We will all remember the horrific scenes from last year’s Champions League quarter final in Rome vividly. Our fans were beaten by the Italian police force during our 2-1 defeat against Roma and the scenes were there for all to see on live television. This was the only violence our fans endured, with several reds being hospitalised prior to kick off after suffering attacks at the hands of the Roma Ultras.
Several warnings have been issued by the police, which I wrote about earlier in the week. Police chief Carlo Mosc spoke out earlier today, saying, “measures will be adopted. I’m sure it will be a peaceful event. These include 60 stewards from United, extra fencing, a central meeting point and a bus to the stadium. Police officers will be as low key as possible.”
It is expected that around 1,500 United fans were planning on travelling for the game which will count for nothing with the qualification spots for the group already decided. We weren’t alone in feeling less than reassured by the police statements, with Ferguson commenting on the situation today. “We’ve got to be concerned. The problem last time was all their police were in our end instead of being split up.”
The bad news has just broken though, with it being reported that three United fans have been stabbed before kick off. All are said to still be alive, but their condition is unknown. The majority of fans were lead to the ground with police escorts and were protected more thoroughly than last season.
UPDATE: It is now clear that five United fans have been hospitalised following trouble prior to kick off. One is reported to be just sixteen years old. Two of our fans have been arrested.