The York rampage



Here is how Paul Morgan of the Daily Express reported it:

Rioting fans forced Brighton’s match with York to be abandoned yesterday as hooliganism returned to blight English soccer – six weeks before the start of Euro 96.

The trouble – which followed a rampage by Dutch and German fans in Rotterdam four days before – was witnessed by the FA’s head of security, Leslie Walker, and will force a major inquiry.

Several supporters were injured and a woman was carried away on a stretcher atter being hit by a missile.

Hundreds of angry Brighton fans ran on to the pitch after 16 minutes’ play to protest at the sale of the Go1dstone Ground and the Second Division club’s plan to groundshare with Portsmouth. Goalposts were pulled down and an attempt made to storm the players’ tunnel, with wooden stakes and corrugated plastic ripped up anti-thrown.

Police reinforcements arrived to restore order but by this time referee Ian Hemley had called the game off. Five fans were later charged with criminal damage.

FA media manager Steve Double said: ‘We had observers at the game and we view the matter extremely seriously.’

Much more sensationalist in the News of the World:

Rampaging fans turned Brighton into a war zone yesterday in sickening scenes that shamed soccer. The Goldstone Ground erupted into violence as thousands of fans stormed across the pitch – smashing both sets of goalposts and forcing the game against York to be abandoned after just 16 minutes.

Riot police battled to control the mob, and one injured fan was stretchered to hospital as advertising hoardings and metal billboards were hurled into the stands.

FA director of communications David Davies last night promised an immediate investigation.

He said: ‘Everybody who cares about football will condemn behaviour like this, whatever the reason. It is obviously unhelpful that this happened so near to Euro ’96.’

After swarming on to the pitch, fans charged up the players’ tunnel and attempted to smash into the dressing rooms.

The dug-out and tunnel were wrecked as fans screamed for the men who run Brighton – David Bellotti, Greg Stanley and Bill Archer – to quit.

Terrified parents rushed crying children to safety and one distraught fan, June Whiston, 45, sobbed: ‘I’ve been a fan since I was at school but now I’m ashamed.’

You can find video coverage of the abandoned match here:

The match was eventually replayed, surprisingly not behind closed doors. It took place on the morning of Thursday 9th May as an all-ticket match with tickets only available on the day before. A gate of 2,106 saw Albion lose 3-1.

Brighton also incurred a suspended three point deduction, two of which were docked after another pitch invasion, on Tuesday 1st October 1996, in the match against Lincoln.


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