Irish bookies Paddy Power have wrapped one of their Dublin betting shops in bubble wrap to protect against potential hooliganism from visiting English football fans.
Sunday sees the Republic of Ireland square off against England in an international friendly at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium. To prepare for the expected influx of drunken English hooligans, Paddy decided to “yob-proof” tis adjacent Baggot Street betting shop by covering the shop’s exterior in bubble wrap.
This Sunday’s friendly comes 20 years after a similar match between the two countries was abandoned shortly after it started due to rowdy behavior by a UK neo-Nazi group, which sparked riots around Landowne Road stadium.
The official company line says the bubble wrap – which also covered a bicycle and car parked outside the shop, along with a (probably very confused) dog — was installed in the hope of “avoiding any damage that may come from violent yobs, knobs and hooligans who may infiltrate the Three Lions’ well-meaning travelling support.”
The Baggot shop has been temporarily redesignated the “England Supporters’ Betting Shop” for the occasion. Paddy is also offering 25/1 odds on this weekend’s match to be similarly abandoned and 11/4 odds on “more than 10 fans to be arrested at the stadium.”
Paddy Power’s eponymous spokesman insisted he wasn’t “anti-English” although he qualified that England had “sent us some bad eggs over time. Cromwell, for example. He would have smashed up the Avivia if it was around in the 1600s. Us Irish wage war in a more subtle way. We just pillage their players and send Louis Walsh.”
A new Paddy shop in London’s Waltham Forest borough could have used similar protection last week. Some yob threw a bucket of white paint on the shop’s window, apparently to protest the fact that the local council had approved the shop’s location despite over 1,200 residents signing a petition protesting the shop’s arrival.