Yet again English fans feel the wrath of Rome, with eight Tottenham Hotspur fans being attacked, one of them, Ashley Mills, in critical condition after he was believed to have been stabbed in the jugular. Our thoughts are with him and his family at this time.
Dave Lesley, Stephen Tierney and Christopher Allen have also been named as some of the injured.
The violence erupted outside The Drunken Ship on Rome’s Campo de Fiori square on the eve of Spurs’ Europa League encounter with Lazio. This is not the first, and certainly won’t be the last time, that fans will face violence in Italy’s capital.
Lazio’s ‘Ultras’ are seen to be some of the most violent fans on the face of the earth, and although Biancocelesti president Claudio Lotito has distanced the fans away from the incident, I think it’s clear that this is quite the opposite.
Just look at some of the past incidents that have happened in Rome, linking both Roma and Lazio fans to violence.
Go back all the way to the 80s, when Liverpool won the European Cup in 1984, Liverpool supporters were stabbed by Roma fans in the aftermath.
17 years later, Liverpool fans were stabbed in the buttocks after matches against Roma in February and December.
Manchester United fans were victims of stabbings while visiting Rome in April and December in 2007.
An Arsenal fan was stabbed on his way to the Olimpic stadium in March 2009.
A spokesman for Rome police said: “A group of about 40 or 50 people in motorcycle helmets or with their faces covered were armed and attacked the group of English football fans drinking in Campo de Fiori square,” the spokesman said.
“Stabbings are so frequent they are hardly reported in the Italian press.”
“A rival fan is stabbed at nearly every Roma game, but it only hits the headlines if foreign fans are attacked in Rome.” Said Prof Foot.
Devastating comments like this, and with no police action, makes every fan wonder whether he/she will come home. No fan should be under any illusions that they won’t return home.
The city has a reputation as ‘Stab City’, although this causes great offence to local people, it is something that local police and UEFA have to deal with.
Either way, following the incidents in Rome over the past two days involving SPurs fans, it’s time for appropriate action to be taken. A fine and a slap on the wrist won’t cut it this time around, especially when the life of a fellow human being is at stake.