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 The Hooligans Books A-L and M-Z
blackpool
Posted: Dec 18 2006, 05:19 PM


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Blackpool's section is OK and Preston's aint bad too. Burnley as you'd expect, Bolton Back slapping and Blackburn getting a few pages but not much post 70's...

Lot of Lancashire teams getting a lot of pages between them.

Thought Chester's was probably the best of both books. Forgetting the Superfirm bollocks.

Anyone mentioned in either of them? disco.gif deadhorse.gif busting.gif bananadance.gif ninja.gif
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D32
Posted: Dec 19 2006, 01:11 PM


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I have read the A-L one, and ill agree that Chesters was a well written piece. That book raised the question has there ever been a cockney that has been run or done in? The way they big themselves up makes you think every fucker is terrified of them.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 04:52 PM


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Here's Prestons chapter copied over from the PPS site courtesy of Capt Sword...

Published by - Milo Books

Authors - Nick Lowles & Andy Nicholls


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PRESTON NORTH END

Ground: Deepdale
Firms: Spotty Dog Crew, Town End Mob, Preston Para Soccer (PPS), Preston Foot Patrol (pfp)
Rivals: Blackpool, Wigan Athletic, Stoke City



If there were any 150 year-old Preston fans still alive, they would laugh at claims
that modern football hooliganism was started by the followers of the Merseyside clubs
in the 1950’s. “The 1950s?” – the Preston fans might mock. “We were seasoned
veterans of disorder by then”.

For some reason, the newspaper archives are full of stories of Preston fans
misbehaving over 150 years ago. Perhaps there was similar trouble elsewhere, but no
club had the same number of documented disorders then Preston. In 1843, 200
soldiers and 50 Policemen were needed to patrol the ropes at a Preston North End v
Sunderland match. Almost forty years late, in 1881 two railway officials were
knocked unconscious at Wigan railway station by a group travelling to an away match
at Newton Heath (later Manchester United). Three years later Preston fans attacked
Bolton Wanderers players and spectators at the end of the game, and in 1885 a mob of
‘roughs’ attacked a visiting Aston Villa team with sticks, stones, and other missiles.
The following year brought a violent clash between rival PNE and Queens Park fans
at a railway station. Finally in 1905, several fans were tried for hooliganism including
a ‘drunk’ and disorderly ’70 year old woman’.

In more recent times, most of the trouble involving Preston has been against local
rivals Blackpool, Blackburn Rovers, Burnley, Wigan Athletic and Bolton Wanderers


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 04:53 PM


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It is bad enough being relegated, it is even worse being relegated by your local rivals,
but the feeling is indescribable when your team is relegated by your local rivals in a
match that also see’s them getting promoted. That was what happened to Preston on
Monday 13th April 1970, when a 0-3 home defeat by Blackpool saw the complete polarisation of fortunes. “The agony the ecstasy” – shouted the headline in the Lancashire Evening Post. As Blackpool fans poured onto the pitch at the end of the game, the bulk of the 35’000 fans inside the ground watched in utter disbelief. A comment piece in the same newspaper summed up the emotions of a town built upon footballing greats. “The harsh realities of modern day soccer finally caught up with, and indeed overtook, PNE last night. As one who has avidly for many years I am afraid that like many others, I found those 90 humiliating minutes almost too much to bear. “It was a humiliation”, remembered ‘Billy’ a long-time Preston supporter. “Blackpool kicked the gates in and flooded the Kop”.

Saturday, 17th October 1970, is another date that will not be forgotten by many Preston fans around in that time. That was the day when Preston North End travelled to Halifax and manager Alan Ball referred to the away fans as ‘The Gentry’. Whether Ball was referring to a quote from an unknown 18th century historian who described Preston, as “a pretty town with an abundance of gentry in it, commonly called Proud Preston” is unclear. What is certain is that Preston fans loved the title and for the next few years they would turn up at away matches wearing bowler hats (made fashionable by John Steed in The Avengers – and John Cleese of Monty Python) and umbrellas. Billy remembers the trend. “When PNE were relegated in 1969/70, Alan Ball senior was appointed and used to salute the fans at the away matches. Most away games that year were walkovers, as PNE took mobs everywhere. Notable exceptions were Mansfield and Port Vale, who fought back. These grounds were fairly new, as this was the first time we had been out of the top two divisions. One notable trip was when a furniture van pulled up in Plymouth city centre, dropped it’s tail-gate, and out walked about twenty five blokes in bowler hats. “This was early Seventies and so a bit early for me, but I can remember getting on the train with a lot of older lads who were up for a good laugh, a bit of thieving, fighting and lots of drinking. Always attracting a Police presence, but always running through town centres, smashing up pubs, having a go at any locals who fancied themselves. They were usually glad to get home in one piece. These guys were often encouraged by Alan Ball, who used to come the pitch before the game and bow to them. Everyone in those days wore a bowler hat”.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 04:56 PM


