10 years on: Un­seen pic­tures of the day Rangers fans shocked our city

NEVER-BE­FORE-SEEN PIC­TURES OF CITY CEN­TRE CARNAGE A DECADE ON

Manchester Evening News - - FRONT PAGE - By STEVE ROB­SON steve.rob­son@men-news.co.uk @MENnews­desk

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

JOEL GOOD­MAN

Po­lice tackle the Rangers sup­port­ers dur­ing the vi­o­lence

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