Bradford City hooligans brought to book

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: ‘Getting a Nasty Shock’, by Kevin McDonnell ‘Getting a Nasty Shock’, by Kevin McDonnell

Hooligan literature has become big business since the days of Eddie Brimson.

The reformed Watford troublemaker first tapped into the market of “football culture” nearly 20 years ago and now there isn’t a firm up and down the country that haven’t got their own book out.

The Ointment, the notorious gang that associated itself with Bradford City, are the latest to release their story.

‘Getting a Nasty Shock’, written by Kevin McDonnell, chronicles the history of football violence connected with the club over the past four decades.

He has let those involved tell it in their own words, counter-balancing the personal tales with Telegraph & Argus police and court reports from the time. Often those quizzed ended up in the dock and inside.

It is difficult to read a diary of rucks, riots and public disorder without the feeling that these shocking events are being glorified in print.

But equally you cannot pretend that it never went on. It will strike a chord with anyone who went to football regularly in the 1970s and 1980s, even if the scale of the violence being relived can still beggar belief.

While there are sporadic hooligan outbreaks even now – and there are recollections of fights in Exeter town centre three years ago and the brawl with Aberdeen that marred the centenary tournament in 2003 – it is a stark reminder of what following the game used to be like.

For those born since those darkest days, it must be hard to comprehend that these were true stories.

Almost to a man, the characters involved are not proud now of what they did “back in the day”. But reading their words, it is possible to understand the “buzz” of the hooligan drug that once drew them in.

The accounts do become repetitive after a while. But every now and again the scale of the injuries inflicted stops you in your tracks – a reminder that this is no glamorised Green Street.

The book is launched today at The Northern on Halifax Road and is available from Waterstones, Amazon or at www.flashybladebooks.co.uk.

The book costs £10.99 and a pound from each sale goes to the Bradford Burns Unit.

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