Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Mob launch attack on restaurant

Napoli supporters gesture ahead of the Champions League Group F soccer match between Arsenal and Napoli at the Emirates Stadium in London, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Napoli supporters gesture ahead of the Champions League Group F soccer match between Arsenal and Napoli at the Emirates Stadium in London, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A restaurant favoured by Arsenal football fans has said to have been attacked by rival Italian supporters before this evening's Champions League clash.

Piebury Corner near the Emirates Stadium in north London has had to close after dozens of thugs tore through the building smashing windows, breaking chairs and swinging belts.

Witness Emily Gould, who works at the eatery, said around 50 customers were inside the premises, on Holloway Road, when a 30-strong mob of rival supporters stormed the building prior to kick-off.

She said: "I think they were Italian men with Napoli colours and scarves tied around their faces.

"They were shouting something in Italian, chanting and causing trouble down the street.

"Then then came in to the shop. I was terrified. They started swinging belts around.

"The customers were very frightened."

Ms Gould said many of those already inside Piebury Corner ducked for cover as the rival fans entered.

She said one man had to be taken to hospital with what she believed was a deep gash to the head after he was struck by a swinging belt buckle.

"There is blood all over the floor," the employee said.

"We have been told by police we cannot clear up yet because of the investigation.

"There is a lot of damage to the shop. The tables and chairs are wrecked."

Piebury Corner owner Paul Campbell said the attack was "completely unprovoked".

He said: "We have had Napoli fans inside all day today, they have been having a good time and not bothering anybody at all. They have been no problem.

"Then we had a minority of them come in, being violent, picking up chairs and tables.

"There were three girls sat near me and these thugs just came in and grabbed the chairs from under the girls.

"It was completely unprovoked, I think they just picked us at random because they saw a busy restaurant and they wanted to fight someone - anyone."

Mr Campbell said he had no reason to suspect any trouble from Napoli fans before kick-off.

He said: "We are popular with home fans and the travelling European fans too. This just came from nowhere."

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