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Soccer fans clash after Gills match

FOOTBALL thugs brawled in Gillingham as hooliganism reared its ugly head at the weekend.

Rival fans fought in the streets near the Priestfield stadium before and after the Gills’ victory over Swindon Town on Saturday.

Police said afterwards that they brought in back-up units as the trouble escalated. Seven people were arrested.

Football websites were carrying messages about the fighting after the game.

One Swindon fan said: "We ran your lads everywhere. There wasn’t a good firm from the Gills in sight. Gillingham has a Mickey Mouse firm."

A Gillingham fan posted his thoughts, saying: "A bunch of yobs masquerading as Swindon fans set upon the exits from the Gills’ family enclosure, attacking anything that came their way. It’s the first time I’ve seen anything like that for years."

Before the game the Livingstone Arms pub in Gillingham Road was adopted by the travelling support.

An eye-witness at the pub, who asked not to be named, said: "The fans were very loud but they all seemed well-behaved. Gills’ fans were outside taunting them but the police seemed to have it all under control."

David Garth, 52, a season ticket holder at Priestfield, said inside the ground: "The Swindon fans seemed to be trying to get in among the Gills fans but there were quite a few stewards and then more police arrived to push them back."

Season ticket holder Jason Colman, 18, said he noticed before the game something wasn’t right. "I could tell as we walked past the Livingstone Arms pub it wasn’t going to be a normal fixture," he said.

"During the game their fans constantly tried to reach the Gills fans but were pushed back."

A police spokesman said: "Police made seven arrests for public order offences and minor assaults. No police staff were injured and back-up units were requested as the trouble escalated and we dealt with the issues at hand."

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