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Lille trip marred by unprovoked attack and heavy-handed policing

23/10/2014  Comments (59)  jump
Everton's first visit to France for a competitive match has been soured by an attack on a group of supporters in Lille last night and heavy-handed and indiscriminate police action in the town centre this afternoon.

Reports of an incident involving Everton fans surfaced on Twitter last evening when a number of supporters, in the northern French city for tomorrow's Europa League match, were set upon by 50 to 100 local youths.

Tweets from fans who were present suggest that some Evertonians suffered injuries during the incident which occurred outside The Australian Bar in the city and this was later corroborated by the Liverpool Echo's Greg O'Keeffe. He reported that the gang used metal chairs as weapons as they tried to force their way into the bar where Everton fans were congregated and local police moved in with tear gas, some of it used on innocent victims of the incident.

The doorman of the pub described the attack, saying: "The Lille hooligans just appeared from the Place Louise de Bettignies across the road, from a side street, and just ran at the pub.

"There were some Everton fans outside smoking and they got caught cold. The hooligans picked up chairs we had stacked up outside and attacked them while others used them to smash windows and try to get inside."

Lille police had promised a sizeable presence around the city in the lead-up to the game as they sought to avoid the trouble that flared up between Lille and PSV Eindhoven fans three years ago.

They moved in with tear gas and riot gear in the town centre this afternoon, however, to break up a sizeable contingent of Blues fans that had congregated in the square. Again, there seemed to be little provocation for the force used, with many bystanders tweeting their dismay at the action taken by the authorities, although French media subsequently claimed that the police moved in on a "known hooligan" and a "drug trafficker" which sparked the wider incident.

Disturbing images emerged of what appeared to be plain-clothed police among the crowd armed with batons which they used against some supporters.

Undercover police armed with batons were deployed. Photos via @grandoldteam

Lille police moved in with riot gear and tear gas to disperse the crowd in the town square. Photo: Liverpool Echo

Liverpool Major, Joe Anderson, pledged via Twitter to investigate the events with his counterpart in Lille: "I am contacting Lille Mayor Martine Aubry to ask for an explanation of Police actions towards EFC fans also asking club and fans for views."  

Reader Comments (59)

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Chris James
1 Posted 23/10/2014 at 00:02:26
European police take heavy-handed approach to British football fans shock!
Pete Gunby
2 Posted 23/10/2014 at 03:55:58
Platini will be calling for all English clubs banned for the next 50 years.

Thatcher digging herself out to express disgust in thugs from Merseyside.

Steve Brown
3 Posted 23/10/2014 at 04:41:42
Pete 2, scary thought that one. Better dig her up to make sure the stake through the heart is still there...
Brian Hill
4 Posted 23/10/2014 at 06:19:38
The Sun writes: "Scousers force frogs to attack them, then piss everywhere."
Colin Glassar
5 Posted 23/10/2014 at 08:02:30
The Sun and the Daily Mail will have a field day with this with headlines like, "Scousers destroy sleepy French town" and, "Locals flee for their lives from rampaginging scouse thugs".
Brian Waring
6 Posted 23/10/2014 at 08:21:53
The worrying thing is we’ll have a fair few lads over there who won’t let this go.
James Hughes
7 Posted 23/10/2014 at 08:18:27
Colin & Brian, I am shocked by the cynical tone of your posts.

Those paragons of print will investigate this attack with all the assets at their disposal and give an unbiased report.

Then and only then will they blame Everton fans for provoking the French into attacking them by being Scouse... ;-0

James Morgan
8 Posted 23/10/2014 at 08:31:39
Bunch of garlic eating surrender monkeys! Hopefully we do the business on the pitch and leave a very sour taste in their mouth!
Sue Brown
9 Posted 23/10/2014 at 08:27:36
Stay safe you blues out there. Let’s let the lads get revenge for this on the pitch with a blinding win, the best way to shut those knobheads up!
Brian Waring
10 Posted 23/10/2014 at 08:48:31
Fucking hell! The media over here are actually reporting how it went off.
Craig Bellew
12 Posted 23/10/2014 at 08:46:40
Brian #6 I think you’re right and I have a horrible feeling there may be one or more reports of running battles emanating from the city during today and tonight.

