10 years on: Unseen pictures of the day Rangers fans shocked our city
NEVER-BEFORE-SEEN PICTURES OF CITY CENTRE CARNAGE A DECADE ON
IT’S 10 years since these shameful scenes of destruction in Piccadilly Gardens took place.
The chaos started after a horde of up to 150,000 Rangers fans descended on Manchester in May 14, 2008, for the UEFA Cup final.
What followed was later described by a judge at the time as ‘the worst night of violence and destruction suffered by Manchester city centre since the Blitz.’
Ten years on, the M.E.N. is publishing never-before-seen images from a night that left Manchester in chaos and changed the way outdoor events were handled.
Thirty-nine officers from Greater Manchester Police were injured and the same number of Rangers fans were arrested for offences including public disorder, assault and possession of an offensive weapon.
Trouble began when up to 20,000 supporters spent all day drinking at a fan zone in Piccadilly Gardens before the match against Zenit St Petersburg kicked off.
Local supermarkets were emptied of alcohol with fans carrying crates of beer into the streets and drinking to excess.
According to a report later released by Manchester City Council, merchandise stalls were ‘overrun,’ frightened staff had fled by 5pm, and ‘the tills were smashed and everything stolen.’ The situation was tense and only a small spark was needed for it to turn violent. That came when a big screen failed shortly before kick off. The council later said it could have been fixed, but Rangers yobs started throwing bottles at technicians.
Riot police were then called in to try and contain the disorder, but they were vastly outnumbered.
Fans fought running battles with cops through the streets, hurling missiles and throwing punches.
Frightening CCTV footage emerged of a small group of officers being chased by a mob of Rangers fans. One of them, Pc John Goodwin bravely stood his ground and was beaten to the floor.
A court later heard how he was kicked and punched unconscious and may only have avoided being killed because fans were unable to pull off his helmet.
Twelve hooligans were eventually prosecuted over the carnage.
Sentencing, Judge Andrew Blake said: “The damage, the filth and the litter was apparent to all who arrived in the city for work the next morning. It had nothing to do with football rivalry”, he added, “and everything to do with drink.”
GMP and the council launched a major review and decided not to erect outdoor screens for Manchester United’s appearance in the Champions League final that year.
When Rangers fans returned to the city for a European clash with the Reds at Old Trafford in 2010, they were held at the DW Stadium in Wigan before the match.
It had nothing to do with football rivalry and everything to do with drink Judge Andrew Blake sentencing the hooligans
Police tackle the Rangers supporters during the violence