‘I was punched and knocked out’
A MAN was left with a broken ankle after a brawl erupted at Castlefield Bowl during the screening of England’s World Cup semi-final against Croatia.
Thomas Key, 24, needed surgery after he was knocked unconscious shortly after Croatia’s first goal on Wednesday night.
The bartender, from Ashtonunder-Lyne, was among 8,000 football fans at the sold-out event.
Thomas was taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary after he was punched twice in the face and knocked to the floor. He said he was hit after a group of men became ‘very rowdy’ following Croatia’s 68th minute goal.
Security staff kicked the men out before police arrived. No arrests were made. Speaking to the M.E.N. from his hospital bed, Thomas said: “I just remember shortly after Croatia scored, seven of them started getting rowdy.
“There were a few girls in our group and I didn’t want them to get involved so I stood in the way.
“I took a few punches to the face, my jaw is aching.
“I took one more and then I fell to the floor.
“I woke up on a stretcher with a broken ankle.
“My friends say I fell unconscious for a few minutes, I don’t remember going to the floor.
“I was taken to hospital and they were kicked out so I can’t remember what they looked like. Until the attack there was a brilliant atmosphere.
“I was hugging strangers and celebrating with people I don’t know.
“That is what football is all about to me - meeting people and having fun - not violence.”
Thomas, who was due to complete a triathlon in October, had to have a metal plate put in his ankle, which will take six to eight weeks to heal.
A GMP spokeswoman said: “Police were called just after 8.40pm to reports of fighting.
“The men had already been ejected from the venue when police arrived and the case is now closed.”
Thomas Kelly in hospital
Thomas Kelly in the Manchester 10k run in May