Monday, September 10, 2007

Two sides to a story

Well this weekend saw a feast of sport descend upon us, European Football qualifiers, Last 1 day test match, and of greatest importance the start of the Rugby World Cup.

But let me start with the European Cup Qualifiers, specifically Latvia v Northern Ireland, which saw a reported 2,500 Northern Irish supporters descend on Riga, in fact Livi Square.

Now it had been reported the these fans had been awarded the title of "best travelling supporters in Europe" - well it appears the UEFA may have to reconsider this as :-

"500 Northern Irish football fans go on the rampage in Old Riga; police arrest six people
RIGA, Sep 8 (LETA)

Last night at about 1.25 a.m., about 500 fans of the Northern Ireland football team went on the rampage at Livu Square in Riga's Old Town, after which five Irish citizens and one Latvian were arrested, the Riga Municipal Police's public relations secretary Inese Timane reported to LETA.

According to police, the riot broke out late into the night, when the municipal police's Old Riga patrol unit spotted a mob of football fans rioting at a summer cafe on the Livu Square, throwing chairs around and smashing plates.The police officers had not acted immediately but called additional forces - two patrol units - who tried to split the crowd in two."It did not help much, as the Irish citizens started throwing things at police cars, and smashed the front window of one police car with a brick."More police reinforcements had to be sent to the venue to deal with the violent crowd, said Timane."

This was presumably because of this :-

Latvian football team defeats Northern Ireland in Euro 2008 qualifier

RIGA, Sept 9 (LETA) - Latvian national football team defeated Northern Ireland 1-0 (0-0) in Group F qualifying game for 2008 UEFA European Football Championship in Riga yesterday.The only goal in the match was an own goal scored by Northern Ireland defender Chris Baird in the 56th minute of the game as he tried to intercept a cross by Imants Bleidelis and sent the ball past the keeper.Both sides had a few good opportunities in yesterday's match; after the own goal by Baird, Northern Ireland had an excellent chance to tie the game at the end of the match, but Jonathan Evans' diving header produced a great save from Latvia's goalkeeper Andris Vanins.The win over Ireland was the first victory for the Latvian team after seven defeats in a row.

Once again our brothers from the UK & Northern Ireland have proved themselves to be outstanding ambasadors, one can but hope that those arrested are spending there time reflecting on their deeds - as ever I can but hope that they hang them out to dry !

Now to show my fairness in reporting both side of a story here are a few excerpts from the Belfast Telegraph on the same story:-

Keep off the grass: fans, not players
Monday, September 10, 2007
By Paul Ferguson

This was a hugely frustrating and disappointing visit to the Latvian capital, but for the Green and White Army it turned out to be an absolute night and an away trip to forget - bad result, overly rough tactics from the local police and locals charging a few extra Lats, whenever they could get the opportunity...............
While some fans
did misbehave the large majority of supporters were terrific ambassadors for their country..................

In Riga walking on the grass of the city's Main Square and singing while heading to the stadium is somehow an offence which deserves the person to be arrested.................
The supporters, all 2,100 of them, to their credit though refused to let all the nonsense that went on in that Main Square on the Friday night and Saturday
afternoon dampen the enthusiasm they have for supporting their beloved country..............

They then left for one final night in Riga - with cheap beer and rather interesting night-life.....

So no mention of 500 rioting fans in Livi square after the game, perhaps Mr Ferguson the intrepid reporter left with the Northern Ireland team !!

For my part I indulged myself on Sunday in watching a nervous Wales, ultimately defeat an enthusiastic Canadian side, So what with Argentina beating France, and none of the UK and Irish teams exactly dominating there games, then there may yet be a few more suprises before the group stages are over.

We are all still coming to terms with the loss of De Lacy's, but the village lounge is doing its best to accomodate us, but it has as yet to become the spriritual home for all the village members - but for now it gets my vote, as even with 2,500 Northern Irish morons in town, upstairs still remained an island of calm.

A number of the hardy village members are currently suffering from the flu, so my sympathies to V.... (Australian/Latvian garage builder) and A.... (English/Bristolian with penchant for Vindaloo) - Both of them sounded and looked like death warmed up at the weekend, so be warned there is a virus out there !

So between virus's all around us, maniacal Northern Irish hooligans, it has not been a great weekend for Riga, but lets look on the bright side :-

Annual inflation in August at 10.1%
RIGA, Sept 10 (LETA) - Consumer prices in August increased 10.1 percent year-on-year, according to the Central Statistical Bureau's data.Prices for goods increased 8.7 percent, and prices for services 13.9 percent.Compared to July, average price level in August increased 0.4 percent.Higher prices for tobacco products, catering services, meat and meat products, thermal energy, and a fall in prices for vegetables and potato had the greatest effect on consumer price change in August.

So its not all bad news !!!!!

All items in italics courtesy of LETA news agency or the Belfast Telegraph

And finally a word to the wise

Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic.


Blogger O'Neill said...

Oh dear....

Another report:

Earlier in the day, the Northern Ireland fans had turned the center of Riga green, setting up camp in the Old Town and downing prodigious quantities of beer while singing their songs, prior to their team’s Euro 2008 qualifying match against Latvia. A few minor scuffles broke out but early reports of “rioting” fans from the night before were greatly exaggerated. Five people were arrested on Friday night – including one Latvian – and a police car was damaged.

Fears that trouble might escalate after the Northern Ireland team suffered a surprise 1:0 defeat to a Latvian team playng for nothing but pride proved groundless. Police spokeswoman Ieva Reksna told the Baltic News Service that the fans there was no disorder in the city on Saturday night. Three drunk fans were taken to a ‘sobering house’ and another was detained for his own safety as he was incapable of giving police his details and no information could be found about him.

From what I've heard from people, who, unlike you,actually attended the game (the *riot* occured the night before the game for your information) this report is closer to truth.

Also not very impressed with Latvian "law enforcement" methods (one middle-aged female friend was battered round the legs for the heinous crime of wallking on the road and numerous accounts of cops lifting credit-cards, mobile phones etc), but what would they know? They're only maniacal Northern Irish football hooligans.

So can I suggest you check your facts next time old chap before indulging in the old stereotyping?


12:01 am  
Blogger O'Neill said...

UK & Northern Ireland

No, no.
Check your passport.
Northern Ireland is still part of the UK.
Difficult catching up with news there?

12:06 am  
Anonymous beano said...

I think it would be only fair if you correct your original post to reflect the fact that the alleged "riots" (500 people my arse) occurred the night before the match and not as a reaction to the hammering. Even the dates (which you include) on the stories should tell you that.

In fact the decent thing would be to retract the entire post. It's nothing but prejudiced speculation and unfit for publication.

7:23 pm  

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