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The Football Factory

Tommy Johnson is a white, working-class male who is fed up of being told he is scum by those in power. He is also a so-called football hooligan, an angry young man who likes a fight and sees the hypocrisies and prejudices of those who condemn him. He loves the excitement and danger of his life, but just as importantly his friendships and the broader culture of music, style and history that surrounds football, and of course he loves the beautiful game itself.


Bill Farrell, meanwhile, is a pensioner who fought in the Second World War, a British tommy decorated for his bravery. He married a concentration-camp survivor and is trying to come to terms with her death. He is a socialist as well as a patriot. Tommy and his closest friends Mark and Rod greatly admire Bill and what he represents. If Tommy had been born at a different time, he could well have been Bill. Maybe Bill would have been Tommy.


First published in 1996, the ideas behind The Football Factory remain current and were enacted in the UK’s vote to leave the EU, the establishment and media attacks on the electorate that followed, and the current rejection of the Labour Party by large chunks of its core support. Drawing on George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four power-of-the-proles message, The Football Factory shows the disaffection felt by so many at a dogmatic, party-political system that refuses to represent them.


The book has been adapted for the stage by Brighton Theatre Events and was made into a film by Vertigo, directed by Nick Love and starring Danny Dyer, Dudley Sutton and Frank Harper. It has also appeared on the stage in Germany and Holland.

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“Only a phenomenally talented and empathetic writer working from within his own culture can achieve the power and authenticity this book pulses with. Buy, steal or borrow a copy now, because in a short time anyone who hasn’t read it won’t be worth talking to.”

Irvine Welsh

The Football Factory has all the hallmarks of a

cult novel.” The Literary Review

“King’s novel is not only an outstanding read, but also an important social document... This book should be compulsory reading for all those who believe in the existence, or even the attainability, of a classless society.” Sunday Tribune

“A book of rare precision.’” Libération

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