We have called out via social media for Newcastle United supporters in Marseille to tell us their experiences, what they have witnessed and what they think has gone on from their view on the ground.
We believe it is important for supporters to express their own view of what they have seen, unedited, unspun and in their own words.
If you are out there or know anyone who is, please tell them what we are attempting to do.
As the first contribution from Kaylee Bainbridge demonstrates, we aren’t after hoolie porn or lurid accounts of football violence. We just want to provide a platform for Newcastle United supporters to express and to read accounts of what has happened from those actually there. Our second and third accounts from Kevin Moore and Jack McLane express something more familar to what has been covered in some news accounts. Sean Whelan has his own experience and take on his trip to Marseille and taking in the Croatia-Turkey game as well.
All contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org
4. I found myself in a strange town on Saturday, hearing tales of mad Russians with pick-axes and locals of North
African descent thirsty for English blood, yet I saw nothing of the sort. On our 6 hour EuroStar journey down, we joked about the Port looking like a cartoon with clouds of tear gas punctuated by brooms and bats flying into the air. So we decided to swerve the Port. I imagined there’d be lots of 10st twenty year olds in Adidas trainers, offering people out with their tops off. Live and let live, but homosexuality has never really been my thing.
Our hotel was up by the ground, so that’s where we headed. Bags dropped, we grabbed beers in the first place we stumbled across. Then went for a bit of a mooch about. We settled in a pub with a courtyard out the back, screens showing Albania v Switzerland and then Wales v Slovakia. Yeah, it was one of those long, pished, football soaked afternoons. The bar filled up as the afternoon went on, with about a 100 England fans in. The English were well natured; pissed, singing and happy. The owner of the bar was sound, as were the staff and the pizza oven was grafting.
Security was pretty tight around the ground, it looked like an England home game such was the numerical supremacy of the English. I’m not really into England, I’d rather see Newcastle United win a throw in than England win the World Cup. That said, I’d rather England won. Though I do waiver whenever I hear the national anthem. Loads of sausage skinned blokes from Huddersfield begging a sky magician to save Britain’s biggest benefit cheat. Nothing personal, I’ve got a lot of time for anyone who gets to the grand old age of 90 without ever doing a days work in all their puff.
England were poor weren’t they. Not really a massive surprise, half the team play for Spurs and they finished 11 points behind Leicester City. The Germans aren’t losing any sleep. The mediocrity of the Premier League may well be shown up during this tournament. Sky will have you believe Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy are world beaters. They wouldn’t have made the England squad 20 years ago. They’d have been B Team fodder with the likes of Chris Sutton in his Norwich/ Blackburn days.If you let them, journalists will bore you to death about the absence of Danny Drinkwater and Mark Noble. It’s not complicated, they’re not there because they’re not very good. Wayne Rooney was England’s best player by a distance on Saturday, the media will have you believe he’s past it. He’s 30 years old and scored more goals for England than anyone who has ever lived. Put your goals on the table.
I was hoping England would hold on to win. So was Woy Hodgson. The problem there is, he’s supposed to be in charge. People generally have goodwill towards Hodgson, primarily out of pity – he looks like Michael Caine’s dopey younger brother. How on earth has he got the top job in English football?
I did see a cartoon Mackem (minty leg tattoo) with lumps and bumps to the face and back of the head. The only thing missing was little cartoon birdies circling the top of his crushed cannister. I know, it made me smile too. There was a bit of pagga after the match in our end apparently, I didn’t see any of it as we headed for a pint as soon as the final whistle went. It’s a bit different at international games, people hang around a bit more to applaud the players etc. Suits me as it makes it much easier to get out.
On Sunday we headed up to Paris, for the Croatia v Turkey match. The BBC 5Live team were on our train, it’s great when you see multi millionaires looking like shit. Chris miserable bastard Waddle with his hunchback, rucksack and moody shades looking like a worn out school teacher running a languages trip, while Jermaine Jenas looked every inch the lead singer of a failed boy band. “Look son, you’ll never make it in this game with pockmarks.” In defence of Waddle, i’d be suicidal if I had to hang out with “JJ” in France for a month.
We were in a mixed area of the ground, both sets of fans were as partisan as you’d expect. The Croatians were virtually all wearing colours, which looked great from a distance, like a 1960s kitchen convention. After about 10 minutes you could tell Croatia were a superior side to England, you couldn’t tire of watching Modric and Rakitic. England don’t have a single player who would get a game for Real Madrid or Barcelona.
On reflection, I’m quite relieved we got back to England in one piece. Having been at the Uefa Cup semi final 12 years ago and remembering the pictures from the England v Tunisia game in ’98, it was obvious Marseille had the potential for contretemps. In the main, trouble was avoidable if you used your head. I’m sure some innocent people got caught up in it, which is a shame, but lets be honest – England away – that’s the price on the ticket. England have acted the twat abroad more times than I care to remember, and it looks like they came unstuck in some style on Saturday. If you’re pissed, loud and nationalistic abroad, then yeah, your due a clump because a lot of people don’t like that.
The biggest surprise of the weekend for me, was the lack of heed the baals who were following England. That would probably sound absurd to most non-match people watching news reports, but I probably only saw half a dozen England fans who looked like they could have a row. In fact the train down served as a reminder of how much football has changed, gone are the old NF types replaced by a fair few half pence millionaires. The fans on the table behind were “nice guy” Four-Four-Two types talking about their “movements” in France. The table next to us were talking salaries and day rates at one point. Well, I suppose the only difference between these “guys” and the old NF lads are wealthy parents and a Russell Group university.
I’d love to go back to Marseille, preferably when the football is not on and I’m not constrained by being a fat, bald, English c**t.
