A TOTTENHAM Hotspur supporter had an emergency operation after he was left fighting for his life when he was stabbed during an attack, allegedly by a gang of Lazio fans.
Ashley Mills (24) who was in Rome to see his team play, was caught up in the violence on Wednesday night in which nine others were injured, after a group of around 50 hardcore fans – known as "Ultras" – wielding knives and other weapons, smashed their way into the Drunken Ship pub in Rome's Campo de Fiori, which was being used by Spurs fans.
Hospital staff said he was now out of danger but had needed 20 stitches. His friends said they were afraid to go to the match.
"We feared the worst," one Tottenham fan, Robert, told reporters. "There were more than 100 of them, some with their heads covered. A group of them stayed outside and surrounded the place so no one could enter or leave," he added.
Two other Tottenham supporters, Stephen Tierney (46), and Dave Lesley (47), were among the nine British people known to have been hurt.
They have already been discharged with light injuries to the face and head. An American, who was not a Spurs fan but was caught up in the violence, was also stabbed.
Landlord Marco Manzi said the gang, which was "obviously organised", descended on his American-owned bar at around 1am. He said: "The bar was full of about 30 English supporters. Most of them were aged between 40 and 50 and they were well behaved. Then arrived what I presume were Italian supporters wearing scooter helmets with their faces covered with scarves, carrying stones and rocks."
He added: "They arrived in the pub and attacked the English supporters. Some of the English supporters tried to escape down Via dei Cappellari and it was in this street where one was hit by a knife.
"I think he was quite badly hurt but I don't know any more about him. The whole operation from start to finish was over in around 10 minutes," he added. Police were conducting a forensic examination of the blood-soaked cobbled streets around the bar yesterday.
A police spokesman said: "A group of about 40 or 50 people in motorcycle helmets or with their faces covered were armed and attacked the group of English football fans drinking in Campo de Fiori square." A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are aware of a serious incident involving British nationals in Rome. We are in contact with the Italian authorities and the Italian police, who are investigating the incident and have confirmed there will be increased security measures for the game this (Thursday) evening." (© Independent News Service)
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