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Rangers thugs jailed for UEFA Cup final rampage

SoccerNews in UEFA Europa League 3 Sep 2010

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A court jailed 11 hooligans Friday over what the judge called the worst destruction Manchester has seen “since the Blitz”, when Rangers fans caused mayhem at the 2008 UEFA Cup final.

Thousands of Gers supporters went on the rampage in the centre of Manchester, northwest England, and fought running battles with police during more than five hours of trouble surrounding the showpiece European final.

Two police officers, in separate incidents, were surrounded, knocked to the ground and kicked amid the violence.

Russian side Zenit St Petersburg beat Scottish giants Rangers 2-0 in the May 2008 event.

However, trouble started earlier in the city centre when a giant television screen failed.

At Manchester Crown Court, judge Andrew Blake jailed 11 of the 12 men in the dock, who were facing charges of violent disorder or assault on police officers.

“The riot police were deployed in full riot gear and struggled to contain the trouble and restore order,” he said.

“What followed was the worst night of violence and destruction suffered by Manchester city centre since the Blitz.

“What came afterwards — the damage, the filth and litter — was apparent to all who arrived in Manchester the following day.

“Many more than these 12 were involved. It had nothing to do with football rivalries but everything to do with drink.

“The anger of the mob was directed at the police doing their best to restore order.”

The longest sentence was given to Scott McSeveney, 22, from Shotts, east of Glasgow. He was jailed for three and a half years for violent disorder and assaulting one of the police officers.

Up to 125,000 Rangers fans, most without tickets, drank pubs and supermarkets dry as they descended on the city centre, the court had heard.

Outside court, police chief superintendent Gerry Donnellan said: “Shameful violence marred what should have been a wonderful football showcase.

“It must have been terrifying for anyone caught up in it.”

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