15 May, 2008

You Can Take the Boys out of Scotland.........

Let’s get the fundamentals out of the way now: Zenit St Peterburg are the new UEFA Cup Champions after defeating Rangers 2 – 0 in a game where unfortunately the Scottish side rarely threatened. Having dumped ‘certain winners’ Bayern Munich out of the competition in the previous round 5 – 1 on aggregate, you can’t help but feel that the Russian outfit probably deserved the title, but after a thrilling series of matches to reach the final, I think everyone in the STT editorial office was kinda hoping Walter Smith’s men had just enough left in the tank to do the business, and then press on for a historic treble.

Unfortunately the game has already been forgotten, with focus instead on a whirlwind of violence in host-city Manchester that lasted pretty much all day yesterday, culminating in more than 40 arrests and a stabbing. Manchester Police chiefs were quoted today as being “sickened and disappointed” after Rangers fans ran amock through the city centre, with more than 100,000 supporters reportedly making the journey down from Glasgow. In a display of unforgivable naivety, beer was made available on tap from off-licences, with supporters also carrying crates of cheap lager around from as early as 7 am when the supermarkets opened. With fans spending hundreds of pounds on travel and accommodation to just be in the city to watch the game in designated ‘fan zones,’ spirits were understandably high all day, but when a “technical hitch” killed a big-screen TV set up in Piccadilly Gardens area, thousands of drunk fans started kicking off with rival supporters, each other, and then ultimately the Filth. The screen was pelted with bottles, as were riot police when they moved in to try to squash the beef.

One Russian fan was then knifed in the back outside the City of Manchester stadium just before kick-off, while rucks with the police continued throughout the night. Bloodied yobs were snapped throwing chairs and tables at police in full riot gear: “Hundreds of fans rushed at the police who charged back at them,” an on-looker described. “It was a war zone. There were bottles flying everywhere and guys getting dragged to the floor.” Witnesses said the situation descended quickly after a Rangers fan was hit by a passing minicab, sparking anarchy as angry and wasted fans shattered the motor’s windows in a frenzy. Yobs continued to smash the front of a Boots chemist as things exponentially worsened; cars were wrecked in the streets and there were widespread reports of looting. Calm was restored after five hours of battle lines between fans and riot police, but the city streets are still covered in cans of beer, broken glass, blood and urine.


Truth Hurts said...

Why does the Writer infer some supposedly MEANINGFUL LINK between brutish behaviour and Alcohol consumption?

Tell me: if these same "yobs" were soaked up to their eyeballs in the strong-stuff, and a ROARING LION stood in their path, do you mean to tell me that their supposedly alcohol-benumbed senses would STILL have caused them to challenge it?

Is it not therefore more factual, that the Human Being that can STILL manage to respond to cognitive restraints to save his own lathered skin, should similarly be able to CONTROL his animal-like abandonment to brute behaviour, (...and deemed LIABLE for deliberate infraction of same!...) which is only and EXACTLY that these perennial "boys" from Scotland took the opportunity to INDULGE IN!

chalovesmonkeys said...

There may not be a meaningful link between alcohol consumption and brutishness, but what's clear is that a number of pissed dickheads kicked off in Manchester, which is very sad for the game. Whether they would still be dickheads while sober is not clear, but highly possible.

If these lads came across a ROARING LION, then I think they would go ahead and have a row, pissed or not.

Iain said...

"with focus instead on a whirlwind of violence in host-city Manchester that lasted pretty much all day"

Utter nonsense. Were you even there?

The trouble was minor and the overwhelming majority of supporters witnessed and were involved in no trouble at all. I was in various parts of the city throughout Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and saw only people having fun.