Page last updated at 10:42 GMT, Friday, 16 May 2008 11:42 UK

Glasgow 'ashamed' of Uefa riots

Steven Purcell
Steven Purcell had been a guest at the final

The leader of Glasgow City Council has admitted he was "ashamed as a Glaswegian" of the violence that marred the Uefa Cup Final in Manchester.

Writing in the Manchester Evening News, Steven Purcell said he would do everything possible to ensure those responsible were caught and punished.

Mr Purcell stressed that he believed Manchester's planning for the showpiece final had been "spot-on".

A Russian fan was stabbed and 15 police officers injured in the trouble.

Mr Purcell, who had been in the City of Manchester Stadium to see Rangers lose 2-0 to Zenit St Petersburg in Wednesday night's final, said he had been "appalled" when he later saw photographs and video footage of the violence that erupted in the city centre among a section of the estimated 200,000 Rangers supporters.


The only people to blame are the mindless minority who acted in the irresponsible, idiotic and violent ways we have all witnessed

Steven Purcell
Glasgow City Council leader

In the most disturbing scene, a mob of Rangers fans attacked a lone police officer who had tripped and fallen. He escaped without serious injury.

In the open letter to the people of Manchester, Mr Purcell said: "I, as a Glaswegian, am ashamed of the behaviour of some people on Wednesday night and I know there are many other Glaswegians who feel the same way.

"Newspaper photographs and television coverage of people verbally abusing police and stewards, and in some cases attacking them, are appalling and very disappointing."

Some fans have blamed poor organisation by Manchester City Council and Greater Manchester Police for sparking the trouble, which first flared when a giant screen, that had been put up to allow ticketless fans to see the game, failed about 15 minutes before kick off.

Destruction and violence

But Mr Purcell insisted: "Manchester is not to blame for what happened. Rangers Football Club is not to blame for what happened, the vast majority of Rangers supporters are not to blame for what happened.

"The only people to blame are the mindless minority who acted in the irresponsible, idiotic and violent ways we have all witnessed.

"The event was well staged, the supporters inside the stadium created a great atmosphere and, although for Glasgow's sake I would have preferred a different result, the game was exciting.

"I think it is a great shame that all that has been forgotten because of the unacceptable behaviour of a mindless minority."

Mr Purcell said he hoped the violence would not sour relations between Rangers and Manchester, which he had always found a "warm and welcoming city".

He added: "Any help that the city of Glasgow, Strathclyde Police or Rangers Football Club can give the authorities in Manchester to get to the bottom of what happened and identify those responsible, we will give.

"Glasgow is just as keen as Manchester to see the people responsible for this destruction and violence to be caught and brought to justice.

"These people do not represent Rangers and they do not represent our city. We want to see them punished for their behaviour."


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