Thanks to Manchester Confidential
Well it all ended in tears as some Jonahs were predicting beforehand and there have been plenty of recriminations and 20/20 hindsight as to why things went wrong.
The main culprits appears to be the failing big screen and the city council which is a bit rich as:
a) the Rangers fans scared off the technicians sent to fix the screen by hurling bottles etc at them and,
b) there was a Plan B with a spare screen at the Velodrome.
Alcohol has been blamed of course, although with the amount being consumed I’m amazed that the fans could stand let alone riot. For me with 20/20 hindsight, the ultimate cause was having screens and fan zones at all.
Police ‘intelligence’ (marvellous oxymoron that) predicted that 70,000 fans would descend on Manchester and if the city council are at fault it is for taking this at face value. They set up the fans zones to cope with that number of ticketless fans.
A fine example of the unintended consequences when trying to do the right thing. The message from Manchester was: “We know you’re going to come anyway so we will welcome you. We will give you big screens, and we will waive our no drinking on the street by-law. Oh and we will make shed loads of money in the process.”
The unintended consequence was that tens of thousands of fans thought: “Hmm… Cost of a train ticket, a guarantee that I can watch the match with with my mates and drink as much lager as I want. Must be worth a punt.”
And instead of 70,000 fans we got 200,000 plus and the whole thing went tits up. But the council won’t make the same mistake again, oh no. They’ve cancelled plans to have big screens for the Chelsea/ManU set to next week. Thanks a bunch Rangers.
Not that I would have gone into town to watch the game — I’ve got a perfectly telly at home — but now I’m tempted to. To threaten to fall on the city centre on the day, get absolutely plastered and trash the place if I can’t get to see the match. Worked for the Gers.