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The Gentry became the general name given to Preston fans, bootboys and ordinary supporters alike. There were, however, several small gangs operating during the period, each with their own legends. “I remember Frankie Rizz, King Of The Kop,” says Billy, “Illy a feared Jamaican, there were a good gang of Jamaican lads around in the early Seventies, Johnny and Joey F were always in there, and well feared. JC once hammered a Rolls Royce windscreen in Taunton, on the way back from a game at Exeter, after a big fight in a chip shop with locals. Then later we had the Spotty Dogs, and a team of lunatics who would go on any end away from home. There were several gangs on the go at this time. Jacko from the Chorley mob, and a Leyland Crew, who always caused trouble wherever they went”.

In August 1971, Preston played at Barrow in the League Cup, in a game marred by serious disorder. While they won the game comfortably, the newspapers were more concerned with the violence. “A bit of bovver” is bad the streets of Barrow near the railway station and on the terraces at the ground were absolutely disgusting” noted a reported in the Lancashire Evening Post.

Lancashire Evening Post, August 1971

They completely overshadowed the match itself, starting before the kick off and going on for an hour afterwards, and I lost count of the boys I saw clutching blood stained faces, some with seriously cut eyes or ears from broken glass. Gangs of alleged supporters of the two clubs went wild, with the boot going in on many occasions, and there was a constant stream of ejections from the terraces by the Police in running battles. The Barrow youths are notorious, I was told, and it may be that they were instigators, but the problem is a general one with boys of this low mentality. Obviously, all they want to do is get down to ‘aggro’ as soon as they can, and it’s quite clear that something drastic will have to be done to stop their activities. I don’t know whether the crowd of nearly 4’319 enjoyed the fixture but I do know some of the should not have been allowed to see it. Preston North End have many genuine young supporters who Alan Ball calls ‘The Gentry’ and who do a great job cheering the team on. Surely it’s time the bovver boys were sorted out and not allowed to ruin their enjoyment.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 04:57 PM


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Preston fans did not have it all their own way, and in October 1973 it was their turn to be overrun. The visitors were Sunderland and their usual large following was swelled by the euphoria of their FA Cup Final victory over Leeds United the previous May. “They brought about 7000 fans”, recalled Billy. “They were massed on the Town End and about 100 were getting a kicking on the Kop. They then ran across the pitch, swarmed all over the Kop beating up any remaining PNE fans, and then ran back across the pitch. We were annihilated by sheer numbers”. It was several years later in the 1980’s, when Preston could claim to take any sort of revenge. “We gave Sunderland a fright when about 3000 turned up at Roker for a New Years Day game. Police expected 300 and had to open a paddock at the side to accommodate us all. The Sunderland fans came round for a do at the end, but quickly got chased off without too much bother”.

Four years after the horrific scenes at Barrow, Preston were again shamed in the national press after an FA Cup defeat at non-league Scarborough. The Lancashire club crashed out 3-2 but once again it was the behaviour of their fans, which received most national attention. Sports journalist Norman Shakeshaft, who had penned the outburst following the Barrow match, was once again in indignant mood. “A disgrace to the town”, was the headline of his column.

Lancashire Evening Post, 1975

Saturday was the blackest day in Preston North Ends history for several reasons. But the worst aspect of all was the behaviour of some of the clubs’ young supporters at Scarborough’s Seamer Road ground. “This is Proud Preston. Is it?” asked new social club steward Eddie Adams as he looked at the damage caused by the fans. I felt embarrassed to be a Prestonian and could not make a reply. The hooligans, who smashed windows of the boardroom and the club extension specially opened ahead of schedule to offer hospitality to Preston people, had disgraced the name of the town. The North End directors, officials and players were also terribly upset. “We do not want fans who behave like this”, said Chairman Alan Jones “We would rather have no support at all”.

