Before "The Football Factory"... before "The Firm"...before "Donal McIntyre".. there was Hooligan - The seminal TV expose that so shocked film director Alan Clark that he made "The Firm" about the notorious group of football supporters, the West Ham "Inter City Firm" or "ICF".
Hooligan is a look inside football's first family of fear, the "ICF". Before them football hooligans could easily be described as Doctor Marten, Levi and Ben Sherman wearing skin heads, not anymore. The "ICF" changed the entire football violence landscape, they were professionals from all walks of life...designer clothes-wearing, first class travel-using and above all, organised. They made prior appointments with rival clubs' "firms" and travelled first class to meet them, always with their special friend "Stanley". Once a humble builder's tool, the Stanley knife became a weapon of choice for those involved. No football colours, colours were for scarfers (normal supporters), no singing and if it was a drab northern ground probably no match as the meet had been arranged for elsewhere. City centres reduced to little more than looted shops and burnt out cars, innocent by-stander's "civilians" looked on in horror as the rival "firms" fought with each other and the police. No longer were the participants mindless tribes of knuckle dragging youths, the ICF were a new breed of otherwise successful, mostly well off people who got off on the violence for its own sake, football had become the vehicle, the public at large the audience. You could tell that you had been turned over by the "ICF", they had business cards printed with the legend "you have just met the famous ICF, have a nice day", and after "Stanley" had paid his respects the unlucky person got a calling card as a memento.
"Hooligan" is a groundbreaking documentary that goes inside the ICF and brought the notion of a new violent sub-culture to the nation's conscience.
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