AN OLDBURY West Bromwich Albion fan has released a tell-all book about his life as former football hooligan.
Tony Freeth, aged 44, enlisted the help three generations of WBA hooligans for the book ‘Sons of Albion’ which depicts dust-ups from the 1970s up until 2004’s ‘battle of the Uplands’ with Aston Villa fans.
Introducing larger than life characters known as ‘Big John’ ‘Snarka’ and ‘Freethy’ the book details barmy away days and prison stretches that come hand in hand with football violence.
Tony, who has 17 convictions for football related offences, hopes the book will serve as a warning to youngsters thinking about becoming hooligans.
He said: “I can’t really regret what I have done because it taught me some valuable lessons in life and we were living in a different time when I was younger.
“But this book is not about glamorizing football violence because it shows it was not all good times and demonstrates if you go down the road of football violence it only leads to one place and that’s prison.”
He added: “And these days it nothing like it was in the heyday as there are banning orders and CCTV cameras everywhere meaning anyone who becomes a football hooligan will certainly end up in court.”
Sons of Albion’s features tales of the terraces from several different WBA ‘firms’ including Clubhouse, The Smethwick Mob and Section 5.
Tony added: “West Brom’s firm was one of the first in the country to be multi-racial with whites, Afro-Caribbean and Asians all fighting side by side and I think that needs to be recognised.”
Hagley journalist Caroline Gall, who has ghost written several hooligan books, helped advise and write the book.
Hundreds of people attended the book’s launch on Saturday at Busby’s in West Bromwich.
Tony, who saw his first game when he was nine, added: “In my wildest dreams I could not have imagined the launch going so well we sold nearly 300 books and it was like a conveyor belt of fans coming in all day.”
Sons of Albion is available in local bookstores and online book stores including Amazon.