25 November 2020

Hibs

Unfortunately I havent read either of these but judging by the reviews they do seem to be good reads.

Hibs Boy – Andy Blance

Andy Blance is the most dedicated football hooligan Scotland, perhaps Britain, has ever produced. The facts speak for themselves. He has more than fifty convictions for violence, and has been tried three times in the High Court on very serious charges. Such was his notoreity that one rival firm even put a £5,000 bounty on his head.

One of the first members of the Hibs Capital City Service, he has been right at the heart of every CCS encounter for the last twenty-five years, apart of course from those he missed while in prison.

Blance is something of an enigma. To one newspaper he is the ‘axeman thug’; to the police he is a serious criminal; to those who know him best he is a loyal friend; to his fellow Hibbys he is a true fan who never misses a Hibs game, home or away.

The book begins with an account of his troubled childhood, his first gang fights and his initial experience of life behind bars. He moves on, becoming a skinhead on the streets of Edinburgh and, inevitably, gets involved in football hooliganism.

Blance then becomes a casual and joins up with the CCS as they battle Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen, helping them to become the number-one mob in Scotland. Then, at their peak, Blance and thirty of his fellow gang members were drawn into an incident that would change his life forever: the attack on the Kronk, a rave organised by a rival gang. It was without doubt the most daring, and bloodiest, attack ever perpetrated by a gang of casuals. And the results were devastating not just for those in the firing line but also for Blance, who got five years for his part in the raid.

Blance also blows away the myth that the CCS and other casuals were just boys out for a fight at the football or adherents of an innocent youth cult. In fact, as he explains, the CCS was a serious criminal gang heavily involved in drug dealing, extortion, shoplifting, punishment beatings and street robberies.

He reveals his friendships with many of Scotland’s leading footballers, some of them internationalists, who were no doubt attracted by his notoreity.

Blance has paid a heavy price for his activities over the years. It is not just the fines, prison sentences and the savage beatings in police custody but also the devastation that has been wreaked on his family and personal relationships.

This is admittedly a violent and often brutal book but it is also a moving one. One that everyone with an interest in football and its darker side will want to read. Above all it is an honest book, stripped of artifice and exaggeration. It is the truth. 

These Colours Dont Run – Derek Dykes

The story of the Capital City Service, the Hibs casuals who became the most notorious gang in Scotland.

The CCS was galvanised by the savage and cowardly beating of member Raymie Morrell by Aberdeen’s firm. Enraged by this incident the CCS trained with chilling efficiency. Then they took their revenge in the most spectacular way imaginable: they attacked Aberdeen with a petrol bomb, right in the heart of Edinburgh’s world-famous Princes Street.

This established the CCS as number-one and there was no stopping them as they rampaged across Scotland, England and the Continent. There were legendary fights with Celtic, Rangers, Hearts, Dundee, Chelsea, Millwall, Man United, Oldham, Burnley, Newcastle and the gang the CCS believed were the biggest creeps of them all: the Tartan Army.

The CCS also organised a Scottish supermob to take on England’s vicious hooligan army and the result was one of the bloodiest encounters in the annals of soccer thuggery. England came to Hampden in May 1989 in a confident frame of mind: they had a huge number of top boys, they were well tooled-up and they were looking to inflict maximum damage on any Scots they encountered but the English got the shock of their lives when they came across the Scottish mob put together by the CCS and were sent homeward to think again.

There is also the author’s views on the best-selling author of ‘Trainspotting’, Irvine Welsh, admittedly a Hibs fan, but someone who did no fighting at all, despite impressions to the contrary. This is one of the most readable books in the genre: at times dark and violent, but often humorous and moving.