Passing sentence at Manchester Crown Court, Judge Andrew Blake condemned what he described as “the worst night of violence and destruction suffered by Manchester city centre since the blitz”.
12 Rangers fans were convicted of various offences.
All, but one of them received custodial sentences.
Did the judge mention the Blitz?
Yes he did.
Did he compare the Rangers supporters to the hated Hun?
Yes he did.
Luftwaffe FC anyone?
I am, of course, not referring to the team, but to the eleven heroes in the dock who were taken down for their part in the mayhem that Rangers fans visited upon a British city two years ago.
The judge has been criticised for using the reference to the Blitz.
However but for the intervention of an ex-member of HM Forces this awful night of Rangers violence could have cost a policeman his life.
Mr. Tom Bardsley saw PC Mike Regan being battered on the ground.
Ignoring the obvious danger to himself he intervened.
He pushed a Rangers thug away before grabbing Pc Regan and pulling him down the street.
The father-of-one, from Openshaw, Greater Manchester had just left an Internet cafe in Newton Street when the violence broke out.
He said he saw a man running towards Pc Regan “aiming a kick” and jumped into action.
Mr Bardsley, who served in the 26 Engineer Regiment at Bulworth Garrison, said he had served in a number of war zones but had witnessed nothing like the scenes in Manchester.
“I would describe it as wolves who had not been fed for days. I did not think of any danger to me just the safety of others and making sure everyone was getting out okay,” he said.
“I knew that if no-one was going to get him (the officer) he wasn’t going to make it. I thought ‘sod it’ I did not care that bottles and bricks were being thrown at me. The adrenaline just kicked in.”
“The next day the city centre looked like a scene from Basra – like a bomb had hit it. I was angry that the Rangers fans had done this.”
Now here is an ex-squaddie that should also be given the VIP treatment at Ibrox.
I’m sure Simon Weston would agree.
Just consider Sapper Bardsley’s choice of words.
Like a bomb had hit it……………..oh dear.
A pack of wolves……………………..oh dear.
Obviously some decent Rangers fans will be upset that a member of their armed forces is comparing their fellow Light Blues fans to pack animals.
In less than two weeks the dignified ones will be back. As with in 2008 they will be drunk and wading up to their knees in Fenian blood.
Hopefully the Hate Crime Unit of GMP will be out with their video cameras.
The police have insisted that there is a dignified convoy by way of Wigan straight to Old Trafford then back out again.
Now the destroyers of Manchester are whimpering about their human rights being trampled upon by a police force that they were quite prepared to literally trample upon in Piccadilly in May 2008.
Are these the least self-aware people in Western Europe?
This is, quite possibly, the ONLY way to transport large numbers of Rangers supporters anywhere and guarantee that there will be no major civil disorder.
As the fine fellows were led down to start their sentences Scottish voices could be heard from the public gallery:
“F*** Manchester! F*** Pc Regan and Goodwin as well!”
This is the sort of media coverage that even PR companies can’t stop.
A multiple court appearance after rioting in a major city after a European final is going to find it’s way into even the most craven and venal print media.
Even the “Laptop Loyal” are embarrassed to ignore the following statement by a judge in a British court:
“The riot police were deployed in full riot gear and struggled to contain the trouble and restore order. What followed was the worst night of violence and destruction suffered by Manchester city centre since the Blitz.”
Like Rangers imminent day in court for their, err, tax strategy, this one is very difficult to spin and stay on message.
One thing that has emerged from the spin the official Laptop Loyal numerical value on this chaos.
Only two hundred out of the millions that were peacefully there.
Just look at the CCTV footage on the BBC website.
A GMP spokesperson the next day said that the police did battle with 1800 Rangers fans.
Can you think of ANY major European city that would welcome Rangers supporters in large numbers?
No, me neither.
Best we move swiftly along until the next incident of “heavy handed policing” involving Rangers.