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Thursday, 6 April, 2000, 11:01 GMT 12:01 UK
Tragedy mars match fever
Football violence
Journalists were saddened by images of the violence
As trouble erupted between English and Turkish football fans, Ben Holland, a British journalist working for a television company in Turkey witnessed reactions to the violence at first hand.

"I was working on the night shift when the pictures started coming in.

"It was very surprising. The atmosphere was very, very sad because this was going to be such a glorious occasion for them.



In Turkey, Galatasaray doesn't really have a reputation for bad fans

Ben Holland
"It's the first European semi-final for some years and the whole place was really caught up in it.

"We were all ready to celebrate and now people are devastated and the whole thing is going to be a bit sour.

"There would have been so much hype about the game on television and now the coverage is likely to be quite sombre.

"The English press tend to portray Galatasaray as this "hell", but from what I have seen, it is overplayed.

"To a certain extent, the Turkish fans play up to their image, going out to the airport, waving these "welcome to hell" banners and making a lot of noise.

"And it's the same at the matches - they tend to make it quite intimidating for visitors.

"But, in Turkey, Galatasaray doesn't really have a reputation for bad fans, certainly no more so than any of the other big Turkish clubs.

Airport greeting

"And the violence was particularly surprising, considering the arrival of the Leeds fans was a fairly quiet affair, without the usual airport greeting."

Mr Holland added that the events were likely to raise issues of security.

"It happened right in the centre of Istanbul. It is like Leicester Square and would have been full of people, so it is hard to understand why there would not have been a stronger police presence," he said.

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06 Apr 00 | Europe
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