LFC condemns 'wholly unacceptable' fan behaviour after firework fired at Liver Building

27 June 2020, 08:36

Liverpool fans took to the streets for two days to celebrate their clubs win
Liverpool fans took to the streets for two days to celebrate their clubs win. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Liverpool Football Club has said the behaviour of fans who fired a firework at the iconic Liver Building is "wholly unacceptable".

Huge amounts of rubbish was left behind on Saturday
Huge amounts of rubbish was left behind on Saturday. Picture: PA

Thousands of fans took to the streets of Liverpool to celebrate their city's Premier League win on Thursday.

Huge crowds gathered around the city, with a large number taking to the Pier Head on Friday.

But just after 11pm, a fire was reported on the balcony of the iconic building, and footage shortly emerged on social media of fireworks being aimed at the building and hitting it.

Some of the crowds are then seen clapping and cheering towards the direction of the person who fired it.

Four fire engines were sent to the building, where they extinguished a blaze on a balcony, a Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said.

The extent of the damage was not known.

A joint statement on behalf of the club, Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police was issued on Saturday.

It said: "Several thousand people turned up at the Pier Head on Friday June 26 and some chose to ignore the social distancing guidance and risk public safety.

"Our city is still in a public health crisis and this behaviour is wholly unacceptable.

"The potential danger of a second peak of Covid-19 still exists and we need to work together to make sure we don't undo everything that has been achieved as a region during lockdown.

"When it is safe to do so, we will all work together to arrange a victory parade when everyone can come together to celebrate.

"Until that time, the safety of our city and our people continues to be our number one priority."

Large crowds gathered outside the Liver Building on Friday
Large crowds gathered outside the Liver Building on Friday. Picture: PA

Merseyside Police issued a section 34 dispersal order for the city centre - allowing officers to break up groups of more than two people - until Sunday.

The Liverpool Echo carried video that appeared to show glass bottles being thrown at police.

A police spokesman was unable to confirm that bottles had been thrown or the number of people arrested, but said there had been "significant disorder" overnight.

Merseyside Police anticipated people coming together to mark Liverpool becoming champions of England for the first time since 1990 again on Friday night, but had warned fans to wait for official celebrations.

Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said on Twitter he was "really concerned" about the crowds on Friday night but said the council did not have the power to disperse the gathering.

Police have now been granted extra powers to break up groups larger than two
Police have now been granted extra powers to break up groups larger than two. Picture: PA

He told LBC: "At the end of the day it makes me really sad, and emotional and angry" said Mr Anderson, adding that "it worries me that we're seeing this type of behaviour.

"That moronic behaviour is not representative of Liverpool football club.

"These are mindless idiots that sometimes go abroad...and claim themselves as ambassadors of our city" said the Mayor.

"I know that culprit will be caught today by merseyside police...and he needs the book thrown at him."

Liverpool City Council said alternative plans were being made to mark the achievement in an "appropriate manner" at the end of the season in July.

Police pointed out that Merseyside still had a disproportionately high number of coronavirus cases compared to other parts of the country.

Merseyside Police assistant chief constable Jon Roy said: "We understand people want to celebrate Liverpool becoming Premier League champions for the first time in 30 years, and the time will come when fans can celebrate together with the team and applaud their achievement, but now is not that time.

"Please follow the advice of the players, the manager and the club by putting safety first. The club is encouraging fans to share their experiences of watching future games at home with the hashtag #LFCAtHome on social media, and we all look forward to sharing your experiences of celebrating safely."

By the time Chelsea's 2-1 victory over City was confirmed on Thursday night around 100 fans, many wearing facemasks, were outside the Main Stand at Anfield where they let off fireworks and waved flags.

Within an hour of the decisive match finishing, thousands of other supporters had joined them.