Walking through the streets at 11 O’Clock this morning, a lot of the rubbish might have been piled up and the cleanup operation might be in full throngs, but the blood will remain on the floor of the city centre for a long time to come.
Blame is being placed on the council and the police after last night’s UEFA Cup Final between Glasgow Rangers and Zenit St. Petersburg but why not take a minute to blame the clowns responsible for the violence, their behaviour was selfish and immoral.
This morning I found a keyring on the floor that had been broken off someone’s key chain. It was a picture of a child. The people injured are someone’s loved ones – and the injury count isn’t limited the football fans is it the police as well. The police who were remarkable to walk into the crowd last night and do the best they could when they were clearly outnumbered.
It is all well and good to say the council and the police should have been better prepared in hindsight. But really could any of us have predicted what erupted last night? Between 100 to 150 thousand Rangers supporters turned up in Manchester yesterday – by lunchtime the streets were a wash of blue and the atmosphere was, in no way, a party in progress. My friend said she drove into the city centre and then straight back out again because of the fear that trouble would erupt. There was alcohol everywhere – children were walking down one of the main streets that join Salford and Manchester carrying crates of beers and adults were stopped on the street corners pouring out water from bottles only to replace it with alco-pops.
My favourite sound bite on the news was when a man from Glasgow gave an analogy about it being like if the groom didn’t show for the wedding; I certainly hope if my other half doesn’t show up on the day that I will not then beat the hell out of all my guests. He went on to sympathise with the angry Rangers fans to say they were bound not to be ‘best pleased’. If that’s not best pleased what the hell is angry like.
I would like to say that even after seeing a mountain of blue shirts involved in some of the disturbing scenes from last night, I have no doubt there are a mountain more that are thoroughly ashamed of those responsible for the carnage.
As for Manchester last night the seams were bursting on the city, but they didn’t rip. I have seen masses of people today of all ages involved in the clean up and I take my hat off to them because it is people like that, that do and will continue to keep this city a great place to be.