I'm lucky to be alive, says PC beaten by football mob

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The Independent Online

A police officer attacked by a mob of Glasgow Rangers fans has described the ordeal as the most frightening of his career. PC Mick Regan, 47, said he was lucky to escape serious injury when supporters of the Scottish side rampaged through Manchester after their team's Uefa Cup final defeat on Wednesday.

Running battles between riot police and hooligans broke out in the city centre. A Russian fan was stabbed and 15 police officers and a police dog were injured.

Fans hurled bottles, cans and rubbish at PC Regan and six other officers before he confronted the pack and was then kicked and stamped on by a gang of 20 fans.

"It was frightening; on a different scale from any other match I have worked in my 23-year career," he said. "I remember moving backwards to try and avoid being hit again but, next thing, I was on the floor.

"I could feel the crowd kicking me in the side but my body armour was protecting me. I could see their feet in front of me even though my head was on the floor. I wanted to curl up but I remember saying to myself, 'I have got to get up''."

PC Regan, a father of two children, suffered bruised arms, a puncture wound in his elbow and sore ribs. He was eventually rescued by two Rangers fans, one an Army medic, who dragged him away from the mob.

"One of them shouted at me, 'I'm British Army, I'm a medic'. He grabbed me by the collar and propelled me up the street. Then one of our vans came round the corner, he threw me in the back of it and off he went. Thank God. I feel lucky. Whoever that army lad was, he wants a medal. If they had not come along at that point I'd have been in big trouble. I'd have been seriously injured. I knew I was going to get done over. I cannot thank that man enough.

"Never in my career have I been in a situation like that. It was unbelievable," he said, adding: "The fans coming away from the stadium were as good as gold but the people who were kicking off were drunk and out for trouble. I know they will say it's a minority but a few thousand is a big minority."

Eleven men have been charged with offences – seven for public order, one with assault, one with being drunk in a sports ground and one for throwing a missile. A further 11 Rangers supporters were bailed pending further inquiries.

Manchester City Council is to hold an inquiry into its handling of the day. The council had relaxed its street drinking ban.

* Manchester United fans will miss out on a homecoming celebration should the team win the Champions League trophy, after city officials banned a planned parade because of the violence after the Rangers match.