Tottenham confirm fans injured in Lyon bar attack
PUBLISHED: 06:55 21 February 2013 | UPDATED: 15:53 21 February 2013
Three Tottenham fans sustained “minor injuries” when a group of up to 50 masked men attacked a bar on the eve of tonight’s Europa League game in Lyon.
Spurs revealed this morning that three supporters caught up in the siege were injured, and said arrests had been made by Lyon police in relation to the incident.
A Tottenham spokesman said: “Club officials attended an incident last night in Lyon. A group of around 50 people confronted fans. The situation was dealt with and arrests were made within the hour. Three fans sustained minor injuries and received prompt medical assistance.
“Spurs officials and stewards will be in the city throughout the day, along with matchday French police ahead of kick-off.”
Eyewitnesses said the group of attackers smashed doors and threw cast iron chairs, wooden objects, and a flare in to the Smoking Dog pub in Lyon while up to 150 Spurs fans were drinking in the establishment, which is popular among ex-pats in the French city.
It is the second time that Tottenham fans have been targeted by in an attack in the last three months.
In November, fans of the club were ambushed inside a pub in Rome on the eve of their game against Lazio.
Eyewitnesses inside the Smoking Dog said the thugs attacked the bar twice from around 10.20pm last night.
Landlord Dave Eales, from Retford, said: “The front of the pub, which is made up of reinforced glass, was attacked by 20-25 people.
“They threw projectiles through the windows. There was a stand off. They didn’t get in to the bar. Then it calmed down. Then they came back a second time and it all started again.
“There were three injured Tottenham fans taken away by ambulance. One of them had a head injury. I’m not sure how bad it was.”
“Drips of blood”
Far-right thugs were blamed for the knife attack on Tottenham’s supporters in Rome and two eye-witnesses claimed the attack could have had an anti-Semitic motive.
Spurs fan Christian Radnege, who was in the bar at the time of the attack, said: “They came in making Nazi salutes. It was frightening.
“Rome was fresh in everyone’s minds. Everyone realised this was serious.
“They left and then we thought that was it, but five minutes later it started again.
“The intruders did not get in to the bar because it was full of Spurs fans. There were drips of blood left in the bar. The owners barricaded the pub between the two waves of attacks.”
Tottenham fan James Taylor drove through the night from his home in Ilford to attend tomorrow’s Europa League second round second leg clash.
He has no doubt that this was not a random attack.
“It was pre-meditated, pre-arranged. It was nothing to do with Spurs fans,” he said.
“We were in the pub having a few drinks at about 10pm. There were about 150 Spurs fans singing. It was all in good nature.
“Then there was a bang. We ignored the first one and there was a second one, suddenly. The windows were smashed and stools were thrown into the pub. We ran back to hide.
“We were stuck in the back of the pub for about half an hour. We were worried. No Spurs fans were violent or too drunk.”
Mr Eales, 42, bought the pub in 1995. He attended last week’s first leg at White Hart Lane, which passed off without incident, as a Lyon fan and had invited Spurs supporters to his bar while in London.
He says that he had anticipated trouble may occur, and that he had told the Lyon police much earlier this week.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of an attack on British nationals in France and are offering consular assistance.”