FIVE Sheffield Wednesday thugs who went on the rampage in London’s West End have been jailed for their parts in the “serious and unpleasant eruption of violence”.
Frightened tourists ran for cover as the Owls fans fought with a group of Londoners in the middle of Leicester Square last April.
The Wednesday supporters were visiting the capital for a match against Queens Park Rangers, but became embroiled in a fight with men watching Chelsea’s match against Manchester United on a big screen.
CCTV footage from Yates’ Wine Lodge and The Moon Under Water pub, as well as local authority cameras, showed the two groups making provocative gestures and punching and kicking each other, while cameras also captured fans throwing objects including a concrete post.
The fighting spilled out into the square, with the hooligans throwing metal chairs and glasses at each other.
Owls fans Jonathan Fisher, 25, of Middle Lane, Malin Bridge, Adam Marshall, 19, of Ranworth Road, Bramley, Kevin Morris, 47, of Springwater Avenue, Hackenthorpe and Matthew Schofield, 22, of Manchester Road, Stocksbridge, were each sentenced to eight months’ imprisonment.
Another Wednesday supporter, Martin Broadley, 23, of Deerlands Avenue, Parson Cross, was jailed for three months.
The seven Londoners, believed to be Chelsea supporters from the south-west of the city and Surrey, were handed sentences ranging from seven months in jail to community service.
David Durose, prosecuting, said: “The violence may well have been instigated by the Sheffield group, but at the very least the London group had ample opportunity to withdraw from the incident. But instead they reacted with their own unlawful violence.”
In a police interview, Londoner Matthew Ayley, 24, described the fight as “like something out of The Football Factory” – the hit 2004 film about Chelsea hooligans.
Mr Durose added: “The outside area of the bar was fairly full and most of the customers were oblivious to the situation until missiles began flying.”
Sentencing, Judge Deborah Taylor said: ‘This was a serious and unpleasant eruption of violence. The bar was full of families with young children, who were clearly frightened.
“No-one was seriously hurt, but that was down to chance rather than design.”
The thugs all admitted violent disorder or affray. Fisher, Marshall, Morris and Schofield are subject to orders banning them from football matches in England and Wales.