James Bannon is an actor and the author of ‘Running With the Firm’, an explosive new book that exposes the truth behind his experience as a young undercover police officer whose mission was to infiltrate Millwall Football hooligans.
James is currently in Edinburgh performing One Man Show – a performance piece based on the book.
1. What made you write this book now, instead of 20 years earlier. What is your current job title?
I didn’t write it earlier as some of the other officers were still working and I didn’t want to compromise there position. However they have now all retired and were keen that the real story was told. I suppose I would now class my current job title as a serial entrepreneur although that does sound a little pompous…
2. Throughout your career as a writer and actor and property developer, did you have a mentor and, if so, who ?
Sadly No which is why I was really keen to take up an Ambassador role with the Princes Trust when offered. I was honoured to be asked and hopefully will be able to impart some of the experiences and knowledge that I have gathered over my varied career paths
3. Are you by nature an optimist or a pessimist ?
Oh that’s an easy one. I am the eternal optimist; the glass is never half-empty it will always be half-full.
4. Who do you most admire and why ?
Mmmm there are many. For me it would probably have to be my Granddad who even after I was expelled from Grammar school at the age of 12 years old told me not to ever lose sight of the fact that I could achieve anything if I believed in myself..
5. What's the biggest lesson you have learned in your career to date ?
Always….. Always go with your gut feel… Intuition is a very under-rated commodity….If you have it use it. The only mistakes that I have made are when I have gone against them.
6. What's your favourite quotation or life motto ?
What Would You Dare To Do If You Knew You Could Not Fail…..?
7. What's the best book you've ever read?
For me it would have to be Fifty Shades of Grey. Since my missus read that my life has never been the same…
ABOUT THE BOOK
‘Running With The Firm’ tells the shocking and true story of how James Bannon, an undercover cop infiltrated the notorious Millwall hooligan firm “The Bushwackers”.
The book tells of an intense and dangerous journey into the heart of the world of hooliganism, where sickening levels of violence prevail over anything else. Bannon introduces the hardest thugs from football's most notorious gangs, tells all about the secret and almost comical police operations that were meant to bring them down, and, how once you're on the inside, getting out from the mob proves to be the biggest mission of all.
A disturbing but compelling read, that deals with the highs and lows of football hooliganism and tells of the moments of violence, sadness, friendship and humour - all exactly as they happened.
Running with the Firm by James Bannon (Ebury Press) £14.99 hbk (available from all good bookshops).
Running With The Firm, One Man Show is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Zoo Southside venue between 4th – 26th August. Performances start at 8.35pm. Tickets cost £10.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
James Bannon is a former undercover policeman, and the original story writer to the feature film I.D of which the film is based on his personal story. ID a story of 4 policeman who go undercover and infiltrate a gang of football hooligans hoping to route out their leaders. The film has gained a cult status and was re-released on May 14th 2012 and stars Reece Dinsdale, Philip Glenister, Sean Pertwee and Lee Ross. The film was originally released in 1995.
James Bannon, known to many as ‘Jamie’ entered the police force at 18 years of age, within 6 weeks he was assigned to a plain clothed unit and on the area crime squad whilst still in his probationary period. At the age of 20 he was posted to a specialist undercover unit within the Metropolitan Police with 3 other officers to infiltrate a gang of football hooligans, hoping to root out the leaders who orchestrated the football violence.
In what was meant to be a short investigation turned into 2 and half years, of which changed James’ life forever, it was an extremely high risk project during which time James’ life was on the line, all in the name of work!
James left the police force at the age of 23, feeling let down by the organisation for not protecting him in the aftermath of this case. Not sure with what he wanted to do with his life, he turned to acting, for this was something he felt, was a route in which he could use the “skills” that he had acquired whilst working as a covert police officer. He has appeared in a number of films, well respected television dramas and comedies and has performed theatre at The Royal Court, The Bush, The National and Edinburgh Festival...
James set up his own property business of which his designs have been featured in the Channel 4 Grand Designs Magazine.
In putting pen to paper to write about his personal story, James has released his passion for writing and has a number of projects in development. He is a keen performer and can currently be seen on the stand-up circuit.
James would like to use his experiences to help others, this is something he is extremely passionate about, and he is honoured to have been made an Ambassador of the Prince’s Trust, a position that can enable him to help young people to overcome their barriers and get their lives working.
‘Running With the Firm’ is James’ first book.
Running with the Firm is published by Ebury Press and is out August 15th.
Available from all good book shops