Mr Jones has my sympathy and I hope something positive can now be done to stop vandals from seeing games at Deepdale and from travelling to away matches. Only last week, outside Deepdale, a window of the Wrexham team coach was smashed after Preston had lost to the Welsh club, and the follow up at Scarborough has again shown that some youngsters do not know what sport is all about. If they cannot accept disappointment they should not be involved in any way with football.

It is often said that many troublemakers are not interested in any case and that they only go to matches to cause bother and do as much damage as possible. If that is so, it is time other football followers rooted them out and gave the Police much more help in identifying the culprits. The result on Saturday was also the worst ever, the team beaten by a non-league club. But it is up to everyone connected with Preston North End to act with dignity. They young fans should prove that they are capable of being men and not morons, That is the only was the town can salvage it’s reputation and become Proud Preston again.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 04:59 PM


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The autumn of 1976 saw Preston fans in further trouble in cup-ties, first against Crewe and then, a fortnight later away at Halifax. The disorder at the Crewe game was largely with Liverpudlians, as the third round reply was held at Anfield after two earlier score draws. “There was a mass battle with the Scousers for the Kop”, recalled Billy, “which ended with PNE being led away by Police into the paddock. However many scuffles remained and the city centre looked like a war zone as we travelled back to the train station”. A win over Crewe set up Preston with an away tie at Halifax, a team well below them in the league. In what should have been a comfortable formality, Preston were humbled, and their fans ran wild. It started when the home side scored the only goal of the game in the second half. “Opposing fans ran to meet each other in the centre of the ground” reported the Halifax Courier. “Police, who managed to separate them and return them to their own areas had to cope with a shower of 200 beer cans thrown by Preston fans”. A Policeman was struck on the head with a can and had his uniform torn. After the game, some of the 400 Preston fans escorted to the train station smashed windows in the waiting room and pushed trolleys on the line”.

By the late Seventies a new generation of hooligans were emerging at Preston, though more a gang for whom drinking appeared compulsory and violence was an added bonus. “We were mainly train travellers who would go to most away games”, recalled Billy. “I was one of these, and the players in our mob were Breck, Bowser, Pouch, Eric The Viking, Harold, Greggy, Jacko, Rhodesian Frank and several others whose names I can’t remember. “One match that stands out was at Swindon. We arrived by coach and were drinking in the supporter’s club bar. A bit of banter turned into a singing match, but when a pint pot came across the floor the response was immediate and about fifty glasses from our mob put paid to their mob. They mustered a huge gang after the game, and as we were depleted they charged. A brave few turned round to have a do. Breck, me, Bowser, Rhodesian Frank, Steve C, all gave our best against far superior numbers. We escaped any serious injury only to get the upper hand back at the coach when Bowser (also known as the Black Panther for his looks) launched his famous ear kick from a standing position, bringing the Swindon lad down on the floor. Breck actually left the front of one of his famous yellow boots in Swindon that day”.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 05:02 PM


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This mob never missed a match, home or away and all too often became embroiled in trouble. “Harold was famous for putting his foot through the Villa drum while PNE were assaulting the Holte End” said Billy. “Another good set-to was at Peterborough. The train was full of beer when we left and everyone was pissed when we got off. There were about 1000 lads on the train, and we all headed for the city centre. On approaching the ground, several of us were set upon by about twenty Peterborough lads. Little did they know that the group in front were PNE, and as I approached the bridge, one PNE fan called ‘Bambs’, was throwing one Peterborough lad in the canal from the bridge. As our group approached the ground we were getting ‘V’ signs from their first floor supporters club. Someone broke the big window in the club, scattering the occupants all over the place”.

