THE apparent endorsement in John Tague's article on new hooligan novels (Review, 8 March) of the hooligan lifestyle is offensive to all who have suffered at the hands of these people.

Tague makes great claims that these books will reach a new audience, and not the "middle-class" book buyers he affects to despise. In fact, these books are targeted at a rather sinister audience - back-bedroom Andy McNabs who enjoy reading about "slotting paddies" in Ulster.

But what is really annoying is the way in which he is determined to counter the "stereotype" impression of hooligans. And so Bill Buford's classic Among the Thugs is dismissed as the "cloddish" work of an "outsider" which perpetuates the image of hooligans as ugly, stupid and vicious. But Buford's work is intelligent and stands out like a diamond amid the rubbish praised by Tague. The hooligans of the 1970s and 1980s did not fight against their own kind; they ran down high streets kicking at those who got in their way. Like Tague I'm a Manchester United supporter, perhaps one of the "middle-class supporters" driving out the "ordinary fans" of his fond memory. If so, then I'm pleased to be part of the best thing that's happened to football for a long time. It's a real pleasure to take my son to a safe, clean Old Trafford with no sense of menace. And they do a very nice glass of Beaujolais at the Red Cafe.

Phil Craig

Twickenham, Middlesex