Anorak News | Spurs fans knifed: Lazio and Roma fans have been getting away with it for years

Spurs fans knifed: Lazio and Roma fans have been getting away with it for years

by | 23rd, November 2012

ASHLEY Mills, 25, from Brentwood, Essex, was with around 30 other Spurs fans having a drink in Rome’s Drunken Ship pub ahead of Tottenham’s match with Lazio. At around 1am, as many as 50 people masked in motorbike helmets and bandanas attacked. Armed with pepper spray, knives, cobblestones, knuckledusters and staves they set about the drinkers. Nine Tottenham fans, including Ashley’s brother Bradley, 30, who had been coughing blood, and an American bystander were also taken to hospital. Mills was stabbed in the groin. The blade severed his artery. His life was saved by 19-year-old Alberto Di Giovanni.

“When I saw what happened, I went to the bar to help. I told the barman to close the shutters to prevent anyone else coming in. I saw the first body. I called an ambulance because he was not breathing well. He was face down, choking on his blood. I facilitated his breathing and turned him over.Three English guys brought Ashley. They said, ‘Help him.’ His leg was bleeding. I held his head and tried to stop the bleeding. I talked to him to try to stop him going into shock. He did pass out three times. He woke up and swore up at me. I said, ‘Keep it coming…’ ”

Why did it happen?

Photos: Lazio fans; Ashley Mills.

The six Italians arrested are not all Lazio fans. Two support Roma: Francesco Ianari, 26, and Mauro Pinnelli, 25. Earlier this month Lazio and Roma fans fought. Now they were together. Why?

Lazio president Claudio Lotito said Lazio fans were not responsible. He added: “There will be surprises on who is really to blame.”

The city has been marred by football violence before:

1984 – Liverpool fans are attacked with knives after match with Roma
1997 – England fan stabbed before match with Italy
2000 – Leeds United fan stabbed before game with Roma. Two Arsenal supporters knived before Lazio match
2001 – Liverpool supporters attacked
2006 – Three Middlesbrough supporters knifed before match with Roma
2007 – Manchester United fans stabbed

Rome is home to violent football hooligans.They keep doing it. They keep getting way with it.

But others sense more than just hooliganism. Spurs have a big Jewish following. Lazio was Benito Mussolini’s team. Gianni Alemanno, the Mayor of Rome,says:

“The theory of anti-Semitism makes the attack even more serious. I hope the magistrates come down hard on the perpetrators of this terrible and disgusting act.”

During the match, Lazio fans sang “Juden Tottenham, Juden Tottenham”. They unfurled a banner that read “Free Palestine“. When the clubs last met, Lazio were fined for their fans making monkey noise at Spurs’ black players. Some Lazio fans are racist and use their bigotry to antagonise.

Will the forces or law and order now act? Gabrielle Marcotti has some background on Lazio:

There’s a dark side to Lotito as well. He was caught up in the Calciopoli [match fixing] scandal in 2006, after which the club were penalised and Lotito banned for four months by a sporting tribunal. He also faced a civil trial over Calciopoli and was sentenced to 15 months in custody, though he has lodged an appeal. And he is appealing a two-year sentence he received in 2009 in a separate trial for tampering with Lazio’s share price.

The Daily Mirror tries to sum up the violence:

Ultra violence: Fascist thugs leave Spurs fan for dead, scream anti-Semitic abuse, but UEFA shrug it off.

The Sun calls them “Nazis”. It ses a “100-strong gang”. Fifty is not enough. The tabloid wants more.

But the thugs don’t seem to need much of an excuse, let alone an ideology. They’re just in it for the violence.

The wonder is why they Rome’s clubs are allowed to compete in Europe? Who will protect Lazio this time? And why?

In Italy, Blitz Quotidiano reports:

The fans of Tottenham Hotspur were attacked because their team represents the Jewish community in London. The raid in the pub “Drunken Ship” in Campo de ‘Fiori should not to be framed as a fight with footballing motivations (Lazio against Tottenham) or nationalists (Italians against ultras hooligan English), but as a racist anti-Jewish attack… The team nickname is “Spurs”. But the nickname of its fans (as in Italy using “hunchbacks” for Juventus) is” Yids “or “Jews”. Tottenham’s “kop” is proud of this nickname, and so it defines itself as a “Yid Army” or “Jewish Army”, which is also the name of the most important group of Tottenham hooligans. Often supporters in the stands wave banners with the Star of David and encourage their players calling them “Jews” or “yids”. This will explain why among the 30 Rome-based attackers were not only Lazio ultras but also AS Roma ultras, given the extent and diversity of anti-Jewish racism in the corners of Rome.

The Gazzetto dello Sport adds:

SPORT? NO, ANTI-SEMITISM – And the investigators by the hour are following the trail that leads to a racist motive beyond football. There are 15 people being questioned by investigators. In fact, between the two sides there had been no previous conflict, except for the minority in London who sang racist chants against Jermain Defoe, Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend. Tottenham, which takes its name from a district of the capital where the Jewish community resides, has a large group of ultra fans called the “Yid army” (Jewish army), and often supporters in the stands wave banners with the Star of David and encourage their players calling them “Jews” or “yids”.

Do we blame football, then? Do we blame racists? Does what you blame for criminality depend on your own prejudices..?


Picture 1 of 13

Blood stains are seen on the cobblestone ground outside "The Drunken Ship" pub in Rome's central Campo dei Fiori square, early Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012. Police say dozens of masked hoodlums attacked Tottenham fans out drinking ahead of their Europa League match against Lazio, sending seven of them to the hospital. Rome police say they detained some of the 50 hoodlums but others got away early Thursday after trashing pub in Rome's Campo de' Fiori square, a popular drinking spot. Blood stained the cobblestones outside the bar, and stools and tables were overturned. (AP Photo/Angelo Carconi)

Posted: 23rd, November 2012 | In: Sports Comment | TrackBack | Permalink