Trouble became more than harmless fun on 6th May 1978 when a fight between two rival football gangs in a Preston nightclub ended with the death of 22 year old Henry Bailey. “The fight erupted during the final number by Punk band ‘The Depressions’,” reported the local paper. “Chanting between rival gangs of Blackpool and Preston youths developed into a full-scale battle as fans throwing chairs, metal crash barriers, glasses and ash trays waded into each other”. One Punk fan told the paper “someone grabbed the mike and started singing ‘Sham 69’ and then there was trouble between the Blackpool and Preston lot. It was like a football fight. The Blackpool lot started singing ‘Seaside aggro’ and the Preston lot started singing back. Chairs were being flung about and even metal barriers that are used to stop people getting on stage. Most Punks are football supporters and there is a big rivalry between Blackpool and Preston”. Another eyewitness recalled chants of ‘Preston are magic’ shortly before the brawl erupted, while a bouncer said there was little that he could do. “There were only two of us on stage to control 600 howling fans. It was absolutely ridiculous”. He himself was dragged off the stage and kicked and punched repeatedly around the head and body. A massive murder investigation was launched involving over 100 detectives, and five days later a 22 year old man was arrested and charged with Baileys death. The accused was a Preston man who was later acquitted of murder. Suspicion remained focused on the culprit being a Blackpool fan. “Harry was a good mate of mine”, remembered Billy quietly, “and he was a well-known PNE boy. However, all the locals thought it was the Blackpool crew who had done it. This had serious repercussions for future games and it did worsen the battles with them for a while”.


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The death of Bailey did not stop trouble at PNE. Early into the new season, the visit of Millwall saw serious disorder, largely caused by the Londoners. The game itself was described as “the worst display of the season”, with the only bright spot being the penalty awarded to Preston ten minutes from the end. But in keeping with the overall poor showing, the spot kick was easily saved by the keeper.

A fortnight later, it was the turn of Stoke City to instigate trouble. “There was a big fight on the Kop with the over forties mob”, said Billy. “They all had bald heads and were mean”. It was also a day remembered by Stoke City hooligan Mark Chester (Jasper). “The game was one of my first memories of Stoke taking an end and handing out a good hiding”, he said. The local paper reported that a Preston supporter was stabbed in the chest after rivals clashed in Preston town centre after the game. Sixteen people were arrested, five of the from the Preston area. Despite mounted Police being used on the terraces at Deepdale, the trouble was not actually as bad as expected. “Most of the problems came afterwards when the supporters came into town”, a Police spokesperson said. “There was a lot of shouting and messing around. The most serious incident was the stabbing, but the boy was not badly hurt”. Another officer said that most of the trouble at Deepdale was caused by young supporters. “Most of the time it was just bunches of kids hanging round looking for fights”, he said. When they played later that season at Stoke, Preston insist they avenged the hiding they got at Deepdale. “We surprised them at Stoke in a night fixture when we had a running battle outside”, said Billy. “There was a fight in the cemetery”. The Stoke Sentinel reported on a particularly bad injury.

Stoke Sentinel report 1979

A Stoke City fan may have lost sight of an eye following an attack after last nights match. And today Police were appealing for witnesses to the soccer violence flare-up outside St Peters Church, Chruch Street, Stoke. Doctors carried out an emergency operation to remove teeth from a metal Afro-style comb that had embedded in 2” deep wounds. Police said, “It would appear the Afro-style comb was pushed into the face of the lad, causing serious injuries. The incident happened as PNE supporters were among the Stoke City fans making their way up Church Street at the same time. They were seen to jump over the wall into the graveyard”.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 05:05 PM


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“Since those do’s with Stoke back then, it’s always been bitter when we play each other”, added Billy, “and I have witnessed incidents on railway stations when the two mobs have met on their travels”.

Blackpool were Preston’s most hated rivals and one match in 1976 was the Seasiders start a fire on the Deepdale terraces, to the chant of ‘Preston’s stand is burning down’. Another match, an FA Cup tie, saw running battles all around the town. “There was a good mob from Blackpool and they did seem to have the upper hand on the way back to the station”, recollected Billy. “But plenty of them got hammered around Meadow Street before the game. I remember one big do outside the bus depot on Deepdale Road about five minutes before kick off, when a group of Blackpool were attacked by a PNE mob led by a deaf guy, who could not hear the Police sirens. He was lifted. I never knew his name – he couldn’t speak”. Trouble between the two continued into the Eighties with a particularly lively encounter at Deepdale on Boxing Day 1987.

Other derbies against Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Burnley were also violent affairs and there are reports of disorder going back to 1966!