Work is shit. Roll on Friday and the train to Paris.
3. Well this weekend has been an experience to say the least. Marseille is a place I never wish to visit again. Any Mag that came here 12 years ago, knows the place has a dangerous edge to it. It’s a place with a massive disparity of wealth, with the poor Muslims often being treated like second class citizens. England fans felt that and more this weekend.
I arrived into Marseille late on Friday night and quite naively thought the bother had been sensationalised by the British media. Sadly, I wrong. Me and my group were quite lucky to find a quiet restaurant serving beer and we had a couple there before it shut. After that we naively headed towards the port. It was all peaceful till a pissed up English twat threw a bottle, after this the Police instantly tear-gassed all supporters at that bar and only antagonising those not involved.
We decided to sack the night off after that. Sadly, that was just the start.
On Saturday I met with a few lads who I always see at England, all of whom go away to every game and don’t cause any trouble – as well as a few Mags in a bar away from the port. We jokingly said we’d fell on our feet as for the first couple of hours there was no bother at all.
Everyone was drinking, having a good time and genuinely looking forward to the game. Then a small group of Russians came towards the England fans and kicked off. There was only six of them, but they meant business with one putting in a gum shield before charging forward. It was all a bit surreal. A few plastic chairs were thrown by both sides but nothing too severe in honesty.
About an hour later, when we’d all thought it’d calmed down the worst occurred. Around 100 plus Russians piled through the street where me and my mates were sat. Doing nothing other than having a drink in the Sun. We quickly scarpered away, a couple finding refuge in the bar whilst me and a couple of others ran away. The problem with running away was that every corner we passed seemed to have Russians on it.
I saw one holding what appeared to be a meat cleaver of some sorts. It was like something out of a film. There’s no doubting that England fans reacted, but to suggest they started the trouble on Saturday is just plain wrong.
Given how club hooliganism is by and large a thing of the past in the English game, this was far too organised for those who want to fight to know what to do. The Russians came prepared and by the looks of it had teamed up with local Marseille Ultras.
Now, England mightn’t be your thing and I’ll be honest I do cringe at some of our support, but singing ‘Rule Britannia’ doesn’t mean someone should get their head kicked in.
After this we moved to the fanzone where it seemed very peaceful in comparison.
On the walk to the ground the tension began to rise, just before we arrived at the stadium, the teargas, which the French Police think solves everything, came out again.
Eventually we got to the ground where there were little to no security checks. It didn’t surprise me the Russians got whatever in. I didn’t even get a proper patting down.
Everything about the Policing was a joke and the segregation between the two supporters was appalling.
I saw England fans be bellends on Friday and was embarrassed because of it, but what happened on Saturday wasn’t instigated by the English. Sadly our previous reputation makes us a target to countries newly onto the hooligan fad.
Anyway, I’m back out next Sunday. Quite pleased that circumstances mean I won’t be in Lens.
JACK McLANE – Follow Jack on
2. English Yobs….
If having a chilled beer sitting on a picturesque Marseille port and singing a few England songs makes me a hooligan,
then I’m guilty!
It’s extremely disappointing reading what can only be described as lies on social media about England fans over the past few days.
Never have I been so frightened and intimidated whilst watch either Newcastle United or England in my life. What was meant to be an experience of a life time has been ruined by mindless thugs.
Russian and French hooligans attacked England fans on numerous occasions not only in the port but by the ground and even in the ground. These were organised and unprovoked. Masked men chasing people around with bottles, knives, chairs and any other weapon they could get their hands on to assault the English.
After the game we headed down to the harbour to get a taxi back to our hotel as we felt it wouldn’t be safe to stay out. Little did we know that the transport links for this MAJOR tournament were as pathetic as these thugs. People queued four hours for taxis and there were no buses or trains etc to help get England fans to safety.
We wandered around the harbour hoping to get a taxi and then it happened. What seemed like 100+ French/Russian hooligans came throwing bottles from all directions etc. Flares and smoke bombs were going off at our feet. Fireworks shot at us – it was truly frightening.
The French Police stood and watched it all happen until England fans grouped together (safety in numbers) after which they (the French Police) then moved in to disperse us all. Again at the ground England fans were enjoying beers and having a sing song were attacked by Russian hooligans and again the Police tear gassed anyone and everyone as well as being really heavy handed with England fans.
All I’ve seen are videos of English “yobs” on social media and in papers etc. The truth is the English have been hounded out by French and Russian hooligans and attacked savagely injuring innocent fans.
But hey, the media get to blame the English.
KEVIN MOORE – you can follow Kev on
1. Probably a bit of an unfashionable story but other than the stadium bother I only witnessed positive integration between all sets of fans.
Those that went looking for trouble certainly found it. All we did was avoid the Vieux Port, we went from the Fan Zone to the stadium. It was full of both sets of fans taking photographs together along the street, high fiving etc.
As a French speaker and watching the news here it’s heavily biased against the English, with no significant mentions of the French contingent that were involved, but then when I’m reading the English press the blame is squarely on the Russians.
The truth is that anyone could have avoided the Vieux Port, those that didn’t knew what was going on from previous reports. Naïve to think that the police just opened up the tear gas for no reason. I seen a couple of English lads being twats with “banter” to a couple of Russians lasses that had just asked for a photograph with them, but that’s about it really.
In the stadium itself we were sat in the opposite corner to the Russians, but had Russians, French, Germans amongst us and they behaved really well unlike those in the Virage Sud. A lot of Russians had little kids with them and seemed just as mortified. I didn’t witness any trouble near the stadium on the nighttime after the match either.
KAYLEE BAINBRIDGE – Follow Kaylee on