By Chris Wright
AEK Athens beat Atromitos 3-0 in the Greek Cup final on Saturday which, you could be excused for thinking, should really be a cause for celebration.
Not so apparently, as hundreds of AEK hooligans swarmed onto the pitch after the final whistle (which was blown a couple of minutes early due to the swelling tension) and duly proceeded to tear up seats, abuse supporters, attack the Atromitos players and fight off riot police with advertising hoardings…
I’m afraid to say that the footage doesn’t really depict the extent of the AEK hoodlum’s violence, with several reports claiming that several television cameras were smashed and that Atromitos players were forced to defend their families after they had pistols pointed at them in the midst of the furore.
Indeed, Atromitos president Giorgios Spanos later concluded that the riot had ‘set Greek football back by another hundred years’ – and it’s hard to argue otherwise.
It was initially thought that the officials had suspended the final because of the disturbance, though the Greek authorities later allowed the result to stand – eventually allowing AEK to lift the trophy 30 minutes later in a hastily arranged ‘parody’ of a ceremony.