Firstly i don't condone violence or wish to glamourise it in any way but i do find it funny when people fail to recognise what was for a lot of people a complete youth culture. The music, the clothes and the sense of belonging was similar to the followings established by the Mods and Rockers in the 60's.
Talking to work colleagues the other day and the topic of football came up as it often does. Being a millwall fan of a certain age means that undoubtedly the topic soon turned to the notoriety side of our history. Having travelled all over the country for many years i began telling a few of the funny anecdotes (as you do). The looks on the peoples faces quickly turrned to sheer disbelief. Some of the stories are either so funny or so outrageous that i am sure they thought i was lying!! Is it just me or have any of you experienced this also?
The one that really started them thinking was the one at New Cross (the Rose) when the boxing gloves came out to play. I have honestly never seen anything so funny in my life. Proper full size boxing gloves - absolutely fucking hilarious. All sorts of improvised weapons were on show that day - milk crates, bread crates, lengths of drainpipe - then out come the Lonsdales!! It was a complete show stopper. This is my favourite - you will all have had your own Alamo's.
I am sure people think you are lying about these incidents - nobody believed me about the battles at Kings Cross and London Bridge where Petrol bombs were thrown and we were outnumbered about 100-1. I suppose to the unititiated it sounds like a film script. Maybe the memory plays tricks and the stories get exaggerated over the years but they all seem as clear as crystal even now.
The youngster nowadays can watch the films like the firm and football factory but can only ever imagine what it was really like to be amongst it. Some of the youth are having a go at recreating the chaos but often fall a bit short by either bullying scarfers, throwing bottles or hotdogs in the ground or just acting the hard nut when the numbers are in their favour. I mean no disrespect to the younger lions but i don't think its the same.
Some of the characters who followed us over the years have sadly passed, but their stories live on. Will we ever see the likes of them again? I doubt it.
However unless you have stood ashen faced at Waterloo with no more than 20 people around you and looked across the bullring and seen 200+ pompey walking towards you - you haven't lived!! Never has the fight or flight theory been more rigourously tested. Wrong place wrong time or right place right time? I'll let those that were there decide for themselves.
Funny, exhilerating, frightening - all these emotions in a 3 second spell and your life flashes in front of your eyes. Then the roar goes up and all bets are off.
Heres to the next 30 years.