During the 70's, 80's and early 90's West Ham United had what was proberly the country's best known and largest Hooligan firm - the Inter city Firm (ICF). The group in those days had it's roots in the area's around the East End.
Canning Town, Plaistow, Stratford all provided lads who were to become legendary in the pubs and terraces at West Ham. Further out along the A13 has always been West Ham "country" and big groups came from Romford, Barking & Dagenham on the outskirts of East London and many more from further out into Essex.
All these groups came together on match days and were an awesome firm and would see off any rivals willing to try there luck in the streets around the ground.
Many supporters from other clubs now talk about the 'most frightening walk' in English football being the walk from Upton Park Station to the Stadiums
'away fans' section in the South bank, unfortunately for them they were very often far from safe once they got inside the Ground as well.
West ham lads would queue up and go into the away section causing mayhem and if that was not possible, then the segregation in the old South bank was only one fence with an open gate half way up.
Occasionally the few police that use to mind the gate would go missing and the hordes of West Ham's south bank lads would pile through and into the shocked away support.
Many of the ICF's top lads could also be found in the Lower West side at West Ham, they would gather in the corner where the West stand and the South bank meet, they could taunt the visitors all through the game and if it did go 'off', then it was across the small wall and after only a yard or two they would be in the away section.
Away games saw the ICF move into a league of their own. The organised supporters travel would be ignored and in the early days the firm would travel via the Rail network, arriving in towns well away from the official supporters clubs and with the element of surprise in their favour.
Later, coaches would be hired and an early morning meet in one of various pubs would see 3 or 4 easily filled and loads of cars and vans would follow the main group out of East London.
London games saw some of the biggest battles and the London Underground with it's maze of tunnels would be used to get across London without the Police being able to keep track of the firm.
In those days entrance to grounds and more to the point the "Home" end was easy. No tickets were needed you just queued up and in you went. Especially in London where the accent didn't give you away ! !
Драка на пароме "Принцесса Беатри"Edit
В 1986 г. УЕФА ослабила санкции против английских клубов, разрешив им проводить товарищеские встречи за рубежом при подготовке к очередному сезону. Первыми двумя клубами, получившими такую возможность, стали «Манчестер Юнайтед» и «Вест Хэм». Первый должен был проводить встречу с «Аяксом», а второй принял приглашение принять участие в турнире в Гронингене. Оба клуба приняли решение провести эти встречи втайне от своих фанатов. Однако уже очень скоро эта информация просочилась наружу, и группы поддержки приступили к подготовке массового выезда.
7 августа 1986 года паром «Принцесса Беатрикс» отправился из порта Харвич с двумя сотнями футбольных саппортеров на борту. Большую их часть составляли простые фанаты обеих команд, намеревавшиеся получить удовольствие от путешествия в Голландию на игру своих любимых команд. На пароме 150 поклонников «Манчестер Юнайтед» разбрелись по барам, где принялись крепко выпивать. В первом классе разместились 14 лидеров хулиганской фирмы «Вест Хэм Юнайтед» Inter City Firm.
Так как путешествие занимало несколько часов, а ожесточенное противостояние между фанатами двух команд вело свою историю еще с 1967 года, столкновение было неизбежным. После обычного обмена «любезностями», устной перепалки и небольшой, но жестокой стычки немногочисленные силы фанатов «Вест Хэма» укрылись в помещениях первого класса, приготовившись к отражению новой атаки противника. Используя различные виды оружия, включая бутылки, огнетушители и даже пожарный шланг, включенный на полную мощность, они твердо стояли на верхних площадках лестниц, ведущих с нижних палуб, стойко отражая наскоки фанатов «Манчестера», которые отчаянно пытались добраться до оборонявшихся.
Когда продолжавшаяся баталия полностью вышла из-под контроля, а трапы и палубы оказались залиты кровью, капитан парома решил, что продолжать плавание в такой обстановке слишком рискованно. Отправив сигнал бедствия, он повернул судно и взял обратный курс на Харвич, где хулиганов встретили сотни полицейских и множество репортеров.
Более 20 фанатов «Манчестер Юнайтед» были сняты с парома и отправлены в больницу, 11 человек – арестовано полицией за участие в драке, которая отличалась такой ожесточенностью, что группа рокеров «Hell's Angels», следовавшая тем же рейсом на ралли в Голландию, даже не решилась принять в ней участие из-за излишней жестокости парней «Вест Хэма».Среди хулиганов этот инцидент лишь упрочил репутацию Inter City Firm как одной из самых жестоких группировок.
