Leeds, a city of high security and black masking tape

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The Independent Online

A generous supply of black masking tape marked the solemn resolution of Leeds United fans to pay respect to two fellow supporters murdered in Istanbul a fortnight ago.

In contrast to the chaotic scenes of that night, Leeds' return match against the Turkish club Galatasaray was played last night amid fierce security.

Where black armbands were lacking, club stewards obliged by binding tape around the arms of dozens of fans before the Uefa Cup semi-final clash.

Despite two weeks of escalating tension and fear of reprisals after the murders of Kevin Speight and Christopher Loftus - whose funerals this week drew 1,600 people - there was a quiet determination among most fans last night to commemorate their fallen comrades with sober respect.

As a queue of Yorkshire Evening Post vendors waited as a steward wound tape around their arms, the newspaper's headline summed up the mood: "For their sake, let football be the winner."

Turkish supporters had been banned by Uefa from attending the match but there were still more than 350 officers on duty - around 100 more than usual. An extra 200 Leeds United stewards were also drafted in.

The Leeds United chairman, Peter Ridsdale, took out a series of full-page national and local newspaper advertisements against the "futility of violence". The advertisements, signed by Mr Ridsdale, called on Leeds fans to support their team in a "proper manner" - and repeated the plea in Turkish. The campaign is thought to have cost the club tens of thousands of pounds.

Fans preached the same message. Chris Follows, 40, said: "Let's have a game of football tonight and nothing else. We want something fitting for the two lads who died. That's what they would have wanted." For the first time since the deaths, talk also turned to the 2-0 scoreline Leeds had to overcome. "You couldn't call it justice but yes it would be grand for those two lads if we won," said one of many fans who telephone BBC Radio Leeds.

Police were taking little for granted, however. Though speculation that Turkish fans may ignore the ban and travel proved unfounded, Turkish businesses across Leeds were offered extra security before, during and after the match and police wrote to some pubs advising them about the dangers of showing the match on TV.

Floral tributes which had spilled over a wide area outside the ground were moved back into a neat pile around the bronze statue of the legendary Leeds player Billy Bremner.

Fans paused to look at the messages left in memory of Mr Loftus, 35, of Harehills, and Mr Speight, 40, of Farsley.

West Yorkshire Assistant Chief Constable Paul Garvin said security plans were to be "firm but fair."

He said: "Everyone concerned hopes the match will be a fitting tribute to the two men who lost their lives in Turkey.

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