Exclusive: An eye-witness account from a Spurs fan in Rome
12:19 22 November 2012
PA Wire/Press Association Images
A Tottenham fan has delivered a shocking eye-witness account of a “planned attack” on a pub in Rome by Italian hooligans.
Violence flared overnight ahead of this evening’s Europa League game between Lazio and Spurs, with at least one English supporter, Ashley Mills, being seriously injured by the notorious “ultras” after reportedly being stabbed in the jugular vein.
Dave Lesley, Stephen Tierney and Christopher Allen have also been named as some of the injured.
A 31-year-old from Enfield, who asked not to be named, said: “We were in the Drunken Ship pub [in Campo de Fiori]. There weren’t actually that many Spurs fans, there were probably about 15 in there. It was more American students and girls.
“There had been quite a few Spurs fans earlier in the evening, around 9pm. The pub’s on a square so a lot of them were outside and there were a few songs, but this all happened about 1am in the morning and there weren’t many of us left.
“It felt like it was a planned attack, as if they’d got together and said ‘right, we know where some of them will be’. But no-one was wearing Spurs shirts. There was one guy with a Spurs shirt on but he was wearing a coat over the top. We know the history and if the pub had been full of club colours we probably wouldn’t have gone in. From the outside you wouldn’t have known what nationality everyone was.
“We heard smashing glass and shouting and then they were pushing through the pub. I’ve read that there were 100 of them or something like that, which isn’t true. It was probably about 30 – you couldn’t fit 100 people in that pub!
“They’d smashed the windows and there was glass on the side of the bar. We were at the back, trying to find something or someone to get behind. People started coughing and we realised they’d thrown gas in through the windows.
“They were wearing helmets and had their faces covered because of the gas. We didn’t see any iron bars, they were just using whatever they could grab.
“When we came outside we saw the Spurs fans lying there, but we didn’t know they’d been stabbed. There were other Spurs fans milling around, trying to get to a main road and find a taxi to get out of there.
“The whole thing went on for about 10 minutes, there was no police at all. We were saying ‘they’ll be here any moment’, but they never came.
“We were lucky, there are some sore throats but nothing too bad. We’ll still go to the game tonight but we’ll stick to using the coaches to get us to the game - but then you think that that’s a target for them because they know where we’ll all be. You start second guessing yourself.
“It’s a lovely city, I’ve been here before, but that was shocking.”