No this isn’t an explanation as to why people from Swansea are referred to as ‘Jacks‘, it’s about a book I’ve just finished reading.
The book was called ‘The Swansea Jacks – From Skinheads to Stone Island‘ and was as the title might suggest about football hooliganism or terrace culture as it is often referred to nowadays. Now you’re probably wondering why the hell I’d want to read a book of this nature.
Well there are several reasons to be quite frank… I’m a Swansea fan and am intrigued by our ‘hooligan element’ and their literary skills (LOL); I was curious if I knew/recognised any of the ‘faces’ (which I did); but most of all it was because I have an interest in the world of football hooliganism – purely from a psychology perspective I can assure you!
As an ex-semi professional rugby player who represented his country, I’m intrigued (and always have been) as to what makes these men/teenagers (and some women believe it or not) get out of being a football hooligan. Now I’m not referring to the people who walk around clad out in the latest Stone Island, Burberry, Aquasanctum gear for bravado – I’m on about the real hardcore element who purely want a scrap with the oppositions firm/dressers call them what you want and get one hell of a buzz out of doing so.
I just find it odd that you don’t get this sort of needle between rival sets of rugby fans – well none that I’ve witnessed anyway – but you do with football. Is it because the ‘aggro’ is on the field perhaps?
I suppose I always remember what a football playing mate of mine used to say – “The real hard lads in school played rugby, whereas the lads who thought they were hard played football” – now personally I don’t entirely agree with that statement, but I can see what he means to an extent.
Anyway, back to the book. It’s pretty much a warts and all story of the top Swansea ‘faces’ over the last 30 years or so broken down into sections by each hooligan. It was an ok read, but I felt the book was let down by a lack of consistency between each section – which could vary between 2 pages to 20+ pages.
From what my memory recalls of the media reporting about various bouts of trouble involving the Swansea Jacks, the book is a pretty accurate reproduction of the facts. It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re a local and follow the Swans then it should hold enough interest for you to see it through to the end.
The next book on my reading list is ‘Killer Web Content’ by Gerry McGovern – which as the title suggests is the complete opposite end of the spectrum in terms of my book reading habits!