lun. Sep 23rd, 2019

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Inside England vs Russia in Marseille – Review’s english version

6 min read

French’s version here !


I have chosen to take a day off before publishing this report to have a bit of fresh air to think about that and to be honest to be objective as possible. I’m not a Hooligan, not an Ultra (even if I’m closed to this culture, that I appreciate), I’m just a fan of popular football. So it was with a huge smile that I have learnt the draw for Euro that gave me this amazing England VS Russia!

Previous night before the game, the tone was done. Guys from Marseille and English fought each other. For some of them it was a sort of revenge of Tunisia-England (1998, fights in Marseille between Tunisian from Marseille and English fans), for other French guys it was just a way to see the level of the iconic English Hools. Thinking about taking picture of trophies, stolen to British, it’s like the Grail for some Marseille’s fans. That’s weird because, these guys had disappeared from the city-center when Russian had come. Strange!

Strange because, as said the French Authority against Hooligans (specific division working on football’s violence in France), Russians in Marseille were not part of Hools group… Worst, the director of this division said that Russian Hooligans is not quite common and not really well-known! This sentence should sound really fun, if the consequences were not tragic. How, a guy like me, not specialized on this subject could be aware about Gladiator Firm 96, Orel Butchers members and so on, will be there in France to fight against British, weeks before the Euro started and a professional as him, paid for this specific mission, was not? These two groups example are definitely not made of nice tender guys loving fair game… They are specialists of fighting; they train every day MMA to fight each other in the woods for their group. A sort of team sports of fighting that you could easily find some examples in the internet. I have seen them in Marseille’s streets, these guys are not wanted to fight because they get drunk, they were well organized, moved together in small groups as paramilitary groups, everyone had a task to do… Ok, in front of them, English are not angels, but they were less prepared, less organized (a bit more drunk also…), more old-school way. It’s a sort a confrontation of two Hooligans’ schools that France received in his face and to be honest, the Russian side was frightening efficient. The lack of quantity was compensated by a military organization, in Marseille no Russian was arrested, it was not a coincidence…

Hools - Marseille
New official SPORT – the CHAIR THROWING

Okay that’s enough, I prefer to talk about the game now! After few beers in fanzone (specific area with huge screen and beers…) and around (see my video of  “Don’t Look Back In Anger »), a small walk for “digestive” health is necessary! We made friends with a small English group coming from Nottingham, one of them is speaking French (a bit, come on he is a English guy, everybody knows that the only language they learnt is English)! Amazing! He highlights me that my English is quite better than all French’s cop he met before, I don’t know exactly how I can take this joke, so we drink beers!!! He asked me some questions about my feelings on Benzema, I asked him if he preferred Giroud or Sterling… A good mood before the game, and a huge contrast compared to the violent facts around! Arrived at Prado’s roundabout (close to the stadium) we received a shower from cop’s truck and a bit of gas, a good way to prepare our evening! Since Paris was attacked by terrorists, authority had installed the emergency state (basically a reduction of freedoms for more security….), this emergency in association with an high risky game like England-Russia, were obliged us to go in several check-points and it was a really long process to come inside the Velodrome stadium. So two check-points, but in fact, really not efficient, really light strip-search, not really surprising that some Russians were able to come inside the stadium with flare guns…

Fan Zone
Fanzone, quite quiet during the wales victory

The Velodrome is full of English fans, the atmosphere was amazing, we took position behind the goal and I have to said that it was for me one of the best atmosphere I ever seen for a national team… The real football culture was in front of me, really different to the “Olé” that pathetic French supporters made during France-Romania at the 93rd minute…

After a brilliant God Save the Queen, a Grigg’s/Vardy’s on fire, your defense is terrified (the non-official song of this Euro) and a wonderful « Please don’t take me home » (that I have sang, thanks to our English friend who taught me it just few minutes before), that’s begun! The Three Lions made a good pressure, good moves, but the finish is not coming… Sterling was a pity during all the game, everybody can see that, except English coach as well! Small aside, I have seen a lot of good players in live (I say that because watching football on TV is « not true », you can’t see everything, the game without the ball, the “vista”, the re-positioning are not on-screen) and I have to say that I understand, now, why Wayne Rooney is loved in England. I knew that he is a really good player, but in live it is more impressive. His position, his moves without the ballare wonderful, he is a complete player and above all something that English loved and I confess, me too, he has the fighting spirit, the rage!

Well, the game, a lot of wasted opportunities by both sides, the pressure is on every shoulders, English are dominating but it is sterile… After Dier’s goal on free-kick, we thought that the Russian door was definitely opened and the English should goal again… It was without thinking about the « soviet » abnegation, that offer the unthinkable draw to the eastern country. After the Russian’s goal, we saw a huge gap on the opposite stand, we understood that Russian invaded the English area after the goal… Sad game for my evening’s friends!

russiafans
Russians fans inside the Velodrome

I will finish my paper to give you my opinion on peripheral events around this game. The feeling that France discover the violence around football has disappointed me. I don’t want to minimize the incident, these kind of tragic stuff was common in 80-90’s, there were less proofs, no smartphones and social networks to set the climate of fear… This climate, that I’m sure, is quite helpful for some powerful man in this country. In this sad story, football is only the vector of the violence, suppress alcohol sale will not change a lot of thing. And intimidate the next world cup organizer and the country who created this sport to be disqualified is just bullshit. First of all because this choice seems totally impossible for a corrupted European federation and also because, culprits here are not only “soviet MMA soldiers” and “traditional British alcoholics”, but the organizer of this party, wasted by their incompetency and condescension.

French authorities were alerted several times by French Ultras about the repressive method without any discernment and the lack of discussion and organization with people who know the football culture. Now, you have to take your responsibilities, stop blaming Russia and England, your reaction was supposed to talk with these countries to cover themselves their fans. After that your last move is to resign…

It is not with shit sowing that you will be able to harvest gold!

 

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