December 12 2013 Latest news:
by Jon Dean
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The boss of a pie shop where Napoli football fans went on the rampage – smashing windows and leaving one man in hospital – ahead of their team’s Champion’s league clash with Arsenal says police must now answer serious questions.
Paul Campbell, owner of Piebury Corner, in Holloway Road, wants to know why up to 50 of the Italian club’s hard core supporters – known as Ultras – were allowed to tear though his restaurants brandishing bars and swinging belts as they attacked customers.
The thugs marched through the streets of Islington with scarves covering their faces and chanting, before running amok through the cafe, which was packed with families and children.
He said: “There was no police presence and it seems like there was no intelligence from the Italian club. Why were these people allowed to roam the streets of Islington?
“I was playing records on a portable record player outside the shop when this group came walking past. They were screaming and shouting at us in Italian, then they just went for us – it was a completely unprovoked attack.
“There were families sitting around eating and the Napoli fans started picking up chairs and threw them through the window.
“Everyone was trying to get away. We copped it worst because we were in front. I was pinned up against the window, and one fella who was with his son got a nasty cut to his head. I think he’s still in hospital.
“It was really scary – all that was going through my mind was those Tottenham fans who got stabbed in Rome last year. This was a very similar situation and the Italian Ultras have a bad reputation. I thought they were going to start pulling blades. I have been going to live football for 45 years but I have never seen anything like it.” The hooligans ran off when they heard sirens in the distance.
“The police didn’t come until 20 minutes later,” said Mr Cambell.
“They need to answer some serious questions. These fans had a reputation, their faces were covered by scarves, singing in unison in Italian. Why was a group this size allowed to walk the streets un-monitored? That would never happen for a Premier League game, but European nights seem to be a free for all.
“Then to rub salt into the wound, when they left the ground they were directed back past the shop.”
Eyewitness Jesse Peacock said: “I saw a crowd and they instantly squared up to the queue. They stormed the place in one movement, chairs and tables went through the window. One man I saw inside the shop was covered in glass and pie. Police should have been escorting the mob.”
Piebury Corner was closed yesterday but is expected to re-open today.
Mr Campbell added: “The staff are still in shock. I’ve no idea how much this will all cost yet. My main concern is with the people who were injured.”
Police confirmed that no one had been arrested in connection with the incident.