I hope beyond hope we repay our loyal fan base who have travelled and those who were involved in last night’s ridiculous scenes with a solid winning display to put them in their place the horrible shower of twats!

James Marshall
13 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:02:21
To be fair, the media have so far reported it exactly as it appears to be – an unprovoked attack by a group of 100 Lille Ultras. They love a row so it’s no great surprise given that they would have known we were sending a lot of support for the game.

It’s just a shame it had to happen to people who clearly don’t go to football for the same reasons.

Brian Waring
14 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:07:51
If it does go off again, Craig, imagine the welcome they’re going to get when they come to Goodison.
Tony J Williams
15 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:31:14
Brian, that’s what those scumbags want though!
Jon Bentley
16 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:43:59
I don’t want to belittle the situation as it’s obviously concerning but the 2 brothers being interviewed on the Echo website are class... the left one desperately trying not to sound drunk until he mentions the happiness of watching Liverpool getting trounced 3-0 ....

"We’re not bitter, we just enjoyed watching Real Madrid." Only a Bluenose could bring in to the discussion how crap the RS were whilst discussing heavy handed Gendarme treatment.

Brian Waring
17 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:47:07
Yeah, agree Tony.

Funny thing is, as a crew they’re fucking laughable. 50+ of them, hooded up and tooled up against a small crowd of Everton fans made up of older men and kids, and all they could inflict (thankfully) were a couple of minor injuries.

Andrew Ellams
18 Posted 23/10/2014 at 09:55:15
This is happening more and more to English fans travelling to European games and it is usually those least likely to fight back who are the victims. Luckily there were none of the serious injuries inflicted on other occasions but it does piss you off because you can guarantee if there was a mass backlash from other Blues today, Uefa would act pretty damn quick.
Ron Sear
19 Posted 23/10/2014 at 11:54:05
Let’s hope that when the Lille fans arrive here we treat them politely and with courtesy. Everton fans have the moral high ground here – let’s not spoil it with a childish revenge attitude. Think of it this way: we are better than them (and the Chelski supporters).
Jamie Barlow
20 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:01:54
50 to a 100 hooded thugs? They won’t turn up at Goodison.

It’s going to be running battles all night and not just with fans. The police are just as bad. It’s what English fans abroad have come to expect.

Tony J Williams
21 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:21:25
"50 to a 100 hooded thugs? They won’t turn up at Goodison."

Yes, they will. They go every match with us in the lower Gwladys. Sitting there cupping their bollocks and stinking of ganja......... lid, like laaarrrr lid

Mike Childs
22 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:16:35
Thanks for sharing Jon B. I certainly enjoyed rooting for Madrid yesterday they’re not a team I normally pull for.
Sean Kelly
23 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:36:35
Best way to get back at those ninja frogs is a two-nil win for us tonight. Then we can take the high moral ground and the three points back to the Old Lady.
Tony J Williams
24 Posted 23/10/2014 at 12:42:10
Bollocks Sean, I’d love a Shaktar Donetsk 6-0 at half time job and then bring on the kids.

Get them all back safe and rested for Sunday

Karl Masters
25 Posted 23/10/2014 at 13:12:13
On our way there now and seen loads of Everton fans at the Channel Tunnel. A fella there said he’d never seen so many fans from one team going over.

We will be everywhere, I reckon, fella showed me a ticket earlier and he is in Block D with the Lille Ultras! Gonna be interesting.

Much depends on French police. Do they act with common sense, like the German ones did in Nuremberg, or do they press the panic button like they seem to have done last night?

Carl Peters
27 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:00:05
Be careful out there today – there are reports the French police are going to be targeting the 500 fans without tickets apparently. Of course the true number will be about 5,000, so that could spark off a panic with the coppers.

Estimates of around 10,000-12,000 Evertonians travelling... my guess would be more likely around 15,000 but, wherever you watch it, stay safe and enjoy the game.

