Over 5,000 fans Everton fans have traveled en masse to the French city Lille for the Toffees’ Europa League clash on Thursday.
But some have been caught up in violent scenes in northern France the night before the game, according to multiple reports.
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Apparently almost 100 local men attacked a group of Everton fans in a local Australian bar in the center of Lille on Wednesday evening, as bar stools were thrown and two Everton fans were taken to hospital with facial injuries.
Here is a club statement released by Everton on Thursday morning, after the reports of a disturbance in Lille started to trickle through.
The Club has been made aware of an isolated incident in a bar in Lille on Wednesday evening (22 October) in which a number of Evertonians were attacked by a group of around 50 local men. The Club understands that two Everton fans suffered minor facial injuries and were taken to the local hospital and that this was the only incident in what was otherwise a good-natured evening in the city centre.
The Club are in continual contact with Merseyside police officers who are in Lille today and the city’s police representatives. Supporters travelling to tonight’s match are advised to utilize the travel information provided on the official website where updates on any safety matters will also be provided.
Reports have suggested that the attack was unprovoked and Everton fans were outside smoking when the group of 100 men approached them, picked up chairs and smash the windows of the pub trying to get in.
More Everton fans are expected to arrive in Lille on Thursday, as up to 7,000 could be in France to cheer on the Toffees. Let’s hope the French police have things under control and other incidents like this don’t break out.