Dainton Connell

Dainton Connell

Dainton Connell (14 February 1961 – 5 October 2007), known as "Denton" or "The Bear",[1] was a noted leader of one of the Arsenal's hooligan firms during the 1980s. Later in his life he served as a bodyguard, minder and manager to the Pet Shop Boys, appearing on albums and in music videos by the duo.[1]



Connell was born in 1961 in Brighton, England. He left school at 16 and became a scaffolder. In 1977, he gained public attention after appearing in a television documentary presented by Janet Street-Porter about skinheads.[2] During the 1980s, Connell was highly active in an Arsenal FC's hooligan "firm" and is named as a "main face" amongst the ranks of Arsenal hooligans at the time.[3][4]

Connell was employed as a bodyguard for the Pet Shop Boys' first tour in 1989. For the next eighteen years, he assisted the duo on tours and appeared in music videos, including "So Hard" and "Jealousy".[5] He also provided additional vocals on "One and One Make Five" on their 1990 album Very.

In 1997, Connell appeared as one of the subjects of Sam Taylor-Wood's piece Five Revolutionary Seconds XIII, after meeting whilst she was directing the Pet Shop Boys' residency the Savoy Theatre.[1] The same year, he was referenced in a flashback scene in the film Fever Pitch.


Connell died aged 46 in a car crash in Moscow in October 2007. His funeral was held at the Mary Magdalene Church in Holloway Road and was attended by 3,000 people. The Pet Shop Boys also performed a benefit night for Connell's family called Can You Bear It?.[1][3][6]

In 2009, a plaque dedicated to Connell near the Emirates Stadium was removed by Islington Council, despite opposition from fans.[7]


  1. ^ a b c d Heath, Chris (22 November 2007). "Obituary – Dainton Connell". The Guardian. guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2007/nov/22/obituaries.guardianobituaries. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  2. ^ Street-Porter, Janet (21 October 2007). "Editor-At-Large: The shameful trial of Kate McCann". The Independent on Sunday. independent.co.uk. http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/janet-street-porter/editoratlarge-the-shameful-trial-of-kate-mccann-397444.html. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Ahmed, Murad (October 19, 2007). "Thousands attend funeral of legendary Arsenal fan". Times Online. The Times. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/sport/football/premier_league/arsenal/article2696597.ece. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Farewell to The Bear. Gooners pay tribute to fan who became folk hero, Camden New Journal, 11 October 2007
  5. ^ "Dainton Connell". The Pet Shop Boys (website). 05 October 2007. http://www.petshopboys.co.uk/news/774/201103. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  6. ^ "Last Night". Pet Shop Boys News Archive. petshopboys.co.uk. 3rd May 2008. http://www.petshopboys.co.uk/news/884/200805. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Osley, Richard (9 October 2009). "Bear’s tribute to be removed". Islington Tribune. New Journal Enterprises. http://www.thecnj.com/islington/2009/100909/inews100909_18.html. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 

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