Other less obvious rivalries exist with Wigan Athletic, Gillingham, Chester City and Wrexham. “Wigan they hate us much more than we hate them”, said Billy. “This is based on us always discounting them, as they were in our opinion, still a non-league club. How times change eh? Gillingham, they list us as their worst enemy, don’t know why, except that a mob arrived early in town a number of years ago and set fire to a load of tyres and rolled them down a hill into the centre of their town. Also Wrexham and Chester, born out of the fact that we used to overrun them every time we went there. At Wrexham, when they won the old Third Division in 1978, about 2000 PNE turned up to support them, as they had to avoid losing against Peterborough so PNE went up. After the end of the game, the result was positive and the Wrexham fans were singing ‘Wrexham and Preston’, only to be treated shamelessly by a mob from Preston. We never got on with Wrexham after that”.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 05:07 PM


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Preston’s promotion from the Third Division in May 1978 saw them swap the likes of Shrewsbury, Chester, Bury and Exeter with the likes of West Ham United, Sheffield United and Newcastle United. A respectable seventh place finish in the division saw them play Chelsea the following season, after the West London giants were relegated. It was always going to be a game where trouble was likely and for the PNE lads it was one of the most eagerly awaited of the season. “This match was billed as one of the worst possible games for hooliganism for a long time”, said Billy. “Gangs of PNE were out early, and the expected Chelsea mob arrived in good voice. They were then chased and harried throughout Preston. The result was the death of one Chelsea fan. “Soccer fan in bridge plunge riddle”, declared the front page of the Lancashire Evening Post. “A soccer fan took a short cut to death when he leapt from a road bridge. Gary Blissett-Lee slipped and plunged nearly twenty feet as a group of his friends watched in horror”. He had been on his way to the match at Deepdale when the accident happened. “He was walking along Preston’s ringway opposite the towns magistrates courts when he tried to hump across a five feet gap from the road bridge on the first floor of the market car park”, added the paper. “Police believe he was taking a short cut back into town before going to the match when he lost his footing and fell into the markets service area” Two days later Det Insp Roy Slater of Fulwood CID said Police inquires into the incident were finished and there were no suspicious circumstances. “It was a pure accident. We don’t know what exactly he was thinking about but he lost his foothold and fell”.

What no-one reported was that Blissett-Lee was actually fleeing Preston fans when was cornered and felt he had no alternative but to jump over a small gap. He misjudged and slipped to his death. “The news of the death spread like wildfire”, remembered Billy. “It seemed to put a dampener on the proceedings, which quickly quietened down. The return at Stamford Bridge seemed to pass off peacefully. However two PNE fans were ejected from the Shed after singing North End songs as the two teams emerged.

Chelsea’s next visit to Deepdale was to be an anxious affair for the authorities. In addition to memories of Blissett-Lee’s death, the London club were chasing promotion, and as a result were expected to be followed by 5000 supporters. The Police drafted in extra officers and in the days leading upto the game repeatedly reassured the public the order would be maintained. Preston Police had been liaising with the Metropolitan Police over potential trouble. The operation paid off and only a dozen were arrested, mostly for minor offences. A specially assembled taskforce, incorporating mounted officers and others with dogs, led the Chelsea fans under heavy escort from the railway station to Deepdale. “Things were reasonable, there was nothing we can not handle”, a Police spokesman said. “We arrested both Chelsea and Preston supporters, but mainly for minor public order offences”. However, fifteen Chelsea fans were arrested in Blackpool after many decided to stay in the seaside resort for the weekend.


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The early 80’s saw a new mob emerge when casuals sick of the Kopites, began the Town End mob. Over the first few seasons they battled with among others, Sheff Weds, QPR, Crystal Palace and Birmingham City. Later segregation took over and battles inside the ground reduced. “Funnily enough”, said Billy “the Town End mob grew in size after that”.

The casuals might have arrived but there was still life in the beer boys yet and the late Seventies and early Eighties saw the formation of the DO Mob. “This was a bunch of lads who drank more beer than any crew I’ve ever come across”, laughed Billy, an active follower of the DO Mob. “It was while I was working at the Royal Mail and we had between fifteen and twenty-five to a lot of away games and we nearly always travel on the service train. We really couldn’t give a fuck about any crew and we could drink for England. We were always late for the game because we stayed in the pub for the last several rounds of shorts before staggering usually onto the home end. Always too pissed for anything serious, but not many would tackle us due to the nature of the mob. Sometimes we would go straight from the night shift with regulation GPO black donkey jackets on.

“We had various accepted drinking holes in different towns, always had the crack, kissed the Policewomen, always had bottles of spirit on trains, and usually got away with murder. Only a few of us ever got nicked but we did end up in some strange places, like locked in a train in sidings on the Wirral after a trip to Wrexham. We once went to Burnley for a night game at 10.30am, proceeded to have a lock-in at the Waggoner’s on Colne Road, and then stopped a Burnley coach from Nelson. The driver thought we were Burnley but we ended up stood up right along the coach singing PNE songs and snarling in their faces. No-one on the bus moved or murmured a word. When we got to the ground we marched into their pub and demanded more drink, and we got it, taking the piss out of the Burnley fans till kick off time”.

