‘I thought my time was up’ - Liverpool fans recollect worrying scenes ahead of Champions League Final

Supporters have delivered a chilling recollection of the scenes that caused much concern on Saturday evening.

Liverpool supporters have given an insight into the frightening scenes that marred the buildup to Saturday’s Champions League Final against Real Madrid.

Over 60,000 supporters are believed to have travelled to Paris to get behind Jurgen Klopp’s side as they faced the La Liga giants at the Stade de France.

But any on-field action became of secondary importance as Reds supporters were subjected to atrocious behaviour from the French authorities and a complete lack of organisation outside of the stadium.

With severe security protocols in place, only a minimal number of gates were opened as supporters were squeezed through a narrow access area in a move that provoked a very real concern that injuries could be sustained.

The French authorities and UEFA themselves were quick to incorrectly point the finger at Liverpool supporters, suggesting that a number had arrived with counterfeit tickets and reporting that a number had tried to gain access to the stadium by climbing over fences.

France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin described ‘fraud on an industrial scale’ played a significant role in the panic that was caused outside the stadium as helpless supporters were subjected to tear gas and pepper spray by French police.

Key figures within the Liverpool hierarchy, local MPs and journalists across the country have hit back at the claims and have demanded a response from UEFA and the French authorities.

Ian Byrne, the Labour MP for Liverpool West Derby was caught amongst the panic and he described the events as ‘one of the most horrendous experiences of my life’.

Speaking earlier this week, he said: “The French authorities and UEFA are quite simply covering their own backs with this narrative.

“As a Liverpool fan, I was in Paris for the match and I can honestly say that the situation outside the ground was one of the most horrendous experiences of my life – and as a Hillsborough survivor, I do not make this comment lightly.”

Supporters at the Stade de France have also been angered by the events as they delivered a chilling verdict on what they were subjected to ahead of their side’s biggest game of the season.

Sam Inkson told NationalWorld: “I basically made the decision to stay where I was because I thought Hillsborough was about to happen.

“I thought I am going to have to help carry bodies and move people that were injured.

“If I don’t who will because the way the police and the stewards were acting towards the fans outside the ground, I thought if I don’t help, who will?

“My mate Vinnie rang me and said ‘I’ve just got through, can you come and get me, I’m at turnstile Z’.

“He got through and as I went to him, he was sitting on one of the front tier, he lost his cousin at Hillsborough and he said ‘I thought my time was up’.”

Liverpool fans are seen queuing outside the stadium prior to the UEFA Champions League final match between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid at Stade de France on May 28, 2022 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Patrick Duffy and Liam Purcell both had serious concerns about the lack of organisation before they had reached the stadium.

“We could see ahead under the underpass, there were two police vans parked at 45 degree angles so you couldn’t actually walk through,” explained Duffy.

“All you could get through was one person at a time.

“Along the left-hand side of the street, as the underpass raises itself up, it was lined with riot police.”

Purcell added: “There were no stewards, there was no ‘join this queue, go this way’.

“It was basically just everyone walk towards these gates.

“When I got there, there were two gates open, as soon as I got there, they closed one.  I’ve no idea why.

“There was one gate and basically two turnstiles to go in.

“They were the sort of turnstiles you see on the New York underground, just the small one that turns, not one you walk into, which is obviously more secure.”

"It had the potential to be another Hillsborough Disaster" say fans

With tens of thousands of supporters still waiting outside as kick-off rapidly approached, the authorities took the decision to delay the start of the game by over half an hour.

Not for the first time that evening, the message that the scenes had been caused by supporters arriving late was relayed inside the stadium.

On the outside, further panic was spreading and one supporter believes that the actions of those around him prevented serious injuries being suffered.

“I was at Hillsborough, that was horrendous when that happened,” said Reds supporter Willie Miller.

“I honestly believe what was happening there (at the Stade de France), when it started to get a bit pushy, people were going ‘stop it, push back, push back’.

“People were starting to get a bit triggered about what’s gone on.  We were going ‘move back, move back’ and then they started shouting ‘move back’.

“If it had been another set of fans, maybe it would have been a little bit different.”

UEFA have confirmed they will conduct an independent and comprehensive review into the events.