Riot police deal with hooligan fans as Linfield beat Glentoran
Local football chiefs will once again launch an inquiry into violent scenes at a Glentoran v Linfield match after police had to be called to quell clashes at today’s annual Big Two Boxing Day meeting at Windsor Park.
The Irish FA will examine the referee’s report and gather information from security staff as Linfield beat their Belfast rivals 3-0.
It is the latest in a line of meetings between the clubs that have been marred by crowd trouble.
There were problems at the same Boxing Day game at Windsor Park two years ago and the most infamous game between the clubs in recent years was the April 23 match in 2005 at the Oval when fans rioted on the pitch after former Linfield striker Chris Morgan scored a winner for Glentoran.
Yesterday around 70 Glentoran fans — in a crowd of almost 10,000 — broke through a security cordon intended to stop them from occupying seats on the bottom deck of the North Stand in close proximity to Linfield supporters and proceeded to throw missiles at Blues fans in the Kop Stand.
A series of objects were then thrown between the rival sets of fans, with stewards powerless to break up the violence.
Fireworks were also thrown, coming less than two months after Linfield player Conor Hagan was hit by one just seconds after the final whistle in the County Antrim Shield final defeat by Cliftonville.
Referee Michael McLaughlin stopped the match at half-time.
After a seven-minute delay the match recommenced, but only when police officers in riot gear appeared on the scene.
“I’m not going to criticise Glentoran Football Club or the genuine supporters, but there are people who will connect themselves to any club,” said Linfield manager David Jeffrey.