The landlord of a pub where a group of English football fans was attacked by 50 knife-wielding Italian thugs has described the ambush.
Marco Manzi said the troublemakers, fans of Lazio, stormed the Drunken Ship pub in Rome at 1am yesterday, wearing motorcycle helmets and armed with weapons.
Speaking as police conducted a forensic search along the blood-stained cobbles of Campo de Fiori, Mr Manzi said the Tottenham Hotspur fans were well behaved ahead of their club’s Europa league clash with Lazio in Rome last night.
Italian officials have said the hooligans, known as Ultras, had planned the attack which was “obviously organised”.
Mr Manzi spoke out after his American-owned pub, popular with international tourists, was practically destroyed in the violence.
He said: “The bar was full of about 30 English supporters at 1am. Most of them were aged between 40 and 50 and they were well behaved.
“Then arrived what I presume were Italian supporters wearing scooter helmets with their faces covered with scarves carrying stones and rocks.
“They arrived in the pub and they attacked the English supporters. Some of them tried to escape down Via dei Cappellari and it was in this street where one of them was hit by a knife.
“The whole operation from start to finish was over in around ten minutes. Most of the fans left and the police arrived.”
Bar co-owner Gabriele Cianella added: “They started throwing stones. They threw pieces of iron at the windows and they were wearing knuckle-dusters. After a while they got inside and made all this mess.”
Police in Rome said up to 50 assailants were involved in the raid which brought bloodshed to the popular night-spot – situated in one of the capital’s most colourful squares.
Sources named four of the injured fans as Ashley Mills, Dave Lesley, Stephen Tierney and Christopher Allen. Mr Mills is said to have been stabbed and was seriously ill in the city’s San Camillo Hospital.
Police said a Californian and a Bangladeshi were also injured.