A restaurant popular with Arsenal fans remained closed today after it was attacked by a 'mob' of 30 Napoli fans before last night's Champions League football match.
The group of around 30 Italian supporters stormed into Piebury Corner not far from North London’s Emirates Stadium, swinging belts, smashing windows and breaking chairs.
One man was taken by ambulance to nearby Whittington Hospital after receiving a deep cut to the forehead from a flying belt buckle. Metropolitan police described the incident as “football related”.
With the clear-up getting underway today, restaurant owner Paul Campbell said: “I've looked back at the footage and it is very clear - it was a completely unprovoked attack.”
“I think they just picked us at random because they saw a busy restaurant and they wanted to fight someone – anyone.
“The Arsenal fans were backing away from the trouble, they were trying to get out of the way.”
Witness and member of staff Emily Gould said around 30 men came in while around 50 customers enjoyed a pre-match meal.
“I think they were Italian men with Napoli colours and scarves tied around their faces,” Ms Gould said.
“They were shouting something in Italian, chanting and causing trouble down the street. Then then came in to the shop.
“I was terrified. They started swinging belts around. The customers were very frightened.”
A spokesman for the Metropolitan police said a group of Napoli supporters became involved in a “verbal exchange” with Arsenal fans as they passed the restaurant on their way to the ground.
They said the Napoli fans then turned violent, smashing a window and throwing a number of chairs before moving on.
A man was also arrested in the area for a public order offence, but in an incident unconnected to the damage at Piebury Corner.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said the 48-year-old man who had to be taken to hospital had suffered injuries that were not thought to be serious.
Piebury Corner later used its Twitter feed to reassure customers. It said a “hardcore group” had caused “45 seconds of chaos at around 7pm”.
It said that despite the “totally unprovoked attack”, the damage would be repaired and they would be back to “business as usual tomorrow”.
Arsenal fan Suzy Quiquero tweeted: “Upset about Napoli fans smashing up @PieburyCorner tonight. Being an Italian AFC fan (English born), I'm so very disappointed. Fuming.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police.