HeadLine: Football: Aberdeen violence linked to Chelsea
The Mirror, 21/01/2002, p51 & 52
by SHAUN MILNE and GRAHAM TIBBETTS
INFAMOUS Chelsea thugs were last night blamed for the hate-fuelled wave
of violence which erupted in the Scottish Premier League match between
Aberdeen and Rangers.
Around 40 members of the Chelsea Headhunters arrived in Aberdeen on
Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
Last night a senior Scottish police source revealed that although none
of the 14 people arrested gave addresses outside Scotland, the
notorious fans from west London were prime suspects.
A high-ranking officer told the Mirror: “Our inquiries are still
ongoing, but yes, we believe that the trouble we saw did involve fans
from England, specifically from Chelsea. At the moment we are still
trying to identify those involved and would appeal for anyone with
information to contact us.”
Crowd trouble forced referee Mike McCurry to take the players off the
pitch for 17 minutes during the first half of Saturday night’s game.
Aberdeen striker Robbie Winters was hit by a coin before he could take
a corner in front of the Rangers supporters and that sparked an
attempted confrontation by a gang of home supporters.
They spilled out of the stand behind one goal and tried to move down
the side of the pitch to confront their rivals.
Rangers supporters tried to meet them halfway but were prevented from
doing so by 50 officers in full riot squad gear who had filed into the
A total of nine fans were injured as a result of the riot, while two
were taken to hospital. A police officer also received treatment for
The shocking scenes of violence were among the worst seen at a match in
Scotland for more than a decade.One of the key factors that has linked
Chelsea yobs with their Ibrox counterparts is the fact that both clubs
have been targeted by right-wing extremists.
Chelsea’s Headhunters number around 100 – most of whom are in the
British National Party – and are often recruited by other clubs for
battles with rival fans.
Fans in the Rangers end of the ground were clearly seen making Nazi
salutes at Saturday’s game, while it was suggested some fans even wore
England football tops.
Senior police chiefs working in conjunction with the National Criminal
Intelligence Service were tipped off that hooligans were going to
strike at Pittodrie Stadium in Aberdeen.
That is why riot police in full battle dress were already waiting in
the wings prepared to respond to problems.
There were 13 arrests outside the stadium prior to the game kicking
off, and one inside Pittodrie itself. Most were for charges of
breaching the peace.
One police source told the Mirror: “It’s fair to say there was a
collective sigh of relief after it was all over.
“Make no mistake, this had the potential to become a major incident.
There could have been a serious degree of violence at the game.”
Grampian Police have set up a team codenamed Operation Consul and will
be working closely with senior officials from Aberdeen Football Club as
they trawl through CCTV footage to pick out those involved.
Categories: Daily Mirror articles