England fans have revealed how they feared for their lives after rampaging Russian hooligans with “faces full of hate” steamed across seats and into the English section of the stands to attack supporters of the Three Lions following the match between Russian and England at the Marseilles’ Velodrome Stadium on Saturday.
Euro 2016 has already been tainted by scenes of hooligans rampaging through the streets of France, but the Russian Ultras escalated things to a new level following the 1-1 draw between Russia and England, when they decided to wreak havoc by attacking and hospitalizing England fans immediately after the game.
The Sun reports that Steve McLean, 47, and his son Jude, 14, were yards away from the Russian hooligans when they steamed across the seats, and explained how “[p]eople were getting crushed, trampled in the exits and climbing over the walls to get away.”
“We were confronted with gangs of savages, muscle-men thugs with faces full of hate. They looked insane with gritted teeth and clenched fists punching anyone in their path.
“One fan put up his hands and said ‘I don’t want to fight!’ but was smashed in the face repeatedly.
“One chap broke his leg when he fell getting over a wall. Yet the police did nothing. I froze because I wanted to save my son and didn’t know where to run. I thought we were going to be killed.”
Steve, who was present at the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, said, “I had a flashback to the bodies at Hillsborough and thought, ‘My God it’s happening again.'”
Many fans have demanded to know why there was so few police in Marseilles’ Velodrome and why those present appeared to do so little to protect the England fans as the hooligans attacked
The violence at the stadium followed a series of clashes in Marseille’s Old Port area prior to the match.
The Mirror reports that the Russian Ultras wore England shirts to mingle with Three Lions followers before launching their attacks with a military-style discipline.
Ian Allsop, 45, has never missed an England away game but has said he would never return to Marseille since being beaten with a baseball bat by a Russian hooligan.
“About 300 Russians came out of nowhere in the afternoon. They just walked straight through all the England fans who were standing about singing. They just started hitting anyone they could.
“One went to punch me and I ducked. But then someone took a wooden bat to my arm. It is killing me today. The Russians were completely organized.
“They wore gum shields, some had England shirts on to mix in. They were there to do the English. They were thick-set stocky guys.
“People were getting bottles smashed on their heads, baseball bats smashed into them. Loads of people were hurt. I have got tickets for the semi final but I wouldn’t come if it was here. It’s toxic here.
“Later on the way to the game a group of locals starting spitting at us. We told them to stop and they took out knives on us. The police were nowhere then.”
The Daily Mail reports that “Unlike his paunchy, drunken British counterpart, the Russian football hooligan is a truly terrifying figure.”
They then go on to describe them as “well disciplined and prepared, extremely fit, muscular and politically motivated by extreme Right-wing nationalism.”
One Russian thug summed up the difference by writing on Twitter, “Respect for Russian hooligans. Real fighters, not fat f***ing drinkers of Guinness.”
The Russian Ultras have a growing reputation as the most organized and vicious species of hooligan because many have daytime jobs in the army and police.
As an Ultra called “Yuri” bragged on Facebook, “‘We are hard men, many from the army and police.”
“Not soft English men in their Lacoste clothes and girls’ shoes. Fans from all clubs, Moscow, St Petersburg, anywhere, will all be on same side.
“We fight in the woods, and train and fight at matches. England fans will have no chance. Russia is number one. We like beer and girls, too, just like you but fighting is number one.”
English football has long been associated with its own hooligan sub-culture, and it is apparently this which has inspired the Russian Ultras to go rampaging across Europe, according to one member who made the connection on social media prior to the tournament.
“English hooligans used to be cool, and ten to 20 years ago they were a role model for Russian fans.
“But time goes by and at the coming Euros, the English alcoholics will be beaten up by Russian sportsmen. The English are not as passionate as they once were.
“Speaking of Russia, you’re dealing with some of the most violent and unpredictable hooligans of Europe.”
Yet many Russian fans leaving Marseille profusely apologized for the actions of their Ultras.
Dasha Timofeeva, 27, from Siberia, attended the game with her 55-year-old father Viktor and made a plea for people to understand that not all Russian fans are hooligans, adding that not all England fans are innocent too.
“We are of course sorry to the English who got hurt, but please believe us that not all Russian people are like these hooligans.
“There is a hooligan sub-culture in Russia and sorry but there is nothing us fans can do about that. We were very surprised that there were no police in the stadium. Why not?
“In Russia the police are very strong and keep the hooligans in control. There was no control in the stadium last night.
“But also, the English fans were not kind either. My father and I were in the Old Port and had to run away from the bottles and gas.
“Other England supporters said sorry to us. So both countries have good and bad people at football matches.”
[Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images]