For a long time, the Spanish media labelled fans of English clubs ‘hooligans’ before they even arrived in the country ahead of European matches.
That’s changed a little over the past year or so, perhaps because the claims were receiving negative reactions, and because fans of Premier League clubs were behaving no worse than those from other countries.
But the sentiment still holds, and is ready to jump out when given the chance.
After a minority of Liverpool fans behaved like idiots in Barcelona on Tuesday, the word is back all over the Spanish media.
Countless newspapers and websites are angry about the behaviour of ‘hooligans’.
Catalan newspaper La Vanguardia has a headline saying: ‘Hooligans of Liverpool in Barcelona threw a tourist and a street vendor in a fountain’
They say six supporters of the Merseyside club were arrested for ‘public disorder’ after Plaza Reial ‘was flooded with hooligans with beers in hand’.
They also point out that it’s ‘striking’ the perpetrator wasn’t youthful, having grey hair.
It’s claimed beer cans and other items were thrown at police.
El Espanol are also surprised that one of the Liverpool followers responsible was ‘of advanced age’.
El Periodico say the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalonia’s police force) will be out in strength on Wednesday following yesterday’s incidents. Police in Spain have a history of being heavy handed with travelling football supporters and unfortunately it would appear the mindless minority have given them a further spur to action.
Clashes between Barcelona and Liverpool fans aren’t expected, it’s said that the ‘typical’ result of ‘hooligans’ drinking too much is the biggest concern. There are May Day protests in the city today, and it’s thought regular crowd control officers will deal with that, whilst anti-violence police are being sent the way of the travelling fans.
El Periodico report two employees at the Plaça Reial hotel needed medical attention following trouble.
There’s a further worry about fans arriving today who ‘will start to drink when they leave the taxi’.