Like the other 19,000 Liverpool spectators, I was fortunate to attend the Champions League final in Paris and I watched one of the best days of my life turn into the worst event I have ever seen at a football stadium.
Last night, the spectator park and construction were all perfect (because the last minute canceled Airbnb is blocked) and we were all in the spirit when the six of us left Nationale station for the Stadium at 4am de France – went to Saint-Denis. : 30pm local time, four and a half hours before the scheduled start.
Little did I know then that I would not go to the Stade de France until 9:30 pm and the fear that had arisen in front of us all.
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After the walk to the station, a few stops and changes – we reached the train station and saw that it was only a 15 minute walk to the stadium. Since we were also informed that we could not get to the exhibition place until 6 pm and that we still had an hour left until the opening time, we stopped for a meal and a bottle of water and at six and four o’clock we started the short walk. .
Wanting to make sure we got there quickly, we could go through any of the ticket checks we were waiting for and we wanted to see the whole building from the ground up – we thought it was over time and had already landed.
We were stopped on one street because the police stopped us behind, without checking the ticket and waiting for about 15 minutes, which seemed to create only a steady flow of supporters. Then we stopped before entering the underpass, this time for about five minutes and then another walk to an area down the road that was probably about 50 people wide and as we walked to the end of the glass-neck tunnel, the area was very fast. was full and was as big as the eyes back and forth.
The anxiety quickly grew and you would have to walk around five steps, before you had to wait for 10 minutes and this lasted for more than an hour. Liverpool songs and the optimism of the cup final turned into shouts and jokes, chants of “It looks like the 80s”, “Why are we treated like animals?”, “We will miss the boys who left” and many more complaints and concerns were spreading.
Fans sometimes turned to the crowd and said that there was a police checkpoint for tickets at the end of the big line, but even after waiting for an hour we could not see the end of the line.
Suddenly, the obstacle turned into a steady stream of people and it became clear what ticket control there was, we gave up and now we were all free to walk on the ramp and head towards the stadium. It was around this time that the team was announced for the game, we finally got up on the ramp and a few of our group after being in line for about two hours – ran to the toilet for a 15 minute walk.
When we met again, the team passed by and discussed at a meeting place, for the relevant entrance doors we were sitting in, we split into three groups and I went with Block Z to two others.
We soon started to worry because in our line it seemed that there was no guard system, a few metal doors were put in but there were no stewards or police in sight to advise where people should stop and so one of the rows began to turn in front of the stadium door. like people waiting for a pincer at a bar and there really was no organization.
After waiting for about 15 minutes, the frustration grew again as people started to not let anyone through our door. Soon rumors spread that the doors were closed, causing more anger and confusion among the supporters who should have arrived at a time like ours.
I suggested that we try another door, because we thought there might be a mistake in the surroundings and we went to door A. the spectators running around the gates was a big concern, with about five people every minute and it was clear that we would not enter the ground for a start.
We quickly looked at B and C and it was clear that this was a problem throughout the stadium. Near a Liverpool steward who was on the other end of the wire and inside the stadium, we asked what we should do and she informed us. “The gates have been closed. This is a UEFA decision and I can do nothing but advise you to go back and stand in front of the block.”.
As we were about to follow her advice, we heard a voice and then suddenly a crowd of people rushed to the ground through gate B, before a large number of police officers with riot gear started firing at them. they run away. Fans started running everywhere and it got mixed up. We walked away for fear of what might happen next, before then we saw the audience running away with their eyes closed and squinting. All around us we felt very slight signs of what pepper spray or tear gas was used.
It looked like a war scene where women, children and many others were crying and running away. The rains stopped the beer pumps and started distributing water to our spectators and there were many others who were obviously shocked by the events.
The grief of losing the match was due to the sadness of playing football and worrying about the safety of my friends and family. We knew this was going to be great news and we wanted others to know that we are still out and the family is at home so we are safe. Neither the phone signal nor the internet made it impossible for me and if my dad landed it safely it was a real nuisance.
My brother and his friend promised me that they would not return to the final again and they decided they did not want to go to the game because the number of people in and out of the stadium was not safe, never mind. there are horrific acts of police.
