The English football fan stabbed by Italian thugs in an apparently anti-semitic ambush yesterday said his attackers “came out of nowhere”.
Ashley Mills, 25, was enjoying a drink with fellow Tottenham Hotspur fans at a bar in Campo de Fiore, in central Rome, at 1am when up to 50 masked thugs launched what officials have called a targeted and planned assault.
Mr Mills was stabbed in the leg and head and at least 10 other Spurs fans and bystanders were injured as the hooligans – known as Ultras – stormed the Drunken Ship pub.
A bystander stemmed the bleeding until paramedics arrived and helped to save him.
Mr Mills, who is being treated at the Eternal City’s San Camillo Hospital told the London Evening Standard: “They came out of nowhere. I didn’t see the guy who stabbed me. There were too many of them.”
The builder, from Hutton, Essex, added: “I remember being pulled out, along the ground, after I had been stabbed.”
The attack, which wrecked the pub, happened as Spurs fans prepared to watch their team play Lazio in the Europa League.
Initial reports suggested Lazio fans were exclusively to blame for the assault which was apparently launched with shouts of abuse about the English team’s historical Jewish roots.
Before the match, Lazio club president Claudio Lotito denied his fans were responsible.
But shortly afterwards, as the game got under way, Lazio fans chanted “Juden Tottenham” – using the German word for Jew, and also unfurled a “Free Palestine” banner.
UEFA is expected to decide if Lazio should answer for its alleged anti-semitism, after the chanting.
However, last night, two fans from the city’s other Serie A club, Roma, were charged with attempted murder.
Officers said Francesco Ianari, 26, and Mauro Pinnelli, 25, were in custody and would appear in court today.
A police spokeswoman said: “They have been charged with attempted murder for involvement in riots and causing serious injury with a knife and are due to appear in court soon.”
The bloodshed at the Drunken Ship pub only ended when teams of Carabinieri descended on the popular square after calls for back-up from local police.
Italian teams have a well-documented problem with football hooliganism. Football theorists believe Italy’s fascist Ultras have wanted to identify themselves with English football hooligans of the 1980s when a skinhead, right-wing element regularly disgraced the game.