For almost 25 years, Tony Sullivan has been a member of some of the most violent gangs following Manchester City. He has also toured Britain and Europe as a professional 'grafter'. More
For almost 25 years, Tony Sullivan has been a member of some of the most violent gangs following Manchester City. He has also toured Britain and Europe as a professional 'grafter'. Sullivan ran with the Mayne Line Motorway Service Crew in the early 80s. Here he details how they gained a fearsome reputation nation-wide. From St James' Park to Upton Park, the Mayne Line ruled British football, the most fearsome football mob during, hooliganism's 'Golden Age'. Now, with his hooligan career at a close, 'Sully' looks back on this violent era and relives the good hidings handed out and the kickings received. He also details some of the stunts he and his mates pulled - using the cover of his fellow fans to 'earn' a living in an era before extensive CCTV surveillance, often with unexpected results. Along the way he contrasts the exploits of the various supporters groups he encountered - the scouser's well known propensity for using a blade, the United supporter's unwillingness to take part in a fight unless they were certain to win it and the craziness of a typical away day in Newcastle city centre in the early eighties. Later, as police cracked down on hooliganism, many left the scene and the Mayne Line disbanded. Still Sully carried on regardless, the violence and buzz still a 'drug'. Unfortunately, several custodial sentences curtailed his career including, in 1991, an incidental involvement in the Strangeways Riot and its aftermath. The 1990s also saw a slew of hooligan memoirs hit the nation's bookshelves, often written by people with tenuous connections to the incidents described. Others sought to celebrate hooligan culture as some-kind of weekly fashion parade. Sully has little time for either as he explains: 'Over the years I have been beaten, stabbed, had bottles cracked on my head and had lads threatening to come round my gaff - but you won't hear me complain. This book is a true account of those years, devoid of sensational bullshit'.