Islington football violence sparks plea for extra protection by police

Fears have been raised ahead of Arsenal's Champions League clash with Borussia Drotmund Pic: PA/Mart

Fears have been raised ahead of Arsenal's Champions League clash with Borussia Drotmund Pic: PA/Martin Rickett - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Residents have demanded extra protection against violent football thugs as Arsenal prepare to face a team whose fans previously caused havoc in Islington.

Smashed bottles were scattered along the streets while the stench of urine hung in the air after fans of Borussia Dortmund ran amok before and after their club played the Gunners in 2011.

Children were forced to walk to school through the mess and residents fear the violence could be worse following an attack on a restaurant by Italian hooligans before Arsenal’s match against Napoli two weeks ago.

Piebury Corner, in Holloway Road, had its windows smashed as marauding Napoli thugs attacked innocent families tucking into a pre-match meal.

Mel Massey, 39, who lives in Ambler Road, told the Gazette she was worried about the German fans returning on October 22 – particularly in the wake of recent violence.

She said: “Generally we have no problems with Premier League games, but the European nights can be tricky.

“What happened at the Napoli games was upsetting as I know one of the girls who works at Piebury Corner.

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“The council and police need to make sure we don’t have the same problems as before, or else there will be trouble for them.”

Cllr Paul Convery, Islington Council member for public safety, hit out at the level of policing for the Napoli game and called for more officers to work on European match nights.

He said: “There was intelligence that aggressive supporters were going to attend the match. What we want is a spine of policing to deter anything from happening.”

“We have said to police that we want better surveillance of people coming into the country and more officers ready to respond at quick notice.”

Cllr Convery said he was working with a group of residents to speak to police about improving support on the night while also revealing the council was preparing its street cleaning teams for the clean-up.

He said: “Borussia fans left a big mess in the middle of Islington last time and we are preparing our street cleaning teams to be ready.”

Ch Insp Simon Prince, match commander, said: “For the Napoli game 257 officers were deployed to police the game. So far over 300 police have been assigned to the Borrissia Dortmund match and it is anticipated extra resources will be added.

“As for Piebury Corner itself, at present, additional police resources have been deployed to the Holloway Road area and to the vicinity of the shop.

We are fully aware of the football culture of Dortmund fans in respect of pre-match rituals and we have plans in place to ensure that supporters of both clubs enjoy themselves within a well policed environment.

“As for the travelling of ‘hooligans’, there are many measures employed by authorities in this country as well as others, which are not just specific to this forthcoming game. Such measures include the ‘signing-on’ at police stations, at a time during a match, of individuals subject to banning orders and the use of police ‘spotters’ at train and bus stations and airports. Spotters also travel to matches.

“We are in regular contact with our colleagues in Germany and working in close partnership with Arsenal FC to try to ensure that the game passes without any major incidents.”