“We also had a good do at Shrewsbury one year. Two groups had gone for meals after the game, and the Indian meal lot ran out without paying, taking a huge Indian flag with them. As we met up with the other crew, who incidentally were running towards us from another direction, one of the lads produced the flag and said ‘look at that bastard’! The other team then produced a massive ornamental lamp they had nicked off the restaurant bar. We then continued to serenade some grandmothers before kissing the Policewomen goodbye as we were ejected from Shrewsbury. This team were really mad, and could always be found drinking, and gambling on the train. Never really started fights, but we were a force in the PNE chapter”.

While Preston’s footballing fortunes declined, off the pitch names were being made. “Mad Mick is infamous at Preston after he tried to take on the Colchester crew and was only rescued at the last minute by a couple of heroes, who dragged him to safety. Hereford away the night they won the Championship, then came across the pitch, about 2000 of them onto forty, and they ran away after Bowser led the charge over the second wall on the away end. Reading away, home fans invaded the pitch and about fifty very drunk PNE chased them off led by a certain JC holding a empty bottle of Pernod. He had previously walked through their mob threatening anybody who might have wanted to challenge him and his mate”.


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The club hit rock bottom in the mid-Eighties, falling from mid-table in Division Two at the start of the decade to twenty-third place in the Fourth Division in 1986. Yet their hooligan following did not significantly diminish – in fact this period saw the mob emerge who would become known as Preston Para Soccer (PPS), a late acknowledgement perhaps, that football gangs now needed catchy names. Inevitably they produced their own calling cards with catchphrase ‘we came in peace, we left you in pieces’.

In 1988, 200 PPS leapt out of the Town End section and stormed onto the pitch at the end of a Sherpa Van Trophy semi-final at Hartlepool. Thirty Hartlepool jumped onto the pitch to confront them. “One of the Pool fans then charged into the Preston crowd before being dragged to the ground and given a beating”, noted one eyewitness, the sports editor of the ‘Hartlepool Mail’.

The club remained in a perilous financial state and form on the pitch was uninspiring. In 1994, a local magistrate, sentencing five men charged with various offences after a game at home to Carlisle United, told the defendants that he wouldn’t ban them from Deepdale because watching Preston North End was punishment enough!

In the mid-nineties, PNE fans ram amok at Scarborough, smashing windows and fighting outside nightclubs after 2000 supporters made the trip to the seaside resort. And a Coca-Cola game at near neighbours Blackburn Rovers in 1997 saw fans fighting outside Blackburn train station after the game. Police had to escort the away fans on their train home ‘I was disappointed with some Preston supporters whose behaviour deteriorated after the match because of drink’, said Inspector Stuart Caley.

Several Preston fans were sent to prison after fighting broke out in a pub in Mansfield after a league game in October 1990. A fight between rival fans broke out in the Plough public house, with one customer getting struck on the head with a stool. The fight spilled outside and continued in the car park but a passing Police van was able to prevent the trouble worsening. A subsequent court case heard from the Preston Police spotter that Preston fans were “gesticulating to Mansfield fans on the terraces, indicating that they should meet outside”. Four men were sent to jail, while a further three Preston fans who pleaded not guilty were acquitted.

Preston’s location as a railway hub proved to be bad news for the town and local Police after several hooligan mobs decided to stop off there for a fight on their return from England’s match in Scotland in November 1999. “Soccer hooligans turned Preston town centre into a bloody battlefield in a series of pre-arranged riots”, reported the local paper. “Party-goers fled as dozens of fights broke out in crowded pubs last Saturday night following England’s victory over Scotland. The fights – between sets of thugs, from four local football teams – culminated in a 100 strong brawl on Preston’s railway station at 10.30pm”. The violence was described by Police Officers as the worst the town had experienced in several years. Police told the Citizen newspaper that dozens of followers of four local clubs – PNE, Wigan Athletic, Burnley and Manchester United, had set up the clashes to coincide with their return home from England’s Euro 2000 qualifying game, as some of their trains terminated at Preston. PC Philip Bilsborough, from the town’s football intelligence unit, said, “In total there were twenty-seven separate incidents reported in the town’s pubs, which culminated in the main incident on Preston railway station”. A well known Manchester United hooligan, called Fran, acknowledged the Preston lads that day. “We had took the piss all day long, offered it on a plate to every English firm who travelled to Scotland that day, and there were no takers. On the way home, Preston were on the phones and planned a meet, and although they were done, had the balls to take on what was a very impressive United firm that day”.


