for themselves and was shot and stabbed working as a doorman. McLean boasts of his successes in the ring but glosses over the first fight with Roy Shaw in which Shaw beat him hands down. He also claims to have beaten Shaw twice whereas Shaw claims McLean refused a second return fight after defeating him in the first return. McLean sees himself as a gentleman but actually sounds to be nothing more than a thug (especially when he describes smashing a mates jaw into pieces). That said, this is still a fascinating book and McLean has led quite a remarkable life. His ego aside, there are more than enough thrilling tales to fill a book here such as the time he was flown by the mafia to New York to fight their champion (McLean decked him) and the time he acted as security on a deal with the IRA.
Like this? Try: Pretty Boy by Roy Shaw