Violent gangster and footy hooligan once knocked out five each with single punch

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Legendary Manchester hardman Paul Doyle made his reputation in a single night at the city’s Pips nightclub in the early Seventies.

In quick succession, he knocked out five people who fancied their chances against him, each one felled by a single blow from Doyle's tattooed fist.

Inked across the bruised knuckles that had delivered such devastating knockouts was ACAB, an acronym for "all coppers are b******s", although he's punched a great many more villains than coppers in his long criminal career.

Detectives in the city knew him as a "handy lad" from Salford who was not to be messed with. One, after viewing CCTV of Doyle knocking someone else out, said "it was one the best punches I've ever seen".

The 5’8” ex-gangster spoke exclusively to the Manchester Evening News about his "One Punch" nickname, saying: "I pounded punch bags five hours a day when I was young. I mastered the art of fighting.

"I never really had to go into second or third gear. I was 14 stone of muscle. I learned how to throw a knuckle punch.

"People were queuing up to fight me because they thought I was an easy target. I was taking them all out. And the ones I took out early were the lucky ones."

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From that moment, the underworld legend of 'One Punch Doyle' was born. He was a gangster, a drug dealer, a robber, and a Manchester United hooligan in a criminal career that spanned five decades, much of it spent at Her Majesty's pleasure.

He bought an extensive property in 2004 – shortly after being released from a seven-year sentence for drug dealing.

Doyle admitted: "When I came out of prison and started having gang warfare with Massey and the Noonans, I surrounded myself with hooligan lads who used to fight with the police and other hooligans every week. I surrounded myself with them for my own protection. They became gangsters."

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At the time he bought the house, Doyle had never had a job and was claiming benefits along with his wife, who falsely claimed to be a £200,000 executive to secure a mortgage.

However, between 2012 and 2014, after struggling to meet the £3,000 a month repayments on the mortgage, Doyle became involved in a series of major wholesale drug deals unravelled by surveillance operations involving police across the country which culminated in that raid at the home in 2014.

He's been behind bars ever since.

Currently, Doyle is incarcerated at Thorn Cross, an open prison in Warrington, as he serves the remainder of a 16-year prison sentence handed to him in 2015 for plotting to flood the north with vast quantities of heroin, cocaine, cannabis, and amphetamines worth £300m.

He warns young people hoping to footsteps that the game is a lot harder these days.

"Now, you are walking straight into prison," he said.

"The police are too clever. You are walking straight into a long prison sentence. That sort of crime has come and gone and the police have won the war."

He hopes to be released on licence next year and the years spent inside appear to have softened him – now a 63-year-old grandfather, he is writing a book about his life of crime, has ambitions to set up a gym business.

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  • Crime
  • Drugs

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