Female Reds fan hospitalised after Neo Nazi attack

By Evan Short

BY Evan Short e.short@belfastmediagroup.com
Cliftonville fans in Hungary this week for their team’s Champions League tie have spoken of their shock at a Neo Nazi attack that left one female supporter needing stitches after she was hit in the face by a bottle.
A 40 strong mob set upon travelling Cliftonville supporters ahead of the North Belfast club’s away tie with Hungarian side Debrecen on Tuesday night (July 22).
The North Belfast News understands the injured woman, who suffered a wound to her forehead, has been released from hospital and was making her way to Budapest before flying home.
Speaking from Hungary, supporter Paul Duffy said there was widespread shock when the gang appeared and started attacking fans just as they were about to make their way to the stadium for the match.
“It was around 4pm and there were 50 or so Reds outside a pub called the Rock Bar– families, women and children – and the place was bedecked with Cliftonville scarves and banners.
“A few of the local ‘ultras’ had been sniffing around so the police came over and asked if we wanted an escort to the ground.
“We said we were okay and then literally, just as they left, around 30 to 40 guys came out of nowhere in balaclavas and ski masks.
“There was a frenzy for about a minute and they were throwing bottles and glasses and everything. We think they were after the Cliftonville banners but it was awful. One girl was hit full in the face with a bottle. She was injured above the eye and had to be taken to hospital. She missed the game but is okay now.”
Paul says there was no doubt their attackers were Neo Nazis.
“They were fascists – low life fascists, but the local people were brilliant with us. They were disgusted with what had went on.”
Fellow travelling fan Brian Smyth from the New Lodge said there was a lot of shock amongst the fans.
“They just appeared in ski masks dressed all in black and started swinging. It was scary.”
The fans were given a police escort to the stadium after the attack, but there were no further incidents.
“It’s just one of those things. Cliftonville fans have a good reputation. We are gutted for the girl but it wouldn’t put me off coming back to Hungary,” he said.
Brian added the attack did not overshadow the trip, which he branded as a memorable highlight in the club’s history, despite their 2-0 loss.
“It shows you how far the team have come that we were disappointed with the result. This team are three levels above us but our defence was magnificent. It took them to the second half of the second leg to score which shows you how good a defence we have.”
The result means Cliftonville have left the Champions League tournament after falling to professional opposition for the second year in a row. Last year Celtic defeated them at the same stage of the competition.

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