By Alan Duffy
In a retro throwback to English football’s darker days, Blackburn Rovers’ fans have apparently been rioting during their club’s tour of the Netherlands, although it seems as though the host fans have been just as much to blame.
Rovers were meant to be played Dutch side NEC Nijmegen on Sunday afternoon, but the game was called off by the police due to the apparent threat of more violence. A spokesperson from mayor’s office in Nimjengen said:
“We heard from the police (after) there was a Blackburn match against Go Ahead Eagles on Friday night and some supporters got in some incidents in the city of Deventer.
“On Saturday night a group of around 80 supporters of Blackburn Rovers got into a fight with some 30 NEC supporters in our city – probably caused by the Nijmegen supporters and not by the English.
“The police had some information that both the English and the Dutch supporters had threatened another confrontation today.
“With 8,000 people in the park, a lot of families and kids, and a big threat of another confrontation between the hooligans meant the mayor and Nijmegen and the police decided that’s not a good combination so we had to cancel the game for today.”
Paul Agnew, Rovers’ Operations Director said:
“It’s something new to us. We’ve been in the UEFA Cup four times in the last 10 years and never had any problems before.
“We’ve got a very good record of fans travelling abroad. It’s a great shame because a number of our fans will have paid money and taken time to come to these games over the weekend and I feel very sorry for them.”
Not a good start to Rovers’ new season, a season which sees them drop down a division to the Championship. One wonders if we’ll see more fan unrest (and the obligatory “Kean Out” banners) this season at Ewood Park.