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★ Glasgow

Glasgow: see Scotland & Gangstas & Football

Frankie Boyle - Britain's Underworld TV - Hugh Collins - Walter Norville - Daily Record - Gangs of Britain TV - Billy Connolly - The Secret History of Our Streets TV - The Gorbals Story 1950 - Rab C Nesbitt TV - Trial & Error: The Glasgow Ice Cream Wars TV - Mackintosh: Glasgow's Neglected Genius TV - That Sinking Feeling 1979 - 60 Days on the Streets TV -

 

 

117,933.  We had the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this year.  A great choice of venue: a place where people think Hepatitis B is a vitamin.  Frankie Boyle

 

 

117,937.  Las Vegas and Glasgow have a lot in common: they’re the only two places in the world where you can pay for sex with chips.  Frankie Boyle

 

 

17,959.  This is Arthur Thompson.  Better known as the Godfather of Glasgow.  And this is the day he buried his son.  Five weeks earlier that son was gunned down aged 31, triggering the collapse of Glasgow’s most infamous crime empire.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  Britain’s Underworld: Glasgow

 

17,960.  The press dubbed the city Scotland’s Chicago.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  ibid.

 

17,961.  Arthur Thompson and Walter Norville – Walter Norville would become Glasgow’s first Godfather.  His life of crime started in the late 1930s ... After his old world was torn down, he started again in the new housing schemes.  He recruited young hard men and turned them into a gang of hard robbers.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  ibid.

 

17,962.  Arthur Thompson – by the 1960s he was the model of an ambitious modern business man.  But Thompson’s business-like activity was a front for criminal activity.  He diversified into money lending, ran illegal casinos and became involved in legitimate businesses too like scrap-yards and pubs ... Norville’s heyday with the XYY gang was coming to an end.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  ibid.

 

17,963.  The city ranked among the world’s most violent.  And in 1969 a succession of shocking incidents reinforced the view that Glasgow spelt violence.  There was Bible John – a serial killer who murdered three young women after nights out at a Glasgow dance hall.  He would never be caught.  There was the elderly Rachael Ross beaten to death by masked burglars in front of a terrified husband.  And then there was James Griffiths: a suspect in the Ross murder who went berserk went police tried to arrest him at this flat.  Armed to the teeth he fired shots at his arresting officers. Then took pot-shots at neighbours and passers-by.  Next, Griffiths took off on a mad shooting spree across Glasgow.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  ibid. 

 

17,964.  For two years Blink and Ferris went on a robbery rampage.  And in 1982 the partnership came to an abrupt end thanks to Arthur Thompson’s son young Arthur.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  ibid.

 

17,965.  Some canny ice-cream van drivers started selling bread and cigarettes alongside the lollies.  By the 80s the vans were everywhere; criminals were muscling in.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  ibid.

 

 

17,966.  We always carried knives ... We were a nasty wee crew.  (Gangsters: Glasgow & Knives & Glasgow)  Hugh Collins

 

 

17,967.  Kill somebody you get less than taking their money.  That’s the way the law is nowadays.  Don’t take off the rich.  Murder the poor and you’re all right.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  Walter Norville

 

 

17,968.  The XYY Men!  7 guilty in ‘no names’ trial.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  Daily Record headline

 

 

17,969.  Scotland’s gangsters have been slammed as fake hardmen – by the crime boss who ruled Glasgow more than 30 years ago.

 

Walter Norval, now 81 and fighting cancer, says today’s kings of the underworld are pale imitations of the men he ran with, and fought with, in the 60s and 70s.

 

The retired Godfather has nothing but contempt for the modern-day thugs who send minions to do their dirty work.

 

And he claims that while he and his rivals always tried to protect innocent bystanders, their 21st century successors don’t care who gets hurt in their violence.

 

Speaking exclusively to the Record, Norval said: ‘Women and children were never bothered in my day.

 

‘Gangsters were hard men.  They fought in the streets, they fought in the pubs and they made names for themselves – but it was amongst themselves.

 

'If a gangster had a grudge against another, it would be sorted out between them.  If you were beaten, you got up and had a go again.

 

‘But nowadays, the people who call themselves gangsters don’t do any hard work themselves.  They just pay someone a couple of grand to go and hurt people for them.

 

‘Junkies are paid small sums to go and attack or kill other people.  It is totally changed days.’

 

Norval, the former boss of Glasgow's infamous XYY Gang, was shocked last week when gangland attackers pistol-whipped the fiancee of a man they had just shot on his doorstep.

 

Sharon MacPherson was brutally beaten when she tried to help lover Eddie Boyd, brother of dead drug baron Stewart ‘Specky’ Boyd.

 

Boyd, who was left bleeding outside his home in Pollok, Glasgow, survived the attack ... Norval ran errands as a boy for some of Glasgow’s most feared crooks.  And after learning the trade, he moved into protection rackets, the pub and club trade, bookmaking and armed robbery.

 

He ran his empire with military precision and used a network of paid informers to stay ahead of the police.

 

The XYY gang – named because so many of them were only identified by letters in court when they were finally put on trial – carried out scores of raids on banks, security vans and businesses.

 

The crooks once held a woman at gunpoint in a wages raid at Ruchill Hospital in Glasgow, and shots were fired during several of their other robberies.

 

But Norval insists none of his victims were ever hurt.  He once said: ‘We used to shout and bawl to scare people - that was enough.’

 

Norval was finally jailed for 14 years in 1977, despite a bomb attack on the court before the trial which was believed to be a bid to destroy paperwork in the case.

 

He served nine years in Peterhead, where he enjoyed taking part in amateur dramatics with his fellow cons.

 

Norval says much of the cash he stole went to hard-up neighbours struggling to pay the rent or electricity bill.

 

But his claims do not impress top cop Graeme Pearson, who helped snare Norval in 1977 and now runs the elite Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency.

 

Pearson describes Norval’s gang as a, ‘violent men, prepared to shoot, assault and threaten ordinary people going about their everyday business.’

 

Norval himself has admitted: ‘I’ve stabbed guys, hurt guys and hit guys with hammers.’

 

He served time for attempted murder in the 1960s.  And his gang built an arsenal including sawn-off shotguns, revolvers, axes, hammers and knives.  (Gangstas: Glasgow & Glasgow)  Daily Record article 29th September 2009 ‘Exclusive: Modern gangsters are fake hardmen, says former Glasgow godfather Walter Norval’

 

 

98,312.  Glasgow.  My own Glasgow.  My dear Glasgow.  It still fascinates me: a city of well-stocked shops, large and spacious stores, big hotels, comfortable restaurants, clean theatres and luxurious cinemas.  In short, a successful city.  A city to be proud of.  But, strangely enough, the Glasgow I generally portray lies on the other side of the slow-flowing waters of the Clyde: a Glasgow of grey skies, grey buildings, depression, frustration … I escaped to a better world.  The Gorbals Story 1950 starring Willie Mutrie & Peggy Anderson & Johnnie Martin & Jean Mutrie & Nora Reilly & Peter Reilly et al, director David MacKane, commentary

 

98,313.  The doctor told him he was suffering from chronic inertia.  (Glasgow & Laziness)  ibid.  wife

 

98,314.  I’ve brought you a fish supper.  (Glasgow & Food & Fish)  ibid.  husband to wife

 

98,315.  That always drunken and horrible Saturday night.  ibid.  commentary  

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