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A former Chelsea hooligan has recalled how his first fight getting "kicked the f*** out of" by Wolves fans led to his passion for football mobs.
Football hooliganism hit a peak in the 80s, when often boozed-up fans from each side would fight it out on the streets before and after games.
One of the most-feared "firms" was made up of Chelsea supporters, who were documented by a BBC documentary, Chelsea Headhunters.
Jason Marriner, one of the firm's ringleaders, received a six-year prison sentence for his involvement in organising fights, which he spent in Wandsworth prison. He has also had numerous football bans.
Now, he has recalled how his first fight hooked him into mob culture.
Speaking on the Anything Goes with James English podcast, Jason explained that he and a mate went on an away trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
As his friend nipped to the loo, he was left holding a Chelsea flag which an opposition fan quickly cottoned on to.
“As he’s gone to the toilet, I’m holding this flag and a mob of Wolves fans turned out and asked: ‘What’s on that flag?’" he recalled.
“Of course, the lairy c*** I was said: ‘It’s f***ing Chelsea, what do you thin?
He said: “All of a sudden he’s gone for me… I’ve f***ing shaped up and gone to go with him.
“He’s chased me all round the car park and kicked the f**k out of me, to be truthful.
“I was quite bruised up, not too bad, but enough. I’d had a kicking.
Jason acknowledged that this event sparked his passion for football violence, as he found an identity with his fellow Chelsea supporters.
He explained he thought that, "because it’s gone round that a few liberties have been taken outside the ground… I think they’ve been doing this for me, because I’ve been ironed out.”
“There had been quite a lot of altercations before the game,” he recalled. “You’re talking mid-80s, early 80s, whatever it was.
“Chelsea had a good firm there, and to be fair to Wolves they were up for it.”
“And that’s the snowball. That’s when it kicks in a bit ‘hold on a minute, they f***ing love me here’.”
In fact, Jason explained, despite their frequent clashes, fans from different clubs often became friends, saying: “Football violence is a culture.
“We all support a different team, but we’re all the f***ing same. We’re like-minded, we wear the same sort of clothes, we go to the same sort of bars but on different sides of town, we’re all up for the same thing, we’ve got the same sort of personality…
“There’s mutual respect, but you hate each other.”
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- Chelsea FC
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