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The first few months of 2001 was a busy period for Preston hooligans. In mid-January, their team played at neighbouring Blackburn Rovers and a “large fight took place between Blackburn and Preston supporters”, noted the NCIS intelligence report. “Police used batons to disperse the rival supporters. Outside a local public house further disorder took place as Blackburn supporters inside tried to force their way past mounted officers blocking the door in an attempt to attack the Preston supporters being escorted by Police”.

Three weeks later, Preston travelled to Portsmouth, where their mob attacked their Pompey rivals in a local pub. “A fight took place with glasses and bottles being thrown”, reported the NCIS. “One of the Preston supporters sustained a broken cheekbone. Both groups were separated and taken into the ground via different routes. After the match, the home supporters congregated outside the away end and tried to bait the Preston supporters. Both groups were kept apart and the Preston supporters were escorted to their coach with the Portsmouth supporters trying to ambush them through the side streets. They were prevented from doing so by Police cordons. Later that evening, away from the ground, a Preston supporter was assaulted in a local pub and sustained a serious injury to his eye”. “This was an arranged scrap”, says Billy. “There were lots of injuries and local pride hurt. There were threats of revenge from Pompey but they never showed at Deepdale”. The day was not over yet for the Preston lads. A coachload of their hooligans decided to stop for a drink in Stafford town centre on their way home, but before long their presence attracted the attention of locals and a fight followed. Police, some with dogs, were rushed to the area and the Preston mob were herded onto their coach and escorted away. One Preston fans, who suffered facial injuries, was left behind in the local hospital.

Towards the end of the season there was further disorder with the visit to Deepdale of Nottingham Forest. A group of 30 Forest left the ground ten minutes before half-time and headed to a nearby pub where 20 Preston fans were based. Police moved in quickly to block the path of the Forest group but while they were doing so, the Preston group got out of the pub via a side door and attacked their rivals. Chaos ensued, with the Police trying to force Preston back in the pub, while battling to keep Forest out. Order was eventually restored, with the Police escorting the away mob out of town. However a group of 40 Preston clashed with other Forest fans after the game.


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Posted: Dec 27 2006, 05:16 PM


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In May 2003, the Lancashire Evening Post, introduced it’s readers to a new threat at Deepdale.

Lancashire Evening Post, report – May 2003

FOOTBALL HOOLIGANS ARE PLANNING TO SET UP A VIOLENT NEW ‘FIRM’ THE EVENING POST CAN REVEAL


The thugs are using the internet to target key Preston North End matches next season.

The sinister motives of the so-called Preston Youth Firm (PYF) are laid out in a website chat room where violence at matches is celebrated.
One entry on the site says “…..never really had a proper ruck apart from a minor incident at Rotherham. I think we should take it to them as there is some scores to settle there”.

Entries on the website discuss tactics and ways of arranging fights with rival gangs without being detected. The derby against Wigan Athletic, Yorkshire rivals Bradford City and a possible friendly with Blackpool are all earmarked for possible clashes.

One of the topics on the site is the possibility of setting up a new ‘Youth Firm’ for teenagers. An entry under the title, New Firm, says: “If anyone is really interested about going to a few away games next season hopefully we can get something sorted. I’ll be going to places like Sheff United, Notts Forest………so anyone who’s serious (and) wants to join up then they can. If enough lads get to know each other then we could organise things by mobile. After all, these sites are for things that have happened, not what is going to happen”.


More recently, Preston greeted Leeds United’s return to the second tier by taking a large mob to Yorkshire and there were clashes in the city centre before the match. Three weeks later, seven Preston hooligans were arrested in early morning raids in connection with the incident.

The Police action was immediately welcomed by the club and the official supporters club, whose secretary, Karen Wolstenholme said, “Hooliganism seems to be on the rise and it has to be stamped out. Anyone who carries out violence when following our team is not a real Preston North End fan”.

A hundred and fifty years after Preston fans started misbehaving, some things have not changed.


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