Belfast Telegraph

Websites cash in on yobs behind football violence

By Aaron Tinney

Merchandise glorifying football hooligans who follow Linfield and Celtic is being sold online.

Tops are on sale celebrating the notorious Section F and Celtic Soccer Crew gangs for between £13 and £25 each.

Linfield chairman Roy McGivern wants to impose lifetime bans from the club's matches on yobs who threw projectiles including coins and a bottle at Celtic players Leigh Griffiths and Jonny Hayes at Windsor Park on Friday night.

Loyalist football hooligan merchandise is being flogged by the Section 18 website - named after the most serious form of assault listed under section 18 of the Offences Against The Person Act of 1861, which addresses "wounding with intent".

Scottish-based site Born Casuals, named after the 'casuals' fashion scene celebrated by 1980s football thug gangs, is selling both Linfield and Celtic-related hooligan merchandise.

There were ugly scenes during and after the Champions League match in Belfast on Friday night when riot police clashed with some supporters.

The game finished with a 2-0 win for Celtic.

The Section 18 clothing site launched four years ago and is run by two men who admit in the 'About' section of its webpages that they revel in the hooligan scene.

Their biography boasts: "Section 18 is about terrace wear, football lads and the casual scene.

"We took our name from the police charge given out to lads who were arrested for football violence.

"The company is run by two lads who between them have over 30 years in the scene.

"We are not affiliated with any firm but we do have connections to the main football firms in the United Kingdom and over Europe."

Shirts being sold by Section 18 include one bearing the slogan 'Ulster Is British', and another celebrating the 'British Alliance' of Linfield hooligan outfit Section F and the notorious Chelsea Headhunters gang.

Another shows a baby sucking a blue pacifier with the slogan 'Hated But Rated'.

Born Casuals is a Glasgow-based business that has both Section F and Celtic Soccer Crew shirts on sale via its website in a variety of sizes from £12.99.

The styles of clothing glorified by the Section 18 and Born Casuals sites were featured in films including The Business featuring Danny Dyer, and Nick Love's The Firm, in which bat and Stanley knife-wielding mobs donned hooligan shirts along with Fred Perry jackets, Adidas Stan Smith trainers and Lois jeans.

Both Section F and Celtic Soccer Crew - whose logo is a skull and crossbones - are active online.

One loyalist backer of Section F, who lives in Belfast, recently posted on his Facebook page: "We haven't gone away you know."

He also posted a picture of a bunch of tickets he had bought for the Linfield v Celtic match with the note: "The hottest ticket in town. Belfast is blue, we are Linfield."

The Celtic Soccer Crew's former notorious leaders include John O'Kane, now aged 57.

He wrote a book about his years heading the 'crew' called What The Hell Do We Care? which detailed how he racked up 33 convictions, got banned from every football ground in the UK and had his ear sliced off and leg stabbed during his years as a soccer thug.

In 2008 the Section F mob made headlines as it was believed they were involved in launching a pre-planned knife attack on Celtic supporters at Cosgroves Bar in Belfast that left one man fighting for his life and several others seriously injured.

Section F is believed to be led by a hardened football thug from the Dunmurry area of south Belfast.

He is said to have organised regular meets with hooligans from both the notorious Chelsea Headhunters gang and from the Service Crew Casuals, who follow Leeds United Football Club.

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