Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: BAYING MOBS PREYED ON FANS; When Stoke Exploded into Violence against Toon Supporters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: BAYING MOBS PREYED ON FANS; When Stoke Exploded into Violence against Toon Supporters

Article excerpt

Byline: By NICK WHITTEN Industrial Reporter

ONE of the country's fiercest soccer yobs described it as the "most evil" atmosphere he had ever seen.

Stoke-on-Trent's streets exploded into violence the last time Newcastle United played Stoke City in October 1995.

Baying mobs preyed on innocent fans as 6,000 Geordies travelled to the Staffordshire city to watch the Toon win 4-0 in a Coca Cola Cup game at the old Victoria Ground.

Now, 12 years later, the two clubs will meet for the first time since that terrible night of violence in an FA Cup tie on Sunday, with police and fans today appealing for calm.

The appeal follows recent website comments by some fans recalling the violence last time around.

The fierce fighting at the last match was sparked by a false rumour that United supporters had stabbed a little girl.

Stoke fans swore revenge and in all 18 arrests were made on a night which cast a dark shadow over football.

During the ensuing street battles, two Newcastle fans were seriously injured, minibuses carrying supporters through Stoke town centre were attacked and overturned and police came under attack from yobs throwing stones and other missiles.

Mark Chester, one of the founder members of the infamous Stoke hooligan group the Naughty Forty described the violence on that night 12 years ago in his book Naughty.

He wrote: "The atmosphere was one of the most evil I had witnessed in all the years I'd been going to the match."

"It is not acceptable under any circumstances to attack a 'civilian' supporter. Unfortunately that code went up in smoke this night. Most of what I witnessed turned my guts."

"Nobody in Stoke has anything, it's a rundown place with poor mental health and the explosion in a group situation is always on the cards," he added.

"This was one of those nights. Everybody fed off each other, culminating in primeval behaviour.

"The little girl being attacked may have started it, but there were people throwing bricks and fighting who had never had a fight before.

"It was a social message from the downtrodden people of Stoke-on-Trent. …

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