French police arrest three following attack on Spurs fans
Tottenham have confirmed that three of their fans sustained “minor injuries” in an attack on a pub in Lyon last night.
Up to 50 masked thugs attacked the Smoking Dog pub where around 150 Tottenham fans had gathered on the eve of their Europa League match against the French side.
Spurs revealed this morning that those who were caught up in the attack did not suffer serious injury, and that arrests had been made relating to the incident.
A Tottenham spokesman said: “Club officials attended an incident last night in Lyon. A group of around 50 people confronted fans. The situation was dealt with and arrests were made within the hour. Three fans sustained minor injuries and received prompt medical assistance.
“Spurs officials and stewards will be in the city throughout the day, along with matchday French police ahead of kick-off.”
Eyewitnesses told last night of how the group of attackers smashed doors and threw cast-iron chairs, wooden objects, and a flare into the pub, which is popular among ex-pats in the French city.
Witnesses to the attack also claimed the assailants made Nazi salutes.
It is the second time that Tottenham fans have been targeted by an apparent anti-Semitic attack in the last three months. In November, fans of the club, which has a traditionally strong Jewish following, were ambushed inside a pub in Rome on the eve of their game against Lazio.
Eyewitnesses inside the Smoking Dog said the thugs attacked the bar at 10.18pm on Wednesday night and then returned shortly after to launch another assault on the pub, which was damaged extensively as a result.
The pub’s landlord, Dave Eales from Retford, said: “At 10.18 the pub was rammed with Tottenham fans watching the Champions League on the television. The front of the pub, which is made up of reinforced glass, was attacked by 20-25 people.
“They threw projectiles through the windows. There was a stand-off. They didn’t get into the bar. Then it calmed down. Then they came back a second time and it all started again.
“There were three injured Tottenham fans taken away by ambulance. One of them had a head injury. I’m not sure how bad it was.”
Far-right thugs were blamed for the knife attack on Tottenham’s supporters in Rome and two eyewitnesses last night claimed the attack could have had an anti-Semitic motive.
One, who did not want to be named, said: “There were 50 who attacked in the first wave and 25 in the second.
“It’s a pretty scary thing when you’re confronted by people doing Nazi salutes.
“A lit flare was thrown through the window as well as the heavy weight, the kind that’s used on terraces to hold down umbrellas. ”It was terrifying. I’ve never seen anything like it. They threw iron stools through the windows as well.“
Spurs fan Christian Radnege, who was in the bar at the time of the attack, said: “They came in making Nazi salutes. It was frightening.
“Rome was fresh in everyone’s minds. Everyone realised this was serious.
“They left and then we thought that was it, but five minutes later it started again.
“The intruders did not get into the bar because it was full of Spurs fans. There were drips of blood left in the bar. The owners barricaded the pub between the two waves of attacks.”
Tottenham fan James Taylor drove through the night from his home in Ilford, Essex, to attend tomorrow’s Europa League last 32 second leg clash.
He has no doubt that this was not a random attack.
“It was premeditated, prearranged. It was nothing to do with Spurs fans,” he said.
“We were in the pub having a few drinks at about 10 o’clock at night. There were about 150 Spurs fans singing. It was all in good nature.
“Then there was a bang. We ignored the first one and there was a second one, suddenly. The windows were smashed and stools were thrown into the pub. We ran back to hide.
“We were stuck in the back of the pub for about half an hour. We were worried. No Spurs fans were violent or too drunk.”
Eales, 42, bought the pub in 1995. He attended last week’s first leg at White Hart Lane, which passed off without incident, as a Lyon fan and had invited Spurs supporters to his bar while in London.
He says that he had anticipated trouble may occur, and that he had told the Lyon police as much earlier this week.
He added: “The most disappointing thing is that I spoke to the police a couple of days ago about the potential for trouble because of what people associate Tottenham being.
“There will be a big presence on the match day, but tonight it didn’t happen.”
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “We are aware of reports of an attack on British nationals in France and our offering consular assistance.”