Dons fans caught up in the violent aftermath of the club’s Europa League exit in Cyprus have claimed unfamiliar faces may have been at the centre of the trouble.
Aberdeen fans clashed with stewards following a 2-0 defeat away to Apollon Limassol in Larnaca on Thursday, with riot police armed with batons and pepper spray rushing to restore order.
Dons boss Derek McInnes said afterwards there had been trouble throughout the game and suggested stewards had been “heavy handed” with the travelling support.
But yesterday, fans who travelled to the game saidthe club varied from their usual allocation policy, meaning a number of those in attendance were not part of the usual travelling support – and some may not have been Aberdeen fans at all.
Martin Watt, who was standing just a few rows back from where fighting broke out, said: “I go to every away game in Europe and there were a lot of guys there I didn’t recognise.
“The club didn’t use their usual loyalty scheme to prioritise tickets – which could explain some of it – but outside the ground, there were a lot of squaddies trying to get into the game. I was offered €250 (£225) for my ticket.”
Mr Watt described how the group appeared to turn on the stewards and then each other before riot police intervened wielding batons and pepper spray.
He added: “A number of the guys didn’t seem to have Aberdeen accents and they were even fighting with each other. I saw a guy run up the stairs and punch a girl in the face just to get at another boy.”
Another long-term fan, who asked to remain anonymous, said he also saw a number of unfamiliar faces in the crowd and said the group were the “drunkest I’ve seen at a Dons game”.
He added: “They shouldn’t have been allowed into the game but the reaction from the stewards was way over the top.”
Aberdeen FC has reportedly launched an investigation into the the incidents and has requested access to stadium footage. The club was unavailable to comment further last night.
A spokeswoman for the British Army said: “Military personnel are expected to conduct themselves properly and respect members of the public at all times, whether on or off duty.
“Any service personnel found acting in a way which fall short of this will be dealt with by the administrative and disciplinary methods available to commanders.”