Is It Worth Following Your Team Abroad?
As a Newcastle United fan I have seen the mighty Magpies play in 17 countries, and some of the most memorable moments of my life have been on the road following my team.
BUT ... I have seen the other side of the game, and endured some vicious attacks from foreign supporters in far flung fields that would make your toes curl.
I had a gun put to my head in Belgrade; attacked (for no reason) by riot piolice in Barcelona with battons; ambushed in Sofia and Budapest; hit with bolts and bricks in Athens and Dublin; and treat like dirt in Milan and Brugges.
Is it all worth it? Often I wonder.
And hearing that Tottenham fans have been attacked in Italy by knife-wielding hooligans, leaving two seriously injured in hospital, has me wondering even more. Trouble flared ahead of the Europa League game between Tottenham and Lazio in Rome, and it brought back memories of out trip to Rome when Newcastle played Roma.
Lazio and Roma fans are supposed to hate each other, yet the joined together to have a crack at us as we toured the city the night before our fixture.
Today Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported scenes of "urban warfare" erupting in the early hours of this morning shortly after 1am in the Campo de Fiori with up to 100 "Ultras" - notorious troublemakers - attacking a band of Spurs fans.
Ten were left wounded with two stabbed, one of whom was believed to be critically ill.
The violence is believed to have occurred at the Drunken Ship pub as fans of the London club were enjoying a drink.
The newspaper reported the Lazio fans were armed with knives, baseball bats, belts and knuckle dusters and they went on to "destroy" the venue.
One witness told the paper: "We feared the worst."
It is believed police made some arrests at the scene.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office confirmed they were investigating.
Source: Newcastle United Mad
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