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Notorious Football Firms of the UK

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Football has always been regarded as a sport for the people. It is widely played and supported around the world and particularly within the UK. There are many subcultures which have either derived from football or overlap with other football subcultures. Over the years, across the country, various football firms have gained notoriety for their involvement in violent clashes, vandalism, and other forms of disorder. Here, we delve into some of the most infamous football firms in the UK, shedding light on their history and impact.

‘A Casual Look: A Photodiary of Football Fans, 1980s to 2001’ by Lorne Brown and Nick Harvey.
Millwall v Cardiff City, 2001.
  1. Inter City Firm (ICF) – West Ham United: The Inter City Firm, associated with West Ham United, gained a fearsome reputation in the 1970s and 1980s. Known for their organised and violent behaviour, the ICF often clashed with rival firms, including those from Tottenham Hotspur and Millwall. Their exploits were documented in the book “Among the Thugs” by Bill Buford, providing insight into the world of football hooliganism.
  2. Millwall Bushwackers – Millwall: The Millwall Bushwackers were one of the most notorious football firms in the UK during the 1980s and 1990s. Known for their aggressive and confrontational style, the Bushwackers were involved in numerous clashes both inside and outside football stadiums. Their reputation for violence earned Millwall a notorious image in English football.
  3. Chelsea Headhunters – Chelsea: The Chelsea Headhunters gained notoriety for their involvement in football hooliganism during the 1970s and 1980s. With a reputation for targeting rival supporters, particularly those from West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur, the Headhunters were involved in numerous violent confrontations. Their influence waned in the late 1980s but remains a part of Chelsea’s history.
  4. Manchester United Inter-City Jibbers (ICJ) – Manchester United: Manchester United had its share of hooligan firms, with the Inter-City Jibbers (ICJ) being one of the most prominent. Active during the 1980s, the ICJ were known for their involvement in clashes with rival firms, particularly those associated with Manchester City and Leeds United. Their presence contributed to the reputation of Manchester United’s fanbase during that era.
  5. Cardiff City Soul Crew – Cardiff City: The Cardiff City Soul Crew gained notoriety for their involvement in football hooliganism during the 1980s and 1990s. Known for their aggressive and organized behavior, the Soul Crew clashed with rival firms from across the UK, leaving a trail of violence in their wake. Their activities tarnished Cardiff City’s reputation and contributed to concerns about hooliganism in Welsh football.
  6. Tottenham Hotspur Yid Army – Tottenham Hotspur: The Yid Army, associated with Tottenham Hotspur, has been involved in various incidents of hooliganism over the years. While not as prominent as some other firms, the Yid Army has been known to engage in violent confrontations, particularly with rival supporters from clubs such as Arsenal and Chelsea.
  7. Glasgow Rangers Ibrox Boys – Rangers: In Scotland, the Ibrox Boys were associated with Glasgow Rangers and gained notoriety for their involvement in football-related violence. Active during the 1980s and 1990s, the Ibrox Boys clashed with rival supporters, particularly those from Celtic, contributing to the intense rivalry between the two Glasgow clubs.
  8. Glasgow Celtic – The Jungle: The Jungle was associated with Glasgow Celtic and was notorious for its involvement in football hooliganism in Scotland. Active during the 1970s and 1980s, The Jungle clashed with rival supporters, particularly those from Rangers, in a series of violent confrontations that marred Scottish football.
  9. Leeds United Service Crew – Leeds United: The Leeds United Service Crew gained notoriety for their involvement in football hooliganism during the 1970s and 1980s. Known for their aggressive and organized behavior, the Service Crew clashed with rival firms from across the UK, earning Leeds United a reputation for hooliganism during that era.
  10. Aberdeen Soccer Casuals (ASC) – Aberdeen: The Aberdeen Soccer Casuals were associated with Aberdeen FC and gained notoriety for their involvement in football hooliganism in Scotland. Active during the 1980s and 1990s, the ASC clashed with rival supporters, particularly those from Rangers and Celtic, contributing to the reputation of Aberdeen FC’s fanbase.
  11. The Blades Business Crew (BBC) – Sheffield United: The Blades Business Crew (BBC) was a group of hooligans associated with Sheffield United Football Club in the 1980s. Operating primarily during the 1980s and early 1990s, the BBC was one of the most notorious football hooligan firms in England at the time. The group was known for their involvement in football-related violence, particularly during the peak of football hooliganism.

The presence of football firms has often been seen as a dark aspect of the sport in the UK, and is regularly accused of tarnishing the reputation of clubs and creating safety concerns for other supporters. While efforts have been made to address hooliganism, the legacy of these firms continue to be prevalent in British football.

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