An impressive first feature following a group of undercover policemen who attach themselves to the louts who follow a fictional second-division London football club. John (Dinsdale) is your average ambitious cop, early twenties, eye on promotion, a charmer with a nice wife at home, but still with some mileage in the pulling and rucking stakes. The film takes him through the stages of brutalisation, from learning how to drink, smoke and fight dirty, through the addiction of fandom, to eventual disintegration as he loses family, dignity and much more in a descent into the kind of violence he's been sent to prevent. The film has weaknesses: sometimes the low budget shows, and there are irritating lapses (the fans' scarves are all brand new and the same design), while the script's notes on aggression are far more convincing than its attempt to tackle racism - almost a politically correct afterthought. But Dinsdale's riveting, and the supports, notably Clarke's tattoo-encrusted, skinhead pub landlord and Skinner's housewife, more than make up the numbers. Intriguing stuff, and as English as a cold bacon butty.
Cast and crew