When the draw came out for Lille it was clear that the Evertonians were going to be well up for the trip. Estimates of how many of us went vary but it was certainly an blue invasion of the French city
The game itself was quite poor which was a shame as it would of been wonderful to see Everton score and the travelling thousands go manic.
Lille city and the police force were shambolic. I can only think that the outdated reputation of English fans abroad was one of the reasons that they felt that a heavy handed approach was necessary. The French news was reporting under the headline of ‘Fight Club’ and the police say they were acting in self-defence. The crucial statistic for me is that there was only one Evertonian arrested, and that was for the drug dealing that led to the confusion in the main square on Thursday. The fact that no-one got arrested for behaviour speaks volumes about how we conducted ourselves.
Before the game they also decided to cancel the Metro as they couldn’t handle the amount of fans coming through. This led to fans from both sides stranded in the city centre with many arriving late for the match. The riot police at the stadium were again aggressive and had to go through 3 sets of checks to get into the ground after being lead in like cattle.
Everton fans were patient and calm throughout and were an absolute credit. With there aggressive tactics and tension created by the police it could of been a lot worse. Obviously Lille had never dealt with this many fans before and that really showed.
Everton fans were there for a good time with hundreds still there last night chanting away in the bars with no trouble at all. It moments like this which highlight was a special club we all support, and how each one of us make one of the best supported clubs in Europe.