The judge who jailed eight Pompey fans for a rampage in Guildhall Square before a Plymouth game told them they had a ‘clear intent to fight on a large scale’.
Judge Timothy Mousley QC took a dim view of the ‘prolonged’ and ‘premeditated’ violence that was a ‘throwback’ to bygone hooligan days.
He said: ‘This did not arise out of a sporting rivalry but from a clear intent to fight in public on a large scale.’
Despite lengthy running battles against police in Guildhall Square and clashes with Plymouth fans, including where one was repeatedly booted like a football, things could have been far worse.
‘Had it not been for the police there would have been a flashpoint involving about 200 men which I have no doubt was the intention on both sides,’ Judge Mousley said.
He added: ‘There were no serious injuries but clearly there was the potential for them but for the well organised and professional response of the police.
‘It is a matter of luck there were no serious injuries especially to the man on the floor getting kicked.’