> Skip to content
  • Published: 25 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446439654
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

Among The Thugs

Before Running with the Firm came Among the Thugs - the bestselling classic account of football violence in English football.


Welcome to the world of football thuggery.

They have names like Bonehead, Paraffin Pete and Steamin' Sammy. They like lager, football, the Queen, and themselves. They love England. They dislike the rest of the known universe.

The beautiful game remains ugly.

From following Manchster's Red Army to drinking with skinheads, acclaimed writer Bill Buford enters this alternate society and records both its savageries and its sinister allure with the social imagination of George Orwell and the raw personal engagement of Hunter S. Thompson.

Among the Thugs is a terrifying, malevolently funny, supremely chilling book about the experience, and the eerie allure, of crowd violence and football culture.

  • Published: 25 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446439654
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

About the author

Bill Buford

Bill Buford has been a writer and editor for the New Yorker since 1995. Before that he was the editor of Granta magazine for sixteen years and, in 1989, became the publisher of Granta Books. He is also the author of Heat and Among the Thugs. He was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, grew up in California, and was educated at UC Berkeley and Kings College, Cambridge, where he was awarded a Marshall Scholarship for his work on Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets. He lives in New York City with his wife, Jessica Green, and their two sons.

Also by Bill Buford

See all

Praise for Among The Thugs

The definitive guide to hooligan culture


[Buford] gatecrashes a social world that most of us have spent some portion of our lives avoiding and brings it to life on the page with a ferocious relish that only someone who was a foreigner to soccer could manage, or stomach

Jonathan Raban

Among the Thugs is, by some distance, the best book ever written about football violence. Intelligent, succinct, and always in the thick of it, it reads as a blood-fuelled ode to English football, and as a primer for what will be when Russia hosts the World Cup. It grabs the readers attention like a headbutt to the cakehole.

Tony Parsons

A grotesque, horrifying, repellent and gorgeous book; A Clockwork Orange come to life.

John Gregory Dunne

A very readable, often funny, book.

The Economist

An extraordinary and powerful cautionary cry.


Brilliant. . . one of the most unnerving books you will ever read


Buford creates with the majesty of a Tom Wolfe the ultimate price paid by so many for this footballing fever - the Hillsborough disaster, recalled with electrifying eloquence and power

Time Out

Buford pushes the possibilities of participatory journalism to a disturbing degree . . . Among the Thugs does severe damage to the conventional wisdom that England and Europe are bastions of civilization.

New York Times

Buford's accounts of the thugs he moved with are by turns amazing, repugnant, stunning, horrid and exhilarating.


Buford's book is important in that it offers a far more compelling explanation for the football violence than any offered by the pundits of Left and Right . . . Had Buford's account been written by a tabloid reporter or an academic sociologist it might be more easily dismissed. That is comes from a highly intelligent observer, and a neutral outsider with no axe to grind, makes his book all the more powerful and yet troubling.

Michael Crick, Independent

Buford's reportage is vivid and racy, dropping you in the thick of the madness with a Wolfe-like immediacy

Daily Telegraph

Compelling, intelligent and fully engaged

Martin Amis

His prose is tough and vivid


Possesses something of the quality of A Clockwork Orange

The Times

Sizzling writing to rival the best of white-heat gonzo journalism

New Statesman

Superbly written ... darkly exhilarating ... a sort of rollercoaster chamber of horrors


The defining book on England's hooliganism

Simon Parkin, Guardian

The excellence of his writing takes the reader to the centre of the mob... His words have the fragmented accuracy of a hand-held television camera in a war zone

John Stalker, Sunday Times

This is an absorbing read, and another winner from Buford, who writes so very, very well


Related titles