When the going gets tough, the tough come out to play

AUTHOR and reformed football hooligan Carl H Spiers describes Alec Maders as “arguably the greatest character this town has ever known”.

And that’s a large sized compliment from a man whose latest work features some of the most notorious and larger than life people Oldham has ever seen.


Alec Maders

Now Carl has brought them altogether, including Shaw-raised Alec, in his 12th and latest book: ‘Oldham, tough town, tough people’.

The 160 pages also features the ‘Piggy Morgan brothers’, Roger ‘the Dodge’ Barker and big Ste Ward, a member of the Shaw Gawbies football crew.

Alec, who died more than a decade ago, is fondly written about by Westwood-raised Carl.

He says: “I could write a book itself on this great man – he worked hard, played hard, loved many and was loved by many.

“He was the complete deal. His funeral was the biggest I had ever seen, hundreds locked outside.

“Shaw came to a standstill as we said goodbye to arguably the greatest character this town has ever known.

“All Oldham’s main characters and tough men were here to pay their respects and many who are mentioned in this book were there to say farewell to the big feller.”

You certainly wouldn’t want to cross some of Carl’s subjects, which include names such as: ‘Mad Ant’ McHale, ‘Mad’ Frank Ashton and Brian ‘Knocker’ Whitehead.

“I have written a few books about the characters of Oldham and it was suggested to me I do something like this,” Carl told the Correspondent.

“I put the idea out on Facebook and I got a great response.

“There are only a few in the book I had never heard of before I started writing.

“There are some great stories and one big surprise I discovered was how many of the families were linked to each other by marriage.

“There are seven or eight big families covering a quarter of the book.”

Carl is organising a launch for ‘Oldham-tough town, tough people’ on Saturday, April 21 at the 3 Cs (Coldhurst Conservative Club) on Henshaw Street, between 1-5pm.

“A lot of the characters in the book are going to come along,” added Carl.

“But I have had to leave that many out so there will be a second book down the line.”

Carl’s first book came at a time when he was a self-confessed football hooligan, following his beloved Oldham Athletic.

“It was called ‘We Are the Famous Football Hooligans’. I had 600 printed and they sold in three months,” he said.


“But I turned my back on football violence a long time ago.”

Indeed, Carl says he was disgusted by recent crowd trouble that marred West Ham United’s Premier League clash with Burnley at the London Stadium.

“It was timid to what went on in the old days,” he said. “But it was stupid.

“There were children and women around who should have been taken into consideration.

“I don’t enjoy the football experience anymore, I watch it from TV.”

To order a copy of Oldham-tough town, tough people’, costing £15, email Carl: csrlhspiers@icloud.com

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