FIVE Sheffield Wednesday football hooligans who went on the rampage in London’s West End in scenes likened to the hit film The Football Factory are today facing jail.
Frightened tourists ran for cover as the men clashed with another gang of supporters and fought a running battle in broad daylight in the middle of Leicester Square.
Trouble involved Wednesday fans visiting the capital for a match against Queens Park Rangers.
The Londoners, who had been watching Chelsea’s match against Manchester United on a big screen, responded by hurling chairs, bottles and ashtrays.
CCTV footage from Yates’ Wine Bar and the Moon Under Water pub, as well as local authority cameras, showed the two groups gesticulating provocatively and punching and kicking each other. Cameras captured fans throwing objects including a concrete post.
Owls fans Jonathan Fisher, 25, of Middle Lane, Malin Bridge; Adam Marshall, 19, of Ranworth Road, Bramley; Kevin Morris, 47, of Springwater Avenue, Hackenthorpe, Martin Broadley, 23, of Deerlands Avenue, Parson Cross, and Matthew Schofield, 22, of Manchester Road, Stocksbridge, appeared at Southwark Crown Court in London yesterday.
QPR supporters Jack Quinton, 25, his brother Ben 23, Matthew Ayley, 24, Jamie Gough, 25, Frankie Sims, 25, Brian Johnson, 24, Lee Merrett, 24, Andrew Cocks, 24, and Jason Mackley, 24, all from south-west London and Surrey, were also in court – but the men were dealt with in separate hearings to avoid possible violence in the dock.
They are all due to appear again today to be sentenced.
Prosecutor David Durose said trouble erupted on the afternoon of April 3, 2010.
He said the London fans had met in Leicester Square to watch a match between Manchester United and Chelsea, which kicked off at 12.45pm.
By 4.15pm they were drinking in Yates’ Wine Bar. The Wednesday fans were in the nearby Moon Under Water.
Mr Durose said: “It appears from the footage obtained by the Crown the incidents of violence may well have been instigated by the Sheffield group but the Crown’s case is that at the very least the London group had ample opportunity to withdraw from the incident. But instead they reacted with their own unlawful violence.”
The fighting spilled out into the square and the two groups exchanged punches and kicks and threw metal chairs and glasses at each other.
Jack Quinton grabbed a weighted concrete post from nearby roadworks and threw it first an unidentified male in a black top, then at Broadley, narrowly missing him.
In his police interview, Ayley described the fight as “like something out of The Football Factory” – the hit 2004 film about Chelsea hooligans starring Danny Dyer.
The CCTV from outside Yates’ Wine Bar showed members of the public running away.
Mr Durose said: “The outside area of the bar was fairly full and most of the customers were oblivious to the situation until missiles began flying.”
The Quintons, Ayley, Cox, Gough, Johnson, Merrett, Fisher, Marshall, Merrett, and Schofield all admitted violent disorder while Mackley, Sims, and Broadley, admitted affray.
Fisher, Marshall, Morris and Schofield are subject to football banning orders preventing them from attending any match in England and Wales.