Brian Waring
28 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:06:42
Supposedly already kicking off, police all over the main square using tear gas.
Brian Waring
29 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:10:21
Brian Waring
30 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:12:21
Andrew Ellams
31 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:14:06
Apparently it was Lille Ultras throwing tear gas canisters and ran away (French eh!) before the cops waded in, but they just carried on and caused chaos amongst the Blues.
Brian Waring
32 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:16:58
Supposedly a lot of Lille fans saying it doesn’t matter if your English, German or a Lille fan, the police treat all football fans as scum.
Paul Dark
33 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:36:39
Nice one, Ron, agreed.

I hope everyone is safe out there – was going to go myself.


Mike Oates
34 Posted 23/10/2014 at 14:43:09
We are in trouble, no way of looking at it any other way. 5,000 to 10,000 extra fans travel over with no tickets, no chance of getting in, will hang around town, being targeted. French Minister has just stated Everton fans drunk, dirtying the square, shops all have all had to shut, alcohol ban had been totally dismissed by fans.

Mr Platini and friends will only see this one way: Everton fans out or order.... repercussions ahead, you watch.

Brian Waring
37 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:44:21
Surprise, surprise the Mail online going with this headline.

"Everton fans left shaken in Lille as police use tear gas to break up clashes with rival supporters ahead of Europa League tie."

James Flynn
38 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:22:08
Hearing the comments and looking at the pictures Brian posted, what a fucked-up police force Lille has. Really, packs of Lille ultras about looking for trouble came as a complete surprise? No prior planning to mitigate the inevitable meeting of large numbers of opposing fans + alchohol, other than 100s of riot police in full gear wading in swinging? THIS is there plan to handle big events in their city? Foreigners pouring some millions into the local economy attacked by civilians AND police.


Dave Roberts
39 Posted 23/10/2014 at 15:52:49

What the fucking hell are you doing reading the Mail website anyway? Biggest fucking shit-rag in the’s worse than the Sun (ok that’s arguable!)

I think the club and the FA need to make a very strong complaint about this. Our own hooligan problem is all but solved and behaviour like this is very rare now in the UK. Additionally our police are generally very fair and reasonable, you can even have a laugh with them outside Goodison. Uefa were very quick to ban English clubs from European football after Heysel and that was fair enough I suppose although the innocent paid the price too. But when similar things, like this, happen in Europe there are fuck all consequences. It’s not only us it was Spurs a couple of years ago and it has to stop and the only way to stop it is Uefa taking the same action they took against English supporters.

The Foreign Office needs to get involved too and ask for details of why Everton fans seemed to have been attacked by french police indiscriminately. I look forward to the opinions of the Liverpool police officers who are over there observing. I’m very well aware that the French have no affection for the British because they can’t forgive what they owe us but this is beyond the pale. If it wasn’t for the fact of thousands of Blues being over there looking forward to the game I’d say to Everton, tell them to fuck off, we’re better than this and stick your Uefa Cup if your jacksy.

Brian Waring
40 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:15:35
Dave, wouldn’t normally read the bog paper, it was more out of curiousity to see how they were painting it.
Tony J Williams
41 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:42:02
To be fair Brian, the Daily Nazi has an article supporting us too. They have stated that the police are being bellends and just ploughing into fans who are doing nothing more than singing about Coleman.
Dave Roberts
42 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:42:52
I’ll let you off then!
Karl Masters
43 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:39:51
By the stadium and all
Is well. If you want my opinion, if we had all travelled over today there would have been monsl chance of problems. If we took 10000 to Newcastle for a whole weekend there would be chaos. Just saying a lot of people arrived too early IMHO. Locals all seem friendly, but gendarmerie are everywhere and do far appear to be more of a problem than the Lille fans.


