Hunting The Hooligans
How a Covert Police Team Brought Down One of Britain’s Most Violent Gangs
In the notorious 1980s, football violence was rife. The yobs were rampant, crowds were falling and the Government was near despair. One of the worst gangs was identified as a multi-racial crew of thugs and thieves who followed Birmingham City FC. They looted shops, ransacked pubs and butchered rivals. They called themselves the Zulu Warriors.
In 1987, after a bloody assault on one of their own, West Midlands Police set up a secret unit to infiltrate the Zulus and bring them down. Michael Layton, an ambitious and determined detective, assembled a small team in a secret location and set out to gather evidence on scores of targets. Operation Red Card was born.
It was fraught with danger. A key informant played a deadly game to pass on vital intelligence about the gang. Undercover officers faced the constant threat of exposure and reprisal, on one occasion being locked in a pub and interrogated by a hostile crowd. Others faced arrest by unwitting colleagues when caught up in brawls while posing as would-be hooligans.
The climax came with co-ordinated dawn raids to round up the ringleaders and their footsoldiers. But similar mass trials had collapsed in court amid claims of improper evidence-gathering. Would the case stand up? Hunting The Hooligans is the first ever inside account of an anti-hooligan operation by the man who ran it, and of the brave cops who pushed it to the limit.