Liverpool fans tell their stories

May 31 – The disturbing scenes in Paris at the Champions League Final bring shame on the French organisers and UEFA. The subsequent blame-game by the French is almost as distasteful.

The reality is that a disaster that could have cost many lives was missed by a fraction, and not because of the action of the French organisers or police but by the commonsense of Liverpool fans. People were injured and traumatised, and most people attending the final in the Liverpool supporters section came away with horrifying stories.

The horror of their experience did not end with the match but for many was still waiting for them outside when they left stadium. Their stories are flooding social networks, forums and private messaging groups.

For all the talk of the French politicians and various commentators trying, it is worth reading the story of the victims. Ordinary people of all ages and dispositions who shared the same uniting love of a football club – and a city – who only wanted to enjoy and celebrate their passion at the biggest club football match on earth

A small selection of their stories from message boards and forwarded to Insideworldfootball have been published below. It is at times a harrowing read. People don’t attend football matches expecting to be in fear of their lives. And when the overriding emotion of people returning home is that they are just glad to be safe, then UEFA must really look hard at themselves and their partners and whether there really is any so-called ‘football family’ in their world. Football is a force for good? Whose good?

From Jeannie to her WhatsApp group:
‘My lad phoned this morning girls, said he thought they were gonna be killed ..he’s black blue and his wrist slashed. They parked car 3rd floor car park about 10 French with ballys (balaclavas) on with big machetes and paving stones street signs surrounded them and beat the shit out of them and the car is a write off, he’s over 6 foot 4 and absolutely traumatised…they were just cutting anyone’s man bags just stealing and beating up anyone…then the police were beaten (beating) anybody up , he said they were bastards…I knew last night I had a feeling in my gut…and my poor fella never even got in just got pepper sprayed outside, he’s 60 & kids were getting it, I’m so very glad they are back…’

From Jackie to her WhatsApp group:

It’s so sad. Don’t believe what they are saying. It was all down to UEFA’s disorganisation and hatred of Liverpool fans and the French police who also dislike Liverpool fans. We’re fine.

Gutted but pleased to have experienced it. Mixed emotions really due to the treatment we all as Liverpool fans received. It was appalling – disgusting. We were herded like sheep into a bottleneck to get into the stadium. Then loads of the turnstiles were closed at the Liverpool end causing more carnage and delays. Getting out was just as bad. Gates closed and forced back down the same bottleneck again. There were kids of a friend there who were tear gassed going in and out – they did nothing – 12 & 14! Robin had to hold on to me going in and out to keep me safe. So disorganised. Rant over! – fan forum

Our friends who are season ticket holders entered the concourse at the same time as us 8:15ish. But didn’t get into their seats until 9:35 due to only one turnstile being open at the Liverpool end. They got in just before the police tear gassed that area. We were elsewhere in the stadium so got in quickly. They won their tickets in the LFC ballot but when they got to their seats there were French people sitting in them with fake tickets. LFC need to investigate who on the club copied tickets and sold them on. – fan forum

All I can say is the Liverpool fans did not kick off. If anything all that was being asked for was open the gates and let them in but because of the fake tickets wouldn’t! The trouble was caused by the French police and poor organisation xx – fan forum

“Just got back, what is being reported is maybe 20% of what went on.

The crushing side of things… it is a miracle that nobody died, an absolute miracle. I got caught up in the crush at Gate Y, luckily a security guard for the media area pretty much dragged me through a gap in the fence. From there I was on the safety of the LFC TV studio/gantry – let me just say EVERYONE in that are was superb. Hillsborough survivors were in there with me (they were in fits of tears), 6 year old kids, old people, and they calmed everyone down and looked after everyone including sprays to remove tear gas, water etc.

The policing aspect of Saturday – credit where credit’s due – is being reported fairly accurately by our media, for once. They have avoided a massive disaster on a huge scale, purely by luck. I saw countless people, myself included, climbing over a wall maybe 6ft tall to get out of the crunch, if that wall was 3/4 feet higher there is no way that masses of people don’t die. I have a video stood on the LFC TV studio, behind the metal fence, and a cop walks up and pepper sprays a journalist in the face who was doing nothing other than watching the events going on. He was on his own (not sure if its relevant, but he was black), and they calmly walked up to him (he was wearing his press credentials) and sprayed him full in the face. When we were asking them why the gates were closed? Why are they tear gassing kids? They all just laughed.

