VIDEO: Bourne and Stamford football fans describe the moment 400 Russian fans turned on them in Marseille and beat men, women and children
England fans from Bourne and Stamford have described the awful moment they cam under attack by Russian fans in Marseille on Saturday night.
England and Russia now face the threat of expulsion from Euro 2016 after fans clashed on Saturday.
There have been contrasting reports of who started the violence but two local men described what they saw first-hand.
Craig Buckley from Helpston near Stamford told BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: “Things had been building up all weekend in the square between police, Russians, English and French, but Saturday was something completely different.
“We were enjoying a beer in the square, there were people eating and dining, it was literally like a cafe scene, there were restaurants, and then out of nowhere there were 100, at least, Russian fans came down these steps which basically surrounded the square with all kinds of weapon and it completely went crazy.
“It just sort of took your breath away as they came storming, some people ran, I wasn’t really in a position to do so, there was a guy with a baton which was cable-linked up to a rucksack on his back, so God knows what that did.
“I was fortunate enough that a cafe owner helped me get inside his cafe and put his shutters down and then the guy was banging his baton onto the shutters. It was a really horrible scene.
“When the shutters came up and the noise was gone we went out and there was a guy in a really bad way. Me and a friend I was out there with pleaded with the police to come and help him and in the end they did. They were needing to perform CPR on him, he had blood coming down his face, it was a truly horrible scene and he is the one who is being reported as being in a critical way and I hope he pulls through, but it really didn’t look good.”
He added: “I think the police could have done a lot to prevent it, their handling of everything I’ve seen over there has been terrible.
“The England fans had an area, an area dominated by the English and they didn’t leave the area. Everything that happened came to us, with Marseille fans and Russian fans and things being thrown at us, and of course, there were 30,000 England fans out there and there were a handful of England fans who didn’t help the situation, but the English didn’t leave their area, it all came to them. The police would then just fire tear gas in any direction, it was pretty awful out there to be fair.”
There was also trouble after the match as Russian fans broke down the segregation barriers to get to the England fans and set off flares.
Mr Buckley told the BBC: “It was truly awful, probably even worse when you think of the women and children that were in there as well.
“England vs Russia in Marseille had to be the biggest theoretical target for ISIS and the fact that people were able to get flares and whatever they were using to make those explosion sounds, in there is truly unbelievable. You go there and you hope the authorities are going to do there thing to keep you safe and you trust them, but the fact that they got those in there, and the flares were then the sign for the Russians to charge us.”
Craig Lyons from Bourne, who was also in Marseille, told Paul Stainton on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire: “They (Russian fans) attacked anyone, they didn’t care if they were women, children, old, French, English, they just threw chairs at us, bottles, they through punches at people. It was just carnage.”
Conflicting reports have sought to place the blame on fans from England, Russia and French ultras.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We’re in contact with French authorities about a British national injured in Marseille and stand ready to provide further support.