Kieran Riding
44 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:48:16
In in hotel next to stadium. Both sets of fans mixing fine.
Colin Grierson
45 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:45:00
Inevitable trouble sadly. Glad to hear that the blues fans are raising themselves above the level of the local thugs. The best thing we can do is offer them a friendly reception back here as those that attacked our lads at the Aussie bar are unlikely to have the wit to travel further than a bus ride from their carers. There are wankers everywhere unfortunately. Let’s hope those that have had to put up with the actions of the wankers are given something to cheer about later! COYB!!!!
Andrew Ellams
46 Posted 23/10/2014 at 16:53:24
Fans donÂ’t seem to be the problem and I hope that is remembered when they come back to Goodison.
Dave Pritchard
47 Posted 23/10/2014 at 17:14:50
When not there it is impossible to judge who is responsible. Likely to be fault on both sides having watched the live forum video link although this is of course merely a snapshot. Really hope that nothing serious happens as it will tarnish us whoever is to blame.
Tony Doran
48 Posted 23/10/2014 at 17:45:14
Angry as hell, Just having visions of dads and lads getting set upon by a load of cowardly mommy’s boys. I despise holigans scaring kids but would love to wade into a load of these little turds.
Phil Smith
49 Posted 23/10/2014 at 17:41:56
Says in the Nord Eclair that Everton supporters were throwing projectiles at the police, drinking cans of beer in view of the public (shock horror) in the street. Pretty compelling viewing here though:
Andy Meighan
50 Posted 23/10/2014 at 20:38:32
Only one action to take. Ban Liverpool from European football of any sort for the next 10 years. ItÂ’s the only deterrent.
Ant Dwyer
51 Posted 23/10/2014 at 22:31:41
Bad all this, though, we wait for away games like this and become victims of bad policing and scumbag hooligans, such a shame.
Karl Masters
52 Posted 24/10/2014 at 00:49:59
Tony Doran wading into a load of little turds. An unpleasant thought.
Tony J Williams
53 Posted 24/10/2014 at 11:13:01
Love the arl fella in the first photo sitting on the steps and taking it all in.

"In my day.......all of this was fields...."

Takes can of Boddies from plastic bag and sighs

Tony J Williams
54 Posted 24/10/2014 at 11:13:01
Love the arl fella in the first photo sitting on the steps and taking it all in.

"In my day.......all of this was fields...."

Takes can of Boddies from plastic bag and sighs

Peter Barry
55 Posted 24/10/2014 at 13:47:36
I am sure a similarly cordial welcome will be given to supporters of Lille when they visit Goodison for the return match.
Dave Pritchard
56 Posted 24/10/2014 at 14:09:35
Peter (57) I feel your comment does not imply a cordial welcome should be extended. Can Evertonians not rise above this and actually give a cordial welcome? Will it not be the case that the Lille supporters will include women and children and be mainly there to support their team just like our supporters last night? Two wrongs do not make a right.
Tony Doran
57 Posted 24/10/2014 at 15:28:50
Their fans will suffer just drinking our grogg.
Andy Codling
58 Posted 24/10/2014 at 17:11:55
Heavy-handed policing and a general French attitude caused these problems and they did their best to ruin a well-natured party.

Also, the "Evertonians" selling blag tickets to fellow blues – you know who you are and quite frankly you are a disgrace to Everton fans all over the world, shame on you!!

Colin Glassar
59 Posted 24/10/2014 at 18:18:30
Typical French, they are still upset over Agincourt, Crecy and us saving their arses in two world wars.
Brian Wilkinson
60 Posted 24/10/2014 at 20:12:28
Genuine Lille fans will turn up at Goodison and sure will be made welcome. No a chance in hell the cowards who attacked the few Evertonians will step foot on English soil.

I really hope the return leg passes without indecent and that genuine Lille fans are not tarnished with the same brush.

We are Everton and will rise above the mindless attacks and the disgraceful police handling in the square.

Anthony Burke
61 Posted 24/10/2014 at 22:22:20
When I went to work today we were branded thugs and hooligans which makes me dislike the RS even more than I do. Hopefully we will greet Lille supporters with respect and without riot police too. COYB!
Ciaran Duff
62 Posted 27/10/2014 at 04:32:59
From Twitter overnight:-

Paul Melarange
63 Posted 03/11/2014 at 12:51:39
Yes, the police did over react, but if a small bunch of our fans had not started throwing bottles then they would not have started firing rubber bullets and tear gas, then any innocent bystander gets it. That older Everton fan was very lucky not to lose his sight or have been killed.

Some of our fans need to cut down on the ale and the powder and think of the consequences; happily the vast majority of the fans were well behaved. The German police are much better at policing away fans; with fewer numbers travelling to Wolfsburg, it should be a happier trip for all travelling blues.

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