Madness frontman Suggs admits to enjoying 'thrill' of football hooliganism and petty crime

Danny Thompson
Suggs of Madness performs on main stage during Isle of Wight Festival 2019 at Seaclose Park on June 16, 2019 in Newport, Isle of Wight. (Photo by Carla Speight/Redferns)

Madness frontman Suggs has admitted he was once heavily involved with football hooliganism and a life of crime.

The singer, real name, Graham McPherson, has said the violence at football matches was “a thrill” and admitted he was still stealing when his music career began to take off.

Talking to the Daily Star about football hooliganism, the 58-year-old lifelong Chelsea fan said: “It was a thrill, going en masse down to see Chelsea on a Saturday.

“When I say it was a thrill, it was a terrifying thrill, because you could just bump into anyone, anywhere.

“Y’know, get on a Tube train and it’s suddenly full of West Ham fans, and you could get kicked all over the place.”

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The singer admitted to feeling “terrific excitement” at the imminent threat of violence, and said Millwall supporters “were the worst”.

The singer’s band, Madness, were a part of the 2-Tone Ska movement of the late 1970s along with bands such as the Specials and The Selector.

UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 13: Photo of SUGGS and MADNESS; Suggs (Photo by Virginia Turbett/Redferns)

They had early hit singles with The Prince and One Step Beyond, but Suggs admits when third single, My Girl - which reached number three in the charts - came out, he was “still nicking scooters” and stealing clothes from Oxfam.

Crime being a way of life shouldn’t be too much of a surprise considering the lyrical content of many early Madness songs, with numbers such as Shut Up and Deceives the Eye including references to petty crime.

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Suggs soon realised crime wasn’t the answer when Madness continued to have success, releasing a string of hit singles and appearing on BBC music programme Top of the Pops.

Madness went on to become one of Britain’s best loved bands, with songs such as Baggy Trousers, Our House and It Must Be Love cementing their place in the hearts of music fans across the country and they still tour and record music to this day.