22/04/2024
Home » Battle of Copenhagen: Arsenal-Galatasaray 17.05.2000

Year 2000 when something, truly unique in the history of British football happened: rival hooligan firms(The Herd and Gooners+Leeds Service Crew+Chelsea Headhunters+Rangers+Cardiff+Swansea) travelled over land and sea to Copenhagen, united in their search for revenge, seeking justice for the deaths of what they deemed to be two of their own. In a grander, but still less reasoned, re-enactment of ‘I can bully my little brother, but if you do there’ll be trouble’ the 2000 UEFA Cup final between Arsenal and Galatasaray became the final that, for a day, brought British football hooligans together.

On 5 April 2000, Leeds United fans Christopher Loftus and Kevin Speight were fatally stabbed by fans of Galatasaray in Istanbul; this was the night before the first leg of the 2000 UEFA Cup semi-final between the clubs and the deaths of these two men led, as violence often does, to more violence. Calls were made to postpone the game and those same calls were dismissed.

On the Wednesday at 1:00, Galatasaray fans attacked a bar in Strøget in Copenhagen, where some Arsenal fans were located. The Arsenal fans left the bar to confront the Galatasaray fans, which led to a fight lasting for an hour before riot police managed to control it and arrested four Britons and four Turks. In the fight, Paul Dineen, an Arsenal fan, was stabbed, leading to Arsenal offering fans refunds if they did not want to fly to the game. Dineen was released from hospital later in the day and attended the match as a guest of the Arsenal directors.

In a calculated attack, approximately 500 Arsenal fans attacked Galatasaray fans from behind. This caused a severe riot in the city square, with several restaurant facilities used by fans to fight each other, with iron bars and knives also being used. This lasted 20 minutes before the Danish police attempted to break up the melee with dogs and tear gas. The violence, which included fans from other English clubs and Turks living in Denmark, lasted for 45 minutes. There were further clashes at the airport the day after the game.

After the match approximately 300 Arsenal fans in the Finsbury Park area of Islington in London attacked Turkish restaurants and businesses, with bottles being used to break windows. All of this led to 19 injuries, including 4 stabbings, and 60 arrests with similar events occurring in England and Turkey in the aftermath of the riots.

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