Background[ edit ] When he was a boy he went to the Alun School in Flintshire. For over twenty years he was regularly involved with the violent followers of the club. He created the terrace fanzine Get into Them which was closed down by authorities. Nicholls who lived in Rhosesmor in North East Wales, at the time had attended the match as part of a Holywell Town club trip. Nicholls claimed that he did not know the ban applied to Welsh games, as being an England supporter he thought the ban only applied to England.
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Please note that Bleacher Report does not share or condone his views on what makes hooliganism appealing. I was classified as a Category C risk to the authorities. I will tell you another thing: When I was bang at it, I loved every fg minute of it.
I have done most things in life—stayed in the best hotels all over the world, drunk the finest champagne and taken most drugs available. Nothing, however, comes close to being in your own mob when it goes off at the match, and I mean nothing.
Nicholls claims that his group of 50 took on rival fans. Andy Nicholls We were there when you could get hurt—hurt very badly, sometimes even killed. Yes, it happened; on occasions, we killed each other. Football hooliganism in my day was a scary pastime. People ask, "What made you become such a violent hooligan? In my day, there was nothing else to do that came close to it.
No Xbox, internet, theme parks or fancy hobbies. Football was one of the only hobbies available to young, working-class kids, and at the football, you were either a hunter or the hunted.
I became a hunter. I looked for trouble and found it by the lorry load, as there were literally thousands of like-minded kids desperate for a weekly dose of it. Like a heroin addict craves for his needle fix, our fix was football violence. There were times when I thought to myself, give it up. Usually when I was in court, looking at another jail sentence—or, on one occasion, when I stood alongside a mate who was clutching his side, preventing his kidney from spewing out of his body after being slashed wide-open when things came on top in Manchester.
Those things happened. I have seen visiting fans at Goodison Park pleading not to be carved open after straying too far from the safety of their numbers. More often than not, those pleas fell on deaf ears. Every day that followed, when they looked in the mirror, there was a nice scar to remind them of their day out at Everton. We were the first casuals , all dressed in smart sports gear and trainers, long before the rest caught on. I will give the London firms credit: They never disappointed.
We have literally fought for our lives on the London Underground with all of those. There were arrested, and it never even made the front page, never mind national TV.
Because it happened every week. Manchester was a tit-for-tat exercise. They would come to our place and cause bedlam, and we would go to theirs and try to outdo whatever they had achieved at ours. If that meant somebody like Jobe Henry pictured below got unlucky, well, it was nothing personal. Andy Nicholls Further up north was tough for us at times. The Yorkshire and northeast firms were years behind in the football casuals era. It was men against boys. We laughed at their bovver boots and beards; they still fg hit hard, though.
Sheer weight in numbers and a streetwise sense of general evilness saw us through at such places. Because we were. Up to 5, mindless thugs. What a fine sight: armed troops running for their safety, such was the ferocity of our attack on them, when they tried to reclaim the contents of a designer clothes shop we had just relieved of its stock. Things changed forever; policing was increased, and we found ourselves hated worldwide. We kept at it in smaller numbers, but the scene was dying on its knees; police intelligence, stiffer sentences and escapes like ecstasy—selling or taking it—provided a way out for many.
Personally, I grew up—10 years and a broken marriage too late. I managed to leave it behind and realised my connections and reputation could make, not cost, me money. These days, the young lads involved in the scene deserve some credit for trying to salvage the culture. Plus, there is so much more to do—we have Xboxes, internet, theme parks and fancy hobbies to keep us busy. I say to the young lads at it today: Be careful; give it up. Is almost certain jail worth it? For five minutes of madness—as that is all you get now?
I have a young family now, a nice home, a couple of businesses and good steady income. I will stand by my earlier statement: I loved being involved.
I honestly would change nothing, despite all the grief it brought to my doorstep—but that doorstep now involves my children, and they are far more precious to me than anything else on planet Earth. Most of the lads my age agree with me, but never say never, as one thing will always be there as a major attraction: the buzz.
And football violence will always be the biggest buzz you will ever get. Facebook Logo.
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Scally: Confessions of a Category C Football Hooligan