In this weeks instalment of our Awayday Casuals series, we spoke with Tony Harrison from Leicester City’s Baby Squad.

Hi Tony, How did you get into football and when?

I’ve always loved football for as long as I can remember. However, unlike a lot of lads, my dad hated football so as a kid I’d have to tag along with my mates and their dads to watch Leicester down at the old Filbert Street ground. Back in those days, City was known as yo-yo club flitting between Division 1-2.

 

What was your first memory of trouble at a football match?

My first real memory that stuck in my mind was 1985/86 season Ron Atkinson’s mighty Red Devils were in town (Leicester) I was 16/17 years old at the time, There was a massive buzz around that day, Utd and Liverpool were the big biggest clubs in English football and both teams took huge followings around the country and today we’re playing host to Utd’s Red army! I and a few mates would hang around the pubs and the many street corners that lead down to Filbert Street, now it’s fast approaching the traditional 3.00 ko on a Saturday afternoon 1000’s of football fans rushing to make it for kick-off, when standing on Burnmoor street which leads to our ground a small group of us younger lads see a smart ‘dressed up’ firm of slightly older boys racing down to the away end where Utd’s escort had arrived. That’s when the roar from both sides went up, we ran down too and watching these older boys kicking fuck out of each other gave me a buzz like I’ve never felt before, from then on I was hooked!! Loved it. Oh and we beat em 3-0 😁

 

When did you become a football casual?

Since then I was hooked on the scene. Out buying as many Lacoste tracksuits, Adidas trainers etc. I did a few stays for her Majesty lol for the next years on and off, the 90’s (early to mid) I personally enjoyed the most. What a decade!

 

Who are your main rivals?

Our main rivals are Coventry, Derby, Nottingham Forest, Villa and Chelsea. Had many good battles with the DLF over the years, they’re game as fuck. Good on the England scene too. 50 of their main frontline are as good as any in the country in my opinion.

 

What was your biggest battle with them?

One of biggest battles I’ve had with them was a midweek game at our place back in 95, we’d had this arranged for ages, We’d meet up at dinnertime in a couple of pubs on the edge of the city to avoid police attention. Derby were heading over by coach. Fuck knows how but all afternoon no plod still, then we get the call from Derby they’ve arrived so we wait a while then start manoeuvring to the Woodgate area of the City where Derby’s mob were plotted up. We’re now approaching a bridge on the road when over the bridge is Derby then we start charging chanting “BS BS” it’s around 5.30 pm in rush hour and the place goes mental there’s maybe 50-60 DLF and over 200+ of us Derby spraying ammonia and CS gas into the early evening air it was bedlam bodies were going down everywhere. To be fair even tho heavily outnumbered the DLF were holding there ground! No police could get through the rush hour traffic even tho we could hear the sirens. Eventually, we started to back them off and get them on the run so respect to that 50-60. A lot of other mobs would’ve folded due to our sheer numbers. The next time we went there they mullered us! We got off a coach in their city centre they were on us like rats. Proper ran us!

 

Who else did you have a big battle with?

Chelsea 89, they brought 10’000 + to Filbert Street same day as Hillsborough. It went off everywhere. Last game of the season 95/6 season Chelsea landed late at ours we clashed off Dover Street near the train station. We came out of the boozer because we heard they’d got off their train from Loughborough (12 miles north of Leicester) ran straight into the Headhunters. To be fair a lot of their lads had gone straight back to London so they’re not at their fullest mob however they still had the balls to come to us. Another mental row, bottles, glasses, pool balls, we threw the lot at them, then up the street came another 50+ BS! We’d got em penned in the road. Eventually, the police arrived and it was game over, us back in town then Chelsea back on the train. Villa always came, had good rows with them home and away. Same with Forest. Coventry (The Legion) there’s a big hatred between us, had some good rows with them, they’re a strange mob, not always talked about in hooligan circles but can raise a firm. We had a big row a few years back and some of our lads and theirs got bird. They turned up with tools. And not the first time either. They like their weapons do The Legion. We’ve also had a few good ding dongs with Newcastle, 92 at our place was mad, fighting all day in town, in the stands, on the pitch, another good row I remember was back in 2000 we were in London the night before our game with Spurs, loads of us had booked hotels the night before, we were drinking in the famous Flying Scotsman pub, I’m standing outside early evening with 2 or 3 others when we notice a large group coming down the road because it was dark we couldn’t tell if it was more of our lot? Or Spurs had turned up. As they got closer we realized it ain’t Leicester we could hear em shouting “Come on let’s do it” with Geordie accents, it was Newcastle who’d been to West Ham! We had a good toe to toe before running them up onto Kings Cross.

Who have you come unstuck against?

We’ve been caught by Cov a few times I’ve had my nose bust and ribs broken against them. They done my nose after England v Poland in Kevin Keegan’s last game and my ribs in the Rocket pub at their place on an Easter Monday game.

 

Name is 5 firms you rate and why.

Millwall. West Ham. (Both been bossing the hooligan scene for years) and Derby (Due to my personal experiences) Man Utd (Sheer numbers) Birmingham City (Always come to ours and been consistently up there for years)

 

Name 5 firms you don’t rate and why?

I’ve only 2 teams I can honestly say I hate, 1: Celtic. I, like a lot of English lads, have a passion for Rangers, I know a lot of their boys (ICF) I love the loyalist scene and regularly travel up to Glasgow and over to Belfast where a few of us Leicester are close pals with Linfield’s (Section F) .. Celtic are a club like no other. Anti British to the core. The club, some of their players, their ‘Green Brigade’ pro-IRA loving fanbase.

2: Ipswich. Bullying bastards Just over 10 years ago alone I took a train over to Nottingham. Bit of a look round a few clobber shops, any way around 5.30 I’m walking back to the train station for my journey home and it was dark, I’ve got a Flannels clothing designer shopping bag. Stone Island coat on when I get a glimpse of around 10 lads directly over the road all smartly dressed in gear. They’ve shout “Oi mate you Forest cunt” I realised then Forest were at home to Ipswich. I shout I’m Leicester I’m just here on my own on a shopping trip. Next thing they’re crossing the road and come charging after me. Fuckin cowards. Bang out of order. Most of us lads have a code. Picking on one geezer ?? What’s that achieve. Wish 10/15 Forest was coming up the road they’d have shit it. I’ve had them since for that.
What clobber do you wear down the match?

Stone Island, CP Company my favourites, Armani jeans. Adidas trainers. No other brand comes close.

 

What was your music scene on your awayday?

Anything from Ska/2 Tone to punk/Oi through to the Stone Roses/Oasis.

 

What’s your favourite all-time song?

Oasis – Acquiesce is the bollocks for me. Gets the blood pumping.

 

What battles with England have you had?

Loved following England away, home games were ok at Wembley mainly if the Jocks were in town. To be fair there weren’t many foreign firms dare travel to England. Back in our day we truly were the best national mob out there in my book… Trips to France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Holland, Spain to name a few were lively but Katowice Poland 97 was not for the faint-hearted. I think every lad worth his salt from England made this trip. About 20 of us (Leicester) flew to Berlin, had a night there then boarded the 10 hours+ train journey to the Polish mining town Katowice. This is one bleak shit hole of a place, lawless to fuck and not a place you take your bird. We booked in this huge hotel, it was full of England lads, Chelsea, Shrewsbury, West Ham, Huddersfield, Derby everyone was here on show. I remember us all heading out the day before the game there was pockets of Poles everywhere trying to fight us. The local police were in the full RoboCop gear. The day of the game we all set off in one almighty huge mob. All solid geezers dressed smart as fuck and marched the long trek to the stadium. The poles were still trying their best but were no match for us. In the ground it was kicking off all over the place. Mainly the Polish firms having it with each other!! My highlight of that trip was the return to Berlin, we were boozing in this big sports bar with us were a good mob of Huddersfield and a few Spurs and we ended up smashing fuck out of some steroid freak German doormen, we battered them. Few of our lot got nicked. The rest of us legged it from the police, I fell down an open sewer lol, not the best thing I’ve done! I fuckin stunk lol. France 98: Few of us decided to take the ferry over to Ostend Belgium rather than head straight to France to avoid police attention. We picked the third group game Columbia The match was due to be played in the small French town of Lens. However on meeting up at the ferry port with a big mob of Wolves, Carlisle, Arsenal etc we headed to Ostend together, arranged to all meet up that night. That night the beers were flowing and we noticed more and more local lads grouping together, next minute all hell broke loose, we ended up running the locals everywhere, the old bill turned up and we attacked them too it was bedlam in Belgium big time!! The old bill knicked and deported 52 of us the following day, no food or water in the cells and a good few bruises lol. Great trip! Rome 97. Another mental trip dirty muggy Italians riding around slashing small groups of England fans. They didn’t wanna know when we turned up as a mob. Inside the stadium, we fought running battles with the Italian old bill, they like the Spanish and Belgian police are fuckin vile! England’s firm was seriously weakened by banning orders imposed by our government. I served 2 bans which put me out of action for Leicester City and England games. One thing’s for sure those steroid vest-wearing Russian robots wouldn’t have been fit to lace our boots back in the 80’/90’s hooligan heyday. They’ll Always Be An England. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿

We’ve done ’em all at national level. We were the mob they all looked up to. I rate the Poles, The Dutch/Germans were close but never travelled. In fact no fucker travelled like us English!

 

Can you tell us about the book/s you have written?

I’m featured in a Danish football hooligans book called Fodboldhaeren by Peter Groland. There’s a good few well-known lads also featured in the book. It translates Footballs Army in Danish.

 

And lastly, tell us what you enjoyed about being a football casual?

I’ve enjoyed my time as a football casual. No regrets at all. I’ve travelled places with England I’d never normally dream of going. Loved England home and away. Won rows, lost rows. We all have. The brotherhood and loyalty you get from football lads is like no other. I’ve gained loads of good friends from clubs all over Great Britain. The whole of football has changed now though unfortunately. Over to the younger lads now. Enjoy boys. We did 👍

Thanks for taking the time to speak with us at Awayday Radio Tony.