It's taken me a few years to get around to reading 'The Men In Black', the second of Tony O'Neills books about being one of the top boys (if not the top) in Manchester United's firm for 30 years. Unfortunately, much as l love Manchester United, this turned out to be as l had expected. I can't really complain too much, as the book delivers as far as tales of fighting goes, but that is also the problem. I have been to many a United game over the years, starting from when l was a kid in the 1960's. I have been involved in lots of trouble and been thrown out of grounds, done drugs, been to prison etc, so l am not exactly an angel, but this is the same experience as listening to people telling you their tales of drug trips. It's fun and exciting to have the experience yourself, but not half as much fun being a passive listener (or in this case, reader). As l said, my problem really, and l would probably have been better off reading O'Neill's 'Red Army General', as that is more about the 1970's, when l went a lot, so l would identify more with the tales. There's still interesting insights into the police operations and O'Neills arrests and shootings, and if you are looking for a firm (not in that sense) to take you to a United away game, O'Neill provides that very service (but he is a business man now and has calmed down). It certainly bought back memories of all standing, city centre riots and no go zones, but nothing like being there. Football and the stadiums today? Not half as much fun.
As a side note, we used to hire a coach from Colburn in about 1976 to go to the United games. This stopped when the coach was smashed up and they refused to hire us any more. Who was it smashed up by? Only the same United fans from Colburn that used it (and who would also think nothing of fighting and stealing from other United fans). That's how mad it used to be.