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British Soccer Fans Battle on Dutch Ferry

August 08, 1986|From Reuters

HARWICH, England — More than 100 English soccer fans fought a pitched battle today on a luxury North Sea ferry, leaving scores injured and forcing the vessel to return to port.

"The stairway between the seventh and eighth decks of the ferry was literally running with blood," Manchester United fan Tony Cannon, 22, told journalists. He was covered with blood after being hit in the face by a glass.

The Liverpool, Everton and Manchester United supporters were on their way to pre-season exhibition matches in West Germany and the Netherlands when they started fighting aboard the Dutch vessel Koningen Beatrix, bound for the Hook of Holland.

Revenge for March Stabbing

Another Manchester United fan, Westler McGuire, 19, said the fight started when Manchester supporters decided to take revenge for the stabbing of one of their friends last March by rival supporters of West Ham.

Sealink, which operates the service with SMZ, the Dutch owners of the ferry, said none of the other 2,030 passengers were hurt.

A spokesman said damage to the vessel, one of the most modern car ferries in the world, was superficial.

Last year, Liverpool fans were at the root of fighting in which 39 people, mostly Italian fans, were killed during the European Cup Final between Liverpool and Turin's Juventus team in Brussels' Heysel Stadium.

Clubs Banned Earlier

English clubs were banned from competing in European soccer matches after the disaster.

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