I asked if we could try again when we started listening to music from inside the ground and the aerial shots were fired. We were a few minutes away from the start and the whole event was good and really bad. We went back to gate Z and we saw more people fleeing to safety after the police attack, people were beaten inside the ground and still no one was around to help or advise what to do.
Police cordoned off the area around the stadium and it appears they once opened the door to ensure safe access for all. We were slowly waiting for our arrival as the news spread 15 and then 30 minutes before the start. Then a large group of people started running towards us, after which the police were confronted with the tools of the rebellion and we thought we would cut the whole pepper, or worse. When we escaped from the block we were stopped by the police and then forcibly returned to the door where we were waiting.
My heart has never been faster since I saw those people and the police coming towards us and I still do not know what it was. We were just trying to get to go watch a football game.
Finally, at 21:30 we reached the front of the queue and for the first time all day we were asked to present our tickets. Turn on the green light on the screen, then turn it off “Enjoy the game”.
We were chased, we were targeted with pepper spray, we were torn apart by family and friends, we could not call home, our faces were covered in smoke and really – the game was no longer important.
I had spent so much money to get there and it was all ruined, a season when I watched every home game of Jurgen Klopp’s amazing team and dreamed it would end with this game, now it was all taken out of my hands and all of us.
When the players knelt down, we fell to the ground, our seats were taken and the hands were full of people. There was no place to go and wait and the game was like a falcon. I was able to receive some signals and was able to send messages home to let people know we were okay and discovered that the rest of our group had all reached the ground.
It took about half an hour to get the game focused and to be honest – it was a result that deserved the day. Not our amazing players and football team but the way we were treated and the excitement was stolen from us like that – I was not really interested.
I have never been like that, I will miss every event to watch the Liverpool game and I will do my best not to miss a single second of a game. This was the final of the Champions League and I could not excite myself for it.
Come August, I will be on the Copa and give back to the boys in hopes of ending the season in Istanbul and hopefully watching us win the seventh European Cup, but the day in Paris was taken from me.
I always wondered what we could do to get away from it? I never went to a cat where so many people were screaming and crying. I have never participated in such an unorganized event. Never go to a Champions League final where your tickets are not checked until you reach the referees. Never in my life had he felt so terrible.
In my mind there is no doubt that many journalists, members of the media, family members of actors and celebrities who have participated have helped us. Their testimonies of events will help our case to show that we are not guilty. I would add that there were also people without tickets and this did not help the queue and access to the stadium, the very low number of tickets that were delivered to us caused frustration and hence the congestion. All the police and UEFA had to do was check the tickets when we got off the train. They were too small for a game of that size and needed to control more and more people.
How can the club’s football show event be so poorly organized?
There will be people who will not go to another game after Paris and I am sure of that. The result of each investigation should only end with a full refund for all supporters, why do people have to pay / 100/200/300/400 to be attacked and lose the structure?
I’m not a fan of Camila Cabello, but I did not arrive at the stadium three hours early to get away from all the construction. I lost all the excitement of the game and it is my last memory of football for the next few months.
As long as I live I will never forget that day and the game is not even among the 10 worst memories of the day. There needs to be more tickets for the game, in a stadium that is better constructed, with enough police and stewards to handle the crowd, with fewer spectators trying to reach without tickets and more control before you get around stadium.
I would say the mistake of the day is 90 percent of UEFA and the police, but there needs to be a change in the culture of trying to go to a football game without a ticket. I was very lucky to get a cup final ticket and I am aware of it, but if the events in Paris show us anything – it is that bad police can lead to tragic situations. Have enough stadium and town to have enough of our thousands of supporters. Paris is not that city.
I am proud to be a Liverpool fan, proud to be from our hometown and proud of our fanatical support. Seeing the headlines next to us is so exciting and we hope to get the right result that confirms that we had the worst reception I have ever seen at a major sporting event.
The Reds will be back next season but so many people who have tried the Stade de France for fear would not want to face it again. I do not blame them.
‘Paris should be ashamed’ – Spectator accounts of police attack, ‘UEFA’s imperfection’ and the Champions League Final when it came out.