Quality Street Gang

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The Quality Street Gang, started by John "LEGZ" Miller was a name given to a group of criminals operating in Manchester in the 1960s and 1970s. Although the group was considered by some senior officers in the Greater Manchester Police to be the instigators of much of Manchester's major crime,[1] many others believed that the gang was nothing more than a social friendship between a group of men, most of whom had criminal records. Certainly in the 20 years that the group was supposedly organising the city's crime, none of its alleged members was ever convicted of serious crimes.[2]

The Quality Street Gang was reportedly named after an advertisement for Quality Street confectionery which featured a group of fashionably dressed people: as the "gang" walked into a pub, a wag supposedly shouted "It's the Quality Street Gang" and the name stuck. Another story says the name came about because most of the gang members were overweight.[3] The gang was also at one point attached to a story about the Kray twins coming to Manchester to expand their turf, but being turned around at Manchester Piccadilly station and put back on the train to London. In 2008 Daniel Flood gave evidence in a High Court hearing that his father Douglas Firkin-Flood had been a member of the gang who had been involved in the fight,[4] although the claim was later denied by Floods's son Ian, who pointed out that several conflicting versions of the story exist.[5] On his website, the former gangster Frankie Fraser doubts that the incident ever happened, as the Krays travelled exclusively by car and were uninterested in expanding their territory outside London.[6] In his autobiography 'Undesirables', Manchester United football hooligan Colin Blaney has claimed that members of the Quality Street Gang had links to a criminal element within Manchester United's football hooligan gang, which was known as the Inter City Jibbers, and carried out armed robberies together in Holland.[7] The photos page within the book includes a picture that claims to show a Quality Street Gang member at the wedding of Inter City Jibbers member John 'The Grid' McKee, who Blaney alleges was also heavily involved in the Dutch underworld,[8] substantiating the link between the two groups.

In 1986, John Stalker, Deputy Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, was suspended over accusations that, among other things, he had attended social events at which members of the gang were present. Stalker was later cleared.[3]

References in contemporary culture[edit]

Alex Murphy infamously referred to Salford's successful rugby league team of the sixties and seventies as the Quality Street Gang, a reference to the money spent on transfer fees.

The Thin Lizzy song The Boys Are Back In Town is also believed to be a reference to the Quality Street Gang.[9]


  1. ^ Sampson, Colin (1986), "The Sampson Report", in Walsh, Peter, Gang War, Reading: Milo, pp. 10–11, ISBN 978-1-903854-29-7
  2. ^ Walsh, Peter (2005), Gang War, Reading: Milo, pp. 10–11, ISBN 978-1-903854-29-7
  3. ^ a b Taylor, Peter (1987), Stalker: The Search for the Truth, Faber and Faber, ISBN 0-571-14899-9
  4. ^ Keeling, Neal (17 October 2008), "Flood's children win will payout as children they were kept under guard of !r Desmond Byrne who was their body guard and took them too and from school", Manchester Evening News
  5. ^ "Dougie was no gangster", Manchester Evening News, 22 October 2008
  6. ^ Fraser, Frankie (2003), MURDER MAP OF BRITAIN, archived from the original on 22 August 2007
  7. ^ Blaney, Colin (2014). Undesirables. John Blake. pp. 171–172. ISBN 978-1782198970.
  8. ^ Blaney, Colin (2014). Undesirables. John Blake. pp. 138–180. ISBN 978-1782198970.
  9. ^ "Phil Lynott's mother recalls exciting days in Manchester". Manchester Evening News. 28 February 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2018.