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Singers was how I best remember them – vociferously goading you about how great they were.

The way we saw it, they were only good at smashing everything up.

He recalls Newcastle United fans chanting "Chicken George" at him on one memorable occasion, shortly before a petrol bomb was thrown, but adds: "The support behind me that day from the West Ham ICF lads never wavered." How sweet.

He also refers to a former black skinhead called Animal, "now known as Olajide Ikoli".

I always stood in the same place, a few yards from a frizzy-haired character known as Fozzie Bear, who used to hang from a stanchion with one arm and make provocative gesticulations with the other.

Fozzie usually led the Street End's chants and Rafe, Mugsy, Bean and I always followed, except for the Saturday afternoon when Rafe tried to initiate one himself, which petered out rather pitifully.

Most disloyally, not even Mugsy, Bean and I joined in.

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Whatever, Ikoli admits there was a real buzz knowing you were being accepted by another culture and that this culture hated you: "Everything at West Ham in those days was pure racism, but they accepted you and stuck by you, even when the skinheads were singing 'Ain't no black in the Union Jack'." Before I wrote this article, it was suggested to me that I might like to meet Cass Pennant.

Actually, I greatly appreciated the mounted escort, although my friends, Rafe, Mugsy and Bean, respectable grammar schoolboys also, sometimes referred to the police, albeit quietly, as "pigs". That had been my only assault on civilised values, which is not to say that I did not look capable of assault.

To Everton matches, home and away, I wore a denim jacket lavishly decorated with badges – including one that said "Koppites are gobshites!

Taking the shed: A hooligan's account Extracted from 'Congratulations, You've Just Met the ICF', by Cass Pennant (published by John Blake Publishing on 4 April, £15.99) Chelsea had a firm renowned throughout the country.

A fighting army as big as Man U's, and a reputation to match.

"I've been going there since '73," Swallow elaborates. getting hit on the head with a brick and such like." There is, in fact, scarcely any mention in the book of West Ham the team, although there is a revealing account of an exchange between Swallow and the West Ham player Frank Lampard, during a pitch invasion at Birmingham City, after the Hammers had lost an FA Cup tie. You lost your battle, we're going to win ours." The heyday of the ICF coincided with the height of my passion for Everton. They played on Top of the Pops in West Ham's colours of claret and blue.

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