They’re calling it the Battle of Piccadilly:
VIOLENT clashes between police and Rangers fans cast a shadow over Manchester's world-recording breaking UEFA cup party.
An estimated 200,000 Scottish supporters had turned the streets into a sea of blue ahead of their team's 2-0 defeat to Russian side Zenit St Petersburg at the City of Manchester stadium.
But trouble flared after a technical fault meant 20,000 fans gathered at Piccadilly Gardens to watch the match on a huge screen were left with no picture…
…Around 60 officers with riot shields launched a dozen baton charges to force the group back towards the Gardens. Meanwhile police and fans had running clashes on Market Street as bottles were hurled at officers. Elsewhere there were reports of cars being overturned, while six people were arrested after a Zenit fan was stabbed inside the stadium.
There were further baton charges and clashes along Market Street after midnight.
An eye-witness said there were ugly scenes as fans continued to hurl missiles despite being warned to leave the area. They were eventually chased from Piccadilly station approach down towards Piccadilly Gardens as more police vans and Tactical Aid Unit officers arrived.
I don’t think the City Council can plead technical failure here. If you’re going to invite tens of thousands of Glaswegians down to Manchester on a promise of all day drinking and the big match televised live, then technical failure is not an option.
Pat Karney, our lead councillor for fiascos, was all over the local media yesterday complaining because Tesco were selling crates of cheap beer on the street outside their city centre stores, which made me wonder what arrangement the council might have had with the people who provided whole tankers full of booze in Piccadilly and elsewhere. It’s also noted here that the council failed to make any arrangements at all until practically the last minute. Anyway, he’s nowhere to be seen today. But the Leader of the Council is apparently surprised by the fact that if you provide people with beer they will drink it.
I must say that Mrs Treasure, normally no fan of football fans, was quite favourably impressed with the general behaviour of the Huns, even though they’d turned the city centre into a kind of Protestant black hole of Calcutta. If you invite tens of thousands of people from anywhere, you’re going to get more than a few bad lads among them.
Apparently the Council are now saying that they wanted anybody but Rangers to get through to the final. That won’t do either. Rangers they got, they responded to that fact by making a major screwup, and we had ourselves a nice riot. They're just lucky it didn't happen before the election.
UPDATE: The city centre - all of it, from G-Mex to Victoria - stinks of piss. That's square miles we're talking about. It must be the biggest territory marking event ever.