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Everton Books - Scally

Confessions of a Category C Football Hooligan
Andy Nicholls
, 2002.  
Countyvise Ltd;  (112 pages)  ISBN:  1901231291

This highly controversial book ventures into some would say glorifies the horrific world of an unrepentant lifelong football hooligan.  Andy Nicholls spent many years terrorising opposition fans as a member of Everton's "top boys".   This is that story, and here is some supporting information from a reviewer at

1979 to 1981 was the Golden Age of "boys", when the youth of Liverpool and Manchester entered a volatile confluence of ideologies and power-plays, which were acted out outside the football stadiums and train stations of those cities. The rest of England festered in ignorance, while an exhilarating new way of life emerged, which, in time, was to affect all of Britain.

Andy Nicholls does us all a great service by providing a story from the perspective of what many considered to be the "top boys" - Everton. That a scouser claims the credit for his city as the founders of this movement is no surprise and pretty much 90% correct. The "mickeys" were almost single-handedly responsible for the backbone of the "boys" movement.  Liverpool's following of their team across the continent (the A + B = C equation, which is a brilliant stroke by Nicholls) was definitely a major, major moment in English style.  However, the 1979 release of the Who movie, "Quadrophenia" was also a factor.

As the scousers moved across Europe with their label-oriented, "jibbing" mindset, the lads of Manchester went to work on basic style and well-constructed clothing, la lambs-wool and cotton trousers, Kicker's boots, cotton designer shirts, Fred Perry's and boat shoes. The transition from mods to "boys" took about three weeks in 1979, in Manchester (as opposed to 10 years elsewhere) though the numbers were then a fraction of what they were in Liverpool.

While Merseyside robbed continental sport-shops, Manchester "ragged" places like Kendals, Austin Reed's, Top Man and Debenhams of their sporty but sensibly assembled fashion gear (and this was when you got a quality shirt from Top Man that would last a lifetime and still look new). We had the colour of the tracksuit as well as the taste of tweed and kashmir. What resulted was an interdependent and rewarding overlap by both sides, and an unforgettable series of clashes from '79-'81, during which many ego-casualties were suffered on both sides.

I will never forget the times I went to Liverpool and the times they came to Manchester, and the excitement we all experienced during this era.  Everton and Man United set a standard during this moment in history, and Andy Nicholls is the closest you'll get to living it if you weren't there.  His accounts of of it all represent living history of a trend that has outlived ALL others.  I only wish he would have dwelled on that Golden Age ('79-'81) throughout the entirety of his splendid book. 

I imagine a lot of cockneys and others would love nowt more than to be taken on a magical mystery trip through those times, as many of them only know of the latter-day smaller crews of disturbed individuals going at it, rather than 400-plus crews of lads who just wanted a thrill at any cost, and who understood that what they were into was of their own invention. 

Let's not forget the birds, either. They wore their own stuff, and just seemed to know what would compliment what the lads were wearing.  Andy Nicholls says the drawn-out debates, about who started what and why, are boring, but there are many who would disagree, especially in the Northwest of England.  I am a Manc and proud of it, but I tip my deerstalker hat to Andy, because I remember how the Everton boys performed in that great era, which means so much to so many...

Price: 14.99   Published: 23 August 2002

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