Inside storming of Wembley – knife threat, serious sex assault, traumatised kids

A steward was threatened with a knife, a woman fan seriously sexually assaulted and a tearful schoolboy traumatised by the shocking ‘storming of Wembley’.

Now the horrendous scenes before the Euro 2020 final could damage our chances of hosting the 2030 World Cup.

England legend Sir Geoff Hurst and former Sports Minister Richard Caborn were among those left stunned by the appalling security breaches, fearing it could hit the 2030 bid.

Fans described how “several hundred” people had “poured in” to Wembley without tickets.

I watched in horror at the carnage unfolding at Gate F and Gate G before the game and I saw several dozen storm the turnstiles.

What is your opinion on the scenes at Wembley? Join the discussion in the comment section

A police officer is seen with a blood soaked head waiting for an ambulance outside Wembley

I spoke to a distraught young steward who said a ticketless England fan pulled a knife on him.

He told me: “The man said ‘you ARE going to let me in’.

“What was I going to do? I earn £8.90 an hour – I’m not getting stabbed for that.”

One woman, who was wearing a skirt, stopped me to say she had been subjected to a very serious sexual assault in the crush outside as a man threatened her and tailgated her to get through the turnstiles.

Stewards rush to hold back fans pushing on barriers
Stewards rush to hold back fans pushing on barriers

A bloodied England fan in the West end of London
A bloodied England fan in the West end of London

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A young lad, perhaps 11 or 12, was clearly traumatised, His Sikh dad was consoling him but the boy was just begging to be taken home.

I took some time with him to try and reassure him that most England fans were decent. His dad didn’t know whether to stay or just turn around and go home.

Security at the match was organised by UEFA in conjunction with the FA and the Metropolitