Letter about casuals in Sounds, 26 May, 1984 from Anti Social Workers singer, Paul Wellings.
I have nothing against the “soccer casual” music and clothes movement. In fact most of my mates wear the gear when we go to see West Ham and it has style. But I really must have a go at the “under five mentality” from the younger elements of the once glorious ICF, and other well organised crews like Pompey Glory Boys, Scouse Scallies etc.
Cos these kids dress to kill (sometimes literally) in all the Tacchini, Fila, Burberry and Head gear, they seem to think the movement means giving our own kind a good kicking or sticking Uncle Stanley in some ordinary geezer’s kidneys.
I remember all the times I’ve followed West Ham (way back to the original ICF, Rejects, drinking, having a crack etc), and Spurs and Luton Town and have gone with people to actually watch the game. And I follow these three teams (even though I was born in Wapping, East London and should by rights murder anyone who doesn’t support West Ham), cos I love their style of football, cos I’ve moved to different areas and cos most of all I hate the mindless tribal, territorial warfare similar to the Krays vs the Richardsons.
At least when the old bill get hospitalised, it’s a welcome change from attacking the other teams’ fans. Some, like the ICF, have the style and organisation to ruck without getting nicked (but most of it is brainless tribal war) and others have more suss to know the filth are the real enemy.
It’s a pity anger was not saved for the rich scumbags in the directors’ boxes treating football like a monopoly game for real, or the nazi wankers bringing racist shit into our grounds (it would be great to organise leafletting on same scale as we did at Upton Park, White Hart Lane etc in the ANL days – where we got a terrific response). I’m very much a lumpen prole.
It’s better to attack these sort of people and enjoy our game again than thrashing some working class geezer like me or you, who lives down the road or up North, cos their team is different.
Soccer casuals, if it means anything, means pride in your background, going to the football with your girl, laughs, self-respect, style, soul, lover’s rock, funk etc. Like Mod and Tamla, Skins and Trojan reggae, Punks and the Pistols, Casual both music and clothes, as Garry Bushell said, comes from the streets and not the industries, and for those into it, it hasn’t meant reconsidering your mortgage to buy the gear – cos the black market is booming. (Ask Scotland Yard! Look sharp, think sharp!) – Paul (Geezer) of reggae rockers the Anti Social Workers, Wapping.