Arsenal caught jersey on the hops as boozy Cologne fans

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So this is how it feels to be there when the English turn up, to be over there when we go over there. On a night of confusion, anxiety and some mild outbreaks Authentic Martin Maldonado Womens Jersey of violence around the Emirates Stadium, London had a taste of what it feels like to be caught on the hop by thousands of boisterous, tribal, boozed-up football fans in search of a space to call their own for the night.First the good news. Arsenal’s Europe League match against Cologne did eventually go ahead, delayed to a 9.05pm start after massive congestion problems outside the stadium. Tens of thousands of confused and anxious football supporters mingled on the concrete walkways around the ground without losing their heads or becoming violent or coming close to the kind of problems severe overcrowding can cause. Inside the stadium, where an estimated 20,000 Cologne fans gained entry, the scene was fevered and edgy but largely peaceful as supporters intermingled in the stands. It really could have been so much worse given the numbers involved, and given the state of garrulous all-day intoxication of the Cologne fans who seemed to have spent most of Thursday drinking high-strength Belgian lager in various spots around central London.
In the most fraught moments leading up to kick-off police riot teams could be seen snaking through the huge crowd at the turnstiles, and some arrests were made after a group of Cologne fans tried to storm one of the entrances. There were scuffles among the visiting fans and some nasty moments in the away end in the delay before kick-off as those with tickets in other parts of the ground tried to force their way into the main mass Authentic Mike Trout Youth Jersey of Cologne fans and fought intermittently with stewards. Eventually the police arrived, hundreds of extra officers having been scrambled to deal with a situation that appeared to have caught them on the hop a little.
something unusual was building. Cologne are one of the Bundesliga’s most boisterously supported big-city clubs and their fans have been in a fever at their first European campaign in 25 years. Warnings of a massed ticketless invasion had been circulating ever since the draw. Only this week Arsenal had issued a warning to fans not to travel without tickets. A spike in memberships taken out in Germany had been reported and new German-based ticket applications refused.Forewarned, then. But not apparently prepared. As north London yawned its way grudgingly through Thursday afternoon’s preliminaries a massed phalanx of the travelling supporters army marched and sang and lit fireworks and thundered its way slowly from Oxford Street to Holloway Road. Perhaps police could have intercepted them further from the Authentic Nolan Ryan Youth Jersey ground. Surely they could have been there in larger numbers at the start.
By six o’clock a surge of German fans appeared to be simply wandering around the stadium, mingling with commuters, blocking out side streets. It felt good natured, if a little claustrophobic. Last week there were roadblocks and police horses in west London to tackle 1500 travelling Millwall fans. Here two hours before kick-off a lone officer could be seen energetically pointing an endless procession of chanting fans away from the wrong side street turning.As the bridges leading into the ground were closed and news emerged of the delay to kick-off rumours circulated of German fans buying Arsenal scarves in the club shop to gain entry to the home ends. Some said Cologne fans had been allowed to sit in their ticketed seats alongside the home fans, but instructed not to cheer if their team scored – a fanciful piece of rumour–mongering that went out of the window the moment Jhon Córdoba scored a spectacular opener after nine minutes, drawing leaping celebrations all around a genuinely fevered Emirates. Arsenal fans leapt to their feet Authentic Steven Matz Youth Jersey in turn, urging some stewards to expel the away fans in their midst. Everybody kept their head, just about.What could Arsenal have done differently? What is the correct protocol for dealing with 20,000 boisterous people turning up in your corner of the city demanding entry? In the past England fans and the English media have been critical of police abroad kettling or herding or even lobbing gas canisters. Here the visitors were largely well behaved, the response of police and club sensible, if a little strained.
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