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NAME AND SHAME THUGS; Cops on alert after casuals put stain on national game; Innocent families caught up in morons' mass brawls; Old guard controls a new army of designer scumbags.

Byline: ANDREW WALKER and RICHARD ELIAS

THE Daily Record today appeals to all decent football fans to shop the casuals who shame our game.

Everyone who goes to the match has seen them - cocksure young yobs in Burberry caps and pounds 150 jumpers, often led and controlled by older hooligans.

The plague has spread to almost every major club in Scotland. The Aberdeen Soccer Casuals and Celtic Soccer Crew battle the Rangers Inter City Firm and Hibs Capital City Service.

Police are already doing all they can to stop the 80s disease taking hold of Scottish football again.

You can help. If you know anyone involved in football violence, contact the Record in complete confidence on 0141 309 3251.

Action is needed now to stop the self-styled "lads" who leech off the sport to cause chaos in our streets.

A new generation of casuals is using the internet and mobile phones to contact each other and organise brawls.

Many are inspired by hooligans in England and countries such as Italy.

And often, they are spurred on by older troublemakers who were part of the original gangs in the 1980s.

These "born-again casuals" have good jobs and families - and the money to spend on the designer label fashions they love almost as much as mindless violence.

This season, there have been clashes involving thugs who claim to follow Aberdeen, Celtic, Motherwell, Rangers, Dundee, Hearts, Hibs, Falkirk and Airdrie.

On one Saturday in Glasgow, Aberdeen and Rangers casuals fought in the city centre, and up to 200 Motherwell and Celtic yobs were involved in running battles around Central Station.

In Dundee that same weekend, more than 200 Rangers and Hibs fans fought in the city centre. One policeman said it was like a battle scene from Braveheart.

Security cameras showed massed charges by thugs. Some rioters were kicked senseless.

Innocent shoppers in the busy town centre were knocked to the ground and injured.

Ten people were charged with mobbing and rioting and five with breach of the peace.

British Transport Police are noticing more casuals on trains. Some are travelling to England, to link up with allied gangs in the Premiership and lower divisions.

Stations are often the scenes of ambushes and gang fights. A police spokesman said: "We are seeing an increased level of violence on the railway network.

"Older diehards are being joined by a younger breed."

Police try to track the casuals' every move, and the casuals try to evade the police.

The BTP spokesman said: "They often travel to a game a day or two in advance.

"Some will take a car or bus for part of the journey before picking up a train along the route.

"The days of groups of 500 and 600 travelling on the train are gone. But we can see groups of more than 30.

"We use CCTV cameras and spotters to pick up known individuals."

Lothian and Borders Police have appointed a football intelligence officer to keep tabs on the yobs.

A force insider said: "There has definitely been a resurgence.

"I think a lot of it is down to copycat offences - they see hooliganism on the continent and in England, and it's like, `We used to do that, let's get into it again.'"

Many of the gangs have long- standing alliances in England.

Last weekend, Aberdeen casuals, who like to call themselves Scotland's originals, fought alongside Spurs yobs in a London pub.

And Hibs hooligans have been spotted in Oldham and Manchester this season.

Dundee FC's thug element has a "friendship" with Birmingham City hooligans. Casuals from Dundee's Derry Shadwell Army travelled with the Zulus of Birmingham to the notorious riot at Millwall last season.

More than 900 hooligans went berserk outside Millwall's ground. More than 150 police were hurt.

Some casual "mobs" have set up their own websites.

The Aberdeen casuals even advertised theirs on a pitchside billboard at German club Dynamo Berlin. Yobs from the two clubs partied together when Aberdeen played Hertha Berlin in Europe last season.

Police in Scotland have a plan to take on the hooligans - find out who they are, then let them know they have been rumbled.

One of the main weapons is the video camera.

A senior officer, who commands police at matches in Edinburgh, told how violence at one Hibs- Aberdeen game was thwarted.

He said: "We kept them at bay by being upfront and filming them.

"In days gone by it would have been a case of the police watching them, following them, regrouping, splitting up, regrouping again.

"The bottom line was that they would run you ragged.

"Now it's a case of, `We know who you are, we know what you're doing, you're getting filmed. If something happens later, we know exactly what you're wearing.'"

The casual threat is considered higher at games involving Hibs, Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen. More police are drafted in for these matches.

The officer said: "The very presence of hooligans always creates the potential for serious disorder. Because of that, you can't afford to go low on police numbers.

"If you did, they would catch on. There would be quickly-arranged flare- ups in the town and city centres after the games."

Police also swoop on suspects' homes - a series of raids in February saw arrests made in Tayside, Grampian and Strathclyde.

HOOLIGAN HOTLINE

We want Daily Record readers and law- abiding football fans to help us rid the game of these thugs. If you know someone involved in football violence contact us in complete confidence on

0141 309

3251
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 15, 2003
Words:925
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