One question that remains unanswered is if they were so worried about the amount of people in there with fake tickets/climbed the fence, then why let us all in? If there was ‘thousands’ inside the stadium that shouldn’t have been, then why let the rest of us in? It is all a load of bullshit.

However, what is being massively underreported is the ‘locals’. There was 100’s of ‘Locals’, let’s be honest though. African gangs. They were more organised than the police. What I saw from my position makes it very hard to avoid the thought that this was somehow pre-planned with the police. I saw people slashed with knives 6 feet in front of cops, they laughed. I saw people mugged 6 feet in front of cops, they laughed. I saw one guy knocked unconscious (the sound of his head hitting the concrete will stay with me forever), they laughed. Every now and then they would ‘charge’ at the ‘Locals’, charge is barely a word I would use, slowly walk towards them is more accurate. They would then disperse, the cops would then leave the area, and the ‘locals’ would return. I saw around 5 people knocked unconscious, 2 slashed and countless robbed, literally nothing was done. Nothing.

All of this was happening whilst we could hear the opening ceremony taking place inside.

Around 10pm the police then formed a cordon outside from Gate Y down to the corner of the stadium and people were getting in easier. Then the ‘locals’ returned. LFC TV said they would escort me and a few others to the Gate to get get in. At that point there was no police outside the stadium and 100s of ‘Locals’. The media area was only protected by a thin metal fence so at that point it felt safer to be in the stadium.

We were frogmarched by security to the gate and pretty much dragged in by the stewards, I am covered in grazes from being dragged through a group of ‘Locals’ at the gate. A 6 year old girl and her dad was with me and I have never in my life seen fear in someones eyes like that kid. It was genuinely terrifying.

Once inside I didn’t care about the game, I didn’t sing, I didn’t shout, I wanted to be out of there, a lot felt like that and the atmosphere was flat at best, it 100% contributed. Approaching full time we got a huge group of riot please stand in front of us. Real Madrid end, not one. Literally, not one.

After the game, it was just as bad. ALL sent down one dark underpass where police vans were parked forcing everyone down a maybe 10ft wide space towards the metro. Once past that space, all hell broke loose. ‘Locals’ were ready. Without exaggerating I maybe saw 10 people slashed and robbed, 20 people smashed in the face, saw one elderly woman screaming because her husband who looked about 80 was pinned down and was having his watch ripped off. If anyone tried to intervene you were met with a blade(s). All of this while the police were watching.

In one incident, I saw 4 ‘Locals’ attack a Red with a knife, took his bag, took his watch and bottled him 3 feet away from police, when a fellow fan punched one of the ‘locals’ doing it, he got arrested.

What felt like maybe a 15 minute walk of dodging attacks, we got to the Metro station where the police were laughing and saying ‘Bye, Bye… Nice to meet you’. I am 38 and have never witnessed distain for human life as much as Saturday. They literally didn’t care about any of us.

Earlier in the day, we arrived at the fan park maybe 1pm and stayed until it finished (5pm?), I have never seen that amount of people in one place before, lots of people were drunk, some way to drunk yet there was literally zero issues. No scuffles, no fights, no nothing. I wasn’t there at night so I cannot comment on why they were tear gassed, but if it was anything like the stadium, then it was all pre planned and it felt like the police ‘had’ to do it. As if they were under instruction ‘no matter what, use tear gas’.

Personally, I am still dealing with what happened and what I saw. I will never in my life return to France, and would seriously doubt any game outside of England again.

With regards to our ‘fans’, I have absolutely nothing but good words. I tear up thinking how proud I am of us and how we handled that situation. You can count on one hand the amount of incidents we caused – and that is more than understandable after being treated that way. We are one huge family, there is nothing like us, and there never will be. When we come together we are fucking amazing and an immovable force of nature. They all want what we have.

A lot of rambling, I know, I am sorry, but that without doubt was a huge scale disaster avoided by pure luck, and how nobody was killed by the ‘locals’, I have no idea. Now, clearly I have an amount of respect for Hillsborough victims, the families, the survivors and anyone associated with that day on levels that I do not have words to express, but after being in that mini crush, fora. small amount of time, I have no idea how the survivors have battled the establishment for all that time to uncover the truth. It is truly awe inspiring and they are the very, very, very best of humanity.”

Contact the writer of this story at moc.l1660695789labto1660695789ofdlr1660695789owedi1660695789sni@n1660695789osloh1660695789cin.l1660695789uap1660695789