I first came across the Barnesy Crew when researching youth
culture. I was working on a book based on hooliganism and exploring theories as to why today’s youth aren’t as
interested in football violence. I also found an alarming amount of the so called "underclass" youths having support for the
far right British Nation Party and found alot of fingers pointing at racial trouble in Sunderland as their reasons, in particular
violence in the Barnes and Millfield areas of Sunderland.
Upon looking into the trouble I heard alot of mentions of
the High Barnes Crew, Barnes Park Mob and Barnesy Casuals. The High Barnes Crew were local charvers who would usually spend
the night drinking but also involved in small time drug dealing and had been in quite a bit of trouble with local Asians called
the Lethal Paki Crew. The Barnes Park Mob would (as the name suggests) hang around barnes park, an area known for robberies,
underage drinking, drug dealing and drug taking and also of some clashes with the Leathel Paki Crew. The Barnesy Casuals were
a smaller group who drank in local pubs and were a bit older than the others. The others seemed to be aged from around 12-17
but the casuals 16-22 years old and rarely became involved with anything away from football matches.
In 2002 the High Barnes Crew were now hanging around with
the Barnes Park Mob and grouping together to fight the Asians, trouble was regular in the local school and police being called
in wasn’t uncommon. The Barnesy Casuals were also friendly with the older members of the High Barnes Crew due to links
with several football Seaburn Casuals, one of which related to a member of the High Barnes Crew. By 2003 the High Barnes
Crew were moving away from the charver culture of drinking cans on streets and fields and moving into pubs leaving the younger
element behind. There was already quite a few going to football matches but now other members were going along with them and
catching onto the casual clothes they saw at football and in the pubs among the barnesy casuals. Labels such as Stone Island,
Aquascutum and Lacoste become especially popular among them, mostly bought from shoplifters and internet websites, and
old tracksuits and hoodies left behind. The Barnes Park Mob remained uninterested in football and kept to the charver culture
(which did lead to a few small fights between themselves). The HBC and the casuals were now often drinking together before
football matches and some incidents were occurring especially at away games and after a while they found themselves looking
for football violence and other fans to fight on a matchday. They never followed the rule of only fighting other football
firms, they fought with anyone who was up for a fight regardless of being a casual, a shirt (a fan wearing the team colours)
or a charver and instead of arranging fights they just searched for one. After a few months they were now abandoning the charver
totally and High Barnes Crew was barely mentioned, instead they and the casuals were together as the Barnesy Crew which continues
now. The Barnes Park Mob has had a series of fights with the barnesy crew but still join with them to fight the leathel paki
crew- a fight that has made the papers on many occasions with glaring details left out and Asians let off with any blame.
Now most have left school, aged from 16-25
mainly and pulling numbers like 40 for big matches or big fights with the leathel paki crew they have almost all adopted
the casual look with many different labels and follow Sunderland AFC home and away. Incidents involving them are documented
on this website and could well feature in the book that I am still working on.