1)There is no excusing such illegal acts as assault and vandalism. I join the list of Glasgow Rangers supporters who have apologized for the disgraceful scenes on Wednesday. I hope that they are named and shamed.
2)I admit that I myself could not join the police to take the responsibility of working at such events. I believe also that our society have a duty to assist with self-policing, and moral and vocal support of our officers.
3)I also accept that the Rangers support have a definite ned (chav) element to their support. However, I feel that this is also in common with many other UK football clubs and simply reflects the current aspect of Yob culture that also exists in our wider society. This is not specific to Rangers, Glasgow, Scotland, Manchester or any other social group of the UK. Our politicians have a duty to toughen their stance on crime and punish those individuals who are found to be guilty of such crimes.
5)Make sure that the big screens work!
6)There is a big difference to the Old Firm and other UK clubs. The Old Firm support (and followers of the Scotland national team) will travel to support, with or without tickets. I personally only managed to get uefa tickets at the last minute, but we would have been down in anycase. We would have had a few beers, enjoyed the atmosphere, spent a lot of money and behaved responsibly. Perhaps an idea for the future, is for there to have been far more Scottish police officers – I believe there was 25 from Glasgow. They understand our psyche and know what to expect from Scottish football fans – by and large good banter – and I believe would have reacted more in tune with the Scottish visitors.
I was in the city centre about 11pm, shortly after the game. The bars were closed, we could not get a taxi or a bus and so had to walk to our hotel in Oldham – about seven miles I believe! As a result of there being nothing else to do, there was a mass number of people in the centre, simply standing around the street. Everyone was watching the riot police and dogs. All it takes is one yob to throw a bottle before you have a riot and it surely only a matter of time before this happens if only as a matter of boredom. This is not an excusable act – but we do believe that a Scottish force would have forseen this consequence. This is not a criticism of Manchester police, merely a suggestion that they call upon greater resources and assistance from the like of their Scottish colleagues.
If your city is hosting such grand scale and international events then they have a duty both to welcome and accommodate the visiting supporters. Ask Glasgow who hosted the Champions League final a couple of years ago (I was there and the atmosphere was incredible! Very similar to Manchester on Wednesday daytime) and we all hope that Moscow follow this act this coming week. If you do this, then your area will generate a large income in what would otherwise be a quiet May weeknight.
5)If you are expecting 100,000 visitors then they need toilets and bins! Waste skips in each of the corners of each fanzone would have helped. There should also have been hundreds of toilets (if its not viable to stage in the city centre, then move to a park or a nearby stadium like Old Trafford). In anycase, I don’t believe that Manchester can have any complaints about the mess – I am sure that some of the multi-million profit can be allocated to the clean-up. Nevertheless, given the night-before disruption, I would have appreciated it if some of Rangers high profile players had been able to help with a small part of the cleanup. This would have been a fantastic goodwill gesture and – more importantly – two fingers up to the yobs who had smashed the windows!
Summing up, yes Scots like to drink. However, I feel that this is a cop out for explaining the action. Had I been able to get in a bar, I personally probably would have been drunk by the end of the day. But, I wouldn’t have looked for a window to smash or a cop to fight. It is the yobs that we need to punish, not the decent citizens, local and visitors. With this belief in mind, I am concerned that your council has opted to cancel the parade and big screens for Manchester United.
I myself will be back to Manchester (actually tomorrow!! Because of work) – I hope that your city welcomes me as much as they did on Wednesday. I am proud of being both Scottish and British, and I also hope that the next time that our football teams travel to England, that we have all learned from the experiences of last week.
In the meantime, I wish United all the best for Wednesday evening – you have by far and away, the best UK team and deserve every success that you get.
Best Wishes, Adam