‘I thought I’d killed female hooligan – I helped her up but she kept fighting’

A notorious football thug thought he’d killed a rival hooligan – only for her to get up and carry on brawling.

Cardiff City’s ‘Soul Crew’ was one of the most of the most infamous firms in British football in the 1980s and 90s. There were particularly nasty scenes whenever the hooligans of Cardiff and Swansea came together – even when the clubs weren’t playing each other.

Very little excuse was required for tear-up at the height of hooliganism, with trouble even flaring at a pre-season game that saw Cardiff visit Llanelli, a short drive from Swansea. The meet, which took place ahead of the 1983-84 season, was recalled in the book ‘Soul Crew’, written by firm member David Jones.

“At the start of the 1983-84 season, Cardiff must have had the largest contingent of Lacoste-clad fans in the league. The pre-season fixtures were issued and a very interesting little game at Llanelli looked appealing to the Neath Crew,” wrote Jones.

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“Llanelli is only six miles from Swansea and a passionate hatred exists between Neath and Llanelli folk. As we had plenty of spare time in those days, a few of us went on the piss in Swansea on the day of the game.

“We met up with another 15 or so Cardiff at the ground, giving us a total of 40 lads. The game was simply irrelevant to us as we noticed about 25 or so boys at the other end of the ground who were obviously Jacks [Swansea’s nicknames] being nosey.

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“They started gobbing off and, in fairness, were well up for a row and started mingling in with us. One of their lads was called Foster and I have had several run-ins with him over the years. All was strangely calm for two minutes, then one of their skinheads punched me from behind and all hell broke loose.”

While hooligan firms were dominated by men, the Soul Crew’s foes that day included a female, who attacked Jones.

“One of our lads, Nigel, probably the hardest lad I know, smacked one of the skinheads and knocked him out,” he continued. “A wicked off occurred and, as I was punching one of their boys, a skinhead girl attacked me from behind.

“I turned around and knocked her out, not knowing it was a girl. I felt terrible at the thought of knocking a woman out and tried to help her but when she regained consciousness she was up for fighting again, so I switched my attention to one of their lads.

“It took 20 minutes for the violence to calm down and then only because the local constabulary had turned up. At one moment during that row I had been seriously worried because I thought I had killed the girl.

“The teams were taken off the pitch and the row spilled out onto the streets. The Jacks were still having a go but we were now in fifth gear and eventually whacked them up the road.”

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