Shocking new details have emerged of the attack by Liverpool supporters on the Manchester City team coach ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League tie at Anfield.
Liverpool – who won the game 3-0 – have been charged by UEFA following the shocking scenes that left the bus carrying Pep Guardiola and his players damaged so badly that it was not fit to take the City squad home again.
And a disturbing new video shows how quickly the trouble erupted as the City vehicle approached the Liverpool fans lining the streets close to their famous stadium.
Manchester City’s bus ended up under a barrage of missiles before they faced Liverpool
Pep Guardiola’s men were forced to make their way to ground through a deluge of projectiles
The four-minute video is noticeable for the almost constant thud of objects striking the bus’s windows and bodywork. Over the course of the film the bus is struck dozens of times with beer cans appearing through the haze of red pyrotechnic smoke to crash in to the front windscreen.
This undermines any notion that the attack was only the work of a handful of fans.
As the situation deteriorates the closer the City vehicle gets to the ground, conversations between the driver and club support staff are heard with one voice saying: ‘They (Liverpool) knew this was going to happen’ and another saying: ‘We will have to get a new coach for going home’ and ‘they are f*****g scum bags..I hope the world is seeing this….it is the s******t city in England’. There is also reference made to beating Liverpool ‘twenty nil’.
The bus was left with a splintered side window and damage to the front window also. The driver says on the film: ‘That one has a hole in it but it won’t go through. It is designed to protect the people inside. But it has still shattered the outside. I cant see out of that one.’ Sportsmail can reveal that the City team bus was also attacked by fans as it left Anfield after a Premier League defeat in April 2014.
A source who was on board that day said: ‘It was terrifying. This brings memories back’.
This newspaper also understands that the possibility of City supporters attempting reprisals on the Liverpool coach will now become a key part of Greater Manchester Police’s match planning ahead of Tuesday’s return leg.
Footage from a video shows the view from inside the Manchester City coach on Wednesday
Serious concerns have been raised about why City’s bus came up under a barrage of missiles before Wednesday’s game amid fears over the prospect of revenge attacks.
It can also be disclosed that City’s players waited for around 25 minutes in the place their coach was targeted earlier in the evening while club medics raced to the aid of a female Liverpool supporter struck in a suspected hit-and-run.
Guardiola and his players sat patiently on their replacement vehicle close to the Arkles pub – scene of the flashpoint – while staff tended to the injured woman in the road.
Witnesses say the medics, in City tracksuits, treated the female, who had suffered injuries to her side, ribs and leg. They added that they spoke to her about the match, putting her at ease until paramedics arrived. City then continued to Manchester.
City are known to be grateful to Liverpool for their support in the aftermath of what happened on the streets close to the stadium. However, privately they are ‘deeply unhappy’ with Merseyside Police’s role in what unfolded, given what they feel was ample prior warning.
On March 19, Sportsmail revealed that City would express their unease to police in Liverpool after it emerged a group of supporters planned a hostile reception for their bus.
A poster circulating on social media urged fans to gather in the streets close to Anfield and arrive armed with ‘banners and bangers, pints and pyro’ to ‘scare ’em back to Mancland with their tails between their legs before the match even starts’. That message appeared to have got through, as City’s coach was pelted with cans, bottles and flares, leaving two windows smashed and two police officers injured.
HOW THE ROUTE WAS CHANGED
Manchester City’s bus route was changed by police due to safety concerns over building work on the approach to Anfield.
Police announced the changed route a few hours before kick-off in a bid to control crowds on the roads outside the stadium.
Guardiola sarcastically thanked officials at the stadium for their protection after getting off the damaged vehicle. On the morning of the match, Merseyside Police had released a statement, shared by the club, advising the public that the route to be taken by both teams’ coaches had changed for safety reasons.
However, they strongly refute that this encouraged the hostile scenes which followed. A source within the force pointed out that they did not want to create the risk of a surge from the original route to the new one once the changes became apparent.
They added that they wished to be transparent with supporters and stated there was little alternative than to change the route and keep the public informed.
The source also said the logistics of Anfield – surrounded for the most part by rows of terraced houses – make it impossible to quietly usher coaches in. While City did not wish to comment, senior officials feel that not enough preparation was done, that the threat of trouble was not dealt with effectively and that the situation could – and should – have been avoided.
One well-placed City source said: ‘It looked like a war zone. They did not have control of the situation. It was totally mismanaged and something you could see coming a mile off.’
Liverpool, who apologised to City and offered them their support, were charged by Uefa on Thursday over their fans setting off fireworks, throwing objects, acts of damage and crowd disturbances. The case will be heard on May 31.
One City source said: ‘It looked like a war zone. They did not have control of the situation’
The events will cause a headache for officers in Manchester for the second leg. Extra resources may well be deployed to avert a repeat scenario. The logistics of the Etihad Stadium, which features a tunnel under which away coaches arrive, while the home team goes to the main entrance, should prevent similar scenes.
The incident is the latest chapter in what is an increasing rivalry between the clubs. When the teams met close to the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, the City bus was attacked by bottles and stones on the way out of Anfield following a 3-2 defeat many thought had handed Liverpool the title. At the same match, City insiders said they failed to get a pre-match referee’s buzzer to tell them to leave the dressing room.
As a result they were almost late on to the field and some blame the rush that ensued for their slow start, which saw their hosts go 1-0 up inside six minutes. The insider added that Liverpool claimed the buzzer was broken.
Merseyside Police launched an investigation on Thursday into what went on and appealed for camera phone footage to aid their probe. Match commander Supt Paul White said: ‘What should have been a celebratory event for thousands of people was spoiled by a number of people who threw bottles, cans and pyrotechnics.
‘Their actions will not be tolerated by Merseyside Police and we will do everything in our power to find those responsible and put them before the courts.
‘We know many people were filming the events with camera phones and ask that anyone with footage of the projectiles being thrown send it to a dedicated email address so that it can be reviewed: firstname.lastname@example.org