Football is big business, and it doesn't come much bigger than Manchester United - but in the shadow of Old Trafford a black economy is growing to rival the commercial power of the official sales channels. This is an inside investigation of the Manchester Grafters - touts, black marketeers and general shady dealers - who, led by "Big Tommy", have come up with a remarkably successful money-making venture: Scum Airways. With the expansion of the Champions League came the opportunity for the Grafters to move from ticket touting and producing "unofficial" replica kits into the independent travel business. Travel Free is the airline for those who, through choice or because their police records prohibit them, do not travel with the official clubs. Their customers include many Leeds supporters, arch-rivals of Man U, but Tommy's core clients are "The Lads" - die-hard 30-something football hooligans. "Scum Airways" follows the exploits and adventures of Big Tommy and his team of Grafters as they continue to build their empire. John Sugden infiltrated the gang and provides startling insights into professional football's burgeoning black economy.
John Sugden has written many sports books, including FIFA and the Contest for World Football and the acclaimed Badfellas (with Alan Tomlinson). He is a Professor of the Sociology of Sport at the University of Brighton's Chelsea School.