Hartlepool football fans safe after Marseille violence

England fans Ian Hendry (white shirt) and Richard Body set of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID
England fans Ian Hendry (white shirt) and Richard Body set of to support England during Euro 2016. Photograph by FRANK REID

Proud Poolies sent a message home saying “we’re safe” after last night’s clash between Russia and England fans.

Pals Ian Hendry, 47, and Richard Boddy, 36, had been enjoying the Three Lions Euro 2016 match ahead of Russian supporters storming the England fans’ area after the final whistle in the Stade Velodrome in Marseille.

The incident came after a third day of violence in the Mediterranean port city left as many as 20 England fans injured, with reportedly several seriously hurt in bloody clashes between rival fans.

Ian, who has tickets to all three of England’s group games, said: “We weren’t caught up in it. If you were looking for trouble it was down at the Port and there was plenty of information telling fans not to go down there, so we were well out of it.

“It wasn’t England, it really wasn’t. You could tell it had been properly organised, a group of them went into the end where there were England fans, many of them families.

“Before that it had been fantastic, it had been absolutely bouncing, though we were deflated when that last goal went it.”

Uefa is understood to be launching an investigation into the crowd incidents.

The scenes from inside the stadium following the match raise serious questions about French security at a time when the country is on high alert after November’s terrorist attacks on Paris.

Just before the end of the game white flares were lit in the Russian end, followed by a green rocket which went over England goalkeeper Joe Hart’s goal.