A dossier compiled by the Manchester Evening News revealed that "the menace of football hooliganism is far from extinct," according to Mike Keegan of the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws show police had to deal with a catalogue of booze-fuelled hooliganism at ManU and Man City games last season including:
- Fights in pubs, grounds and stadium car parks.
- "Sickening chants" about the Munich air disaster.
- Supporters storming turnstiles and forcing entry into sold-out matches.
- Gangs of "racist fans" converging on the city from Europe.
The revelations come as the Home Office "is set to announce a rise in the number of incidents of violence and disorder at football matches last season." ManU's "liveliest" fixture was former Manager Alex Ferguson’s last in charge -- the final game of the season at West Bromwich Albion. Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts, who oversees many of the force’s football-related operations, believes the dossier "reinforced the need for police to remain vigilant." He said, "Over the years we have been extremely successful in reducing the numbers of disorder at football matches. But football hooliganism has not been solved and just because it is not on as wider scale as it has been in the past we cannot afford to rest on our laurels" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 8/26
ManU "has claimed a record 63,000 season-ticket sales." The figure "is made up of 55,000 actual season tickets, as many as the club makes available, plus and additional 8,000 hospitality packages" (PA, 8/26). ... UEFA "has launched disciplinary proceedings" against Bundesliga side Schalke following trouble during Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against visiting Greek side PAOK. Schalke said on its website "the allegations against the Royal Blues concern the alleged display of political banners, crowd trouble and late submission of team sheets." Schalke "is seeking legal advice and will plead not guilty" (AP, 8/23).