Football: Visiting cup fans may be banned

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The Independent Online
Visiting fans could find themselves banned from the two legs of the European Cup second round tie between Leeds and Rangers which is being billed as the unofficial British club championship.

Rangers made the suggestion as soon as Leeds had won Friday's first-round play-off against VfB Stuttgart in Barcelona. 'It's not a bad idea, but how are we going to work it?' asked Bill Fotherby, the Leeds managing director. 'We've got to think about it seriously and it's not a decision that will be taken just by Leeds or Rangers. We will consult everyone.'

Les Walker, the Football Association's security officer, said: 'Rangers have asked us to consider it as one of the options. But we cannot make any recommendation until we have have talked to police, the Scottish FA and both clubs.'

Police in Leeds played down the possibility. Supt David Piggin said: 'There are always fans who will want to go to every game, and if there are enough of them they could cause problems in Glasgow. And if that happens, imagine the problems we might get in Leeds.'

Surprisingly, Leeds' fans outnumbered German supporters 2,693-2,591 in the Nou Camp. Fotherby added: 'The fanatical fans of Leeds and Rangers will go anywhere to follow their team. They want to be part of the atmosphere which you can never get from screening it back to Elland Road.'

There have been only two European Cup contests between the English and Scottish champions in the tournament's 27-year history. Ironically, one member of the Leeds line-up is a veteran of the last such contest. Back in the 1980-81 season Gordon Strachan, scorer of Leeds' opening goal in Barcelona, was a member of the Aberdeen team which was hammered 5-0 on aggregate by Liverpool, who went on to win the trophy.

Leeds will hope there is no repeat of the only previous Anglo- Scottish meeting, in the 1969-70 semi-finals, when Celtic beat them 3-1 on aggregate. The other notable clash of British teams came in the preliminary round in 1978-79 when Liverpool, the holders, lost 2-0 on aggregate to Nottingham Forest.