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Spurs fans attacked, beaten in Lyon bar

21 February 2013-PA Sport

Three Tottenham Hotspur fans are said to have been taken to hospital in France, one with a head injury, after masked thugs attacked a bar on the eve of the UEFA Europa League match in Lyon.

Eyewitnesses said as many as 50 attackers smashed doors and threw cast iron chairs, wooden objects and a flare in to the Smoking Dog pub in Lyon, where as many as 150 Spurs fans were drinking.

The establishment is popular among ex-pats in the French city.

Tottenham fans were previously targeted by an apparent anti-Semitic attack in Rome.

Fans of the club, which has a traditionally strong Jewish following, were ambushed inside a pub in Rome on the eve of a game against Lazio in November.

Two eye-witnesses claimed the attack in Lyon could also have had an anti-Semitic motive.

One, who did not want to be named, said: "There were 50 who attacked in the first wave and 25 in the second.

"It's a pretty scary thing when you're confronted by people doing Nazi salutes.

"A lit flare was thrown through the window as well as the heavy weight, the kind that's used on terraces to hold down umbrellas.

"It was terrifying. I've never seen anything like it. They threw iron stools through the windows as well."

Smoking Dog landlord Dave Eales said: "At 10.18 the pub was rammed with Tottenham fans watching the Champions League on the television.

"The front of the pub, which is made up of reinforced glass, was attacked by 20-25 people.

"They threw projectiles through the windows. There was a stand off. They didn't get in to the bar. Then it calmed down. Then they came back a second time and it all started again.

"There were three injured Tottenham fans taken away by ambulance. One of them had a head injury. I'm not sure how bad it was."

Spurs fan Christian Radnege, who was in the bar at the time of the attack, said: "They came in making Nazi salutes. It was frightening.

"Rome was fresh in everyone's minds. Everyone realised this was serious.

"They left and then we thought that was it, but five minutes later it started again.

"The intruders did not get in to the bar because it was full of Spurs fans. There were drips of blood left in the bar. The owners barricaded the pub between the two waves of attacks."

Tottenham fan James Taylor drove through the night from his home England to attend the match.

"It was premeditated, pre-arranged," he said.

"It was nothing to do with Spurs fans.

"We were in the pub having a few drinks at about 10pm. There were about 150 Spurs fans singing. It was all in good nature.

"Then there was a bang. We ignored the first one and there was a second one, suddenly. The windows were smashed and stools were thrown into the pub. We ran back to hide.

"We were stuck in the back of the pub for about half an hour. We were worried. No Spurs fans were violent or too drunk."

Eales, 42, bought the pub in 1995. He attended the first leg at White Hart Lane as a Lyon fan, and had invited Spurs supporters to his bar while in London.

He said that he had anticipated trouble, and that he had told the Lyon police as much earlier this week.

"The most disappointing thing is that I spoke to the police a couple of days ago about the potential for trouble because of what people associate Tottenham being," he said.

"There will be a big presence on the match day, but tonight it didn't happen."

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: "We are aware of reports of an attack on British nationals in France and are offering consular assistance."

Tottenham officials said they were aware of reports of the attack.

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