THE PAIN IN SPAIN
I have literally just returned from my trip to Sevilla where unfortunately crowd trouble marred the first leg of Tottenham's 2-1 UEFA Cup defeat. I had a great view of the situation, but was luckily far enough away not to be involved. The only bit I can't be sure of is why the riot police turned up. I had seen no trouble before their arrival, but when they moved into position their presence seemed to provoke the trouble. Many Spurs fans had the time and space to get away from the situation before it degenerated, but a small handful - maybe 20 - decided to take the police on. Unfortunately some who were unable to get away also ended up being hit by batons; these people included a fan in a wheelchair, someone who slipped as they tried to retreat and a young lady. I make no excuses for those who simply wanted to have a go at the police, but I do feel the situation was badly handled. There were few stewards and no segregation in the stadium - but there was no trouble BETWEEN fans. In the first 20 minutes of the game before the riot police arrived, and in the second half when they were absent, Sevilla and Tottenham fans sat pretty much side-by-side with no hint of trouble. You can see the video footage I managed to shoot of the incident at myspace.com/beautifulgamepodcast and on YouTube at beautifulgamepodcast. (NB: Please be warned you can hear some foul language from some fans nearby).