During the 90's the ICF began to slow down. As did all the large hooligan groups across the country, lots of media type people and observers have wrote rubbish about Raves, Court cases ( failed !), CCTV and Police being the reasons for the trouble at football being a lot less than in previous years.
My feeling is that the introduction of all ticket games is the biggest reason. Most Premier league football is sold out months in advance, tickets are sold to Club members or via Season tickets and large groups intent on trouble simply cant get a seat for today's games.
Why travel all the way across the country if you know for certain that you wont be able to watch the game, dont believe all the idiots in "suits", most football hooligans are still football supporters and DO want to watch the match. All this does not mean that the ICF is finished.
Recent years has seen more and more incidents involving the ICF and although they are not on the same scale as before, it is likely that the firm will get bigger as more are attracted to the "Buzz", and more pubs etc will be taken.
National Criminal Intelligence Service Football Disorder ReportsEdit
Season 1999 / 2000 Edit
Chelsea v West Ham 07/11/99 Premier League.
Chelsea and West Ham supporters clashed prior to this fixture. Police, including mounted branch officers then broke up the rival factions. Four arrests were made for affray and the rival supporters were escorted away.
West Ham United v Manchester United 18/12/99 Premier League.
At the end of this fixture the rival supporters attempted to confront each other. Disorder was prevented by the intervention of police, involving mounted branch officers and dog handlers. One police officer was injured when a bin was thrown at him. The Manchester supporters, now numbering around 75, were held near Upton Park Station and then escorted onwards by police. The West Ham supporters groups, numbering around 50, were at Plaistow Station. It was apparent that the two groups were in contact with each other via mobile phones. Both sets of supporters made their way to Euston. They again attempted to confront each other but were prevented from doing so by police.
Leicester City v West Ham 22/01/00 Premier League.
A group of thirty Leicester supporters attacked a public house where 20 West Ham supporters were drinking. Bottles, chairs and ashtrays were used during the attack. Police attended and separated the rival groups.
Watford v West Ham 04/03/00 Premier League. .......... About 30 - 40 West Ham supporters clashed with Watford supporters before the above fixture. Disorder occurred with fighting in the street and bricks and bottles were thrown through the windows of a public house. Six West Ham supporters were arrested.
Season 2000 / 2001 Edit
West Ham United v Manchester United 26/08/2000 Premier League.
Serious disorder occurred after the game in the Aldgate area. BTP dog handlers managed to separate a large group of fighting supporters
Ipswich Town v West Ham United 14/10/2000 - Premier League .
At around 7.30 pm a group of 40 Ipswich supporters approached the public house where the West Ham supporters were drinking. The Ipswich supporters stood outside and taunted the West Ham group. Police held the West Ham group in the pub and the Ipswich group then confronted police and arrests were made. Police used batons and CS spray during the disorder.
West Ham United v Newcastle United 28/10/2000 - Premier League.
A group of West Ham fans tried to attack Newcastle fans on a London Underground station. When prevented from doing so by police they began smashing fittings on the train. Four people were arrested.
West Ham United v Tottenham Hotspur 11/03/2001 - FA Cup Quarter Final
At 3.15 pm a Spurs group numbering 60 were escorted to the stadium. 20 people were left in a public house with police monitoring them. During the escort a number of West Ham supporters shadowed the escort a large police presence prevented disorder. At 6 pm pub containing the 20 Spurs supporters was attacked by a small number of West Ham fans. Police dispersed the West Ham group. The Spurs group then attacked police. Shields were used by police and ten Spurs fans were arrested. The main Spurs group at the stadium was escorted to Upton Park station. Police then placed them on the tube system. They were escorted to Liverpool Street and settled in a public house. At 8.30 pm this group was confronted by a group of 30 West Ham supporters, but BTP intervention prevented disorder. The two groups were dispersed. At around 9.15 pm the Spurs group numbering around 14 people were arrested.
Season 2002 / 03 Edit
26 January 2002 Chelsea v West Ham United
About 200 West Ham fans drinking in two pubs at Putney Bridge station tried to break away from their police escort and a stand-off ensued. The group was eventually marched to Fulham Broadway tube station where they again tried to break through the police line. After the match the West Ham group tried to confront the Chelsea hooligans on the Kings Road. Graeme Le Saux was hit by a coin in the ground. Some Chelsea were seriously injured through the day.
I'm forever blowing bubbles, Pretty bubbles in the air, They fly so high, They nearly reach the sky And like my dreams they fade and die! Fortunes always hiding, I've looked every where. I'm forever blowing bubbles, Pretty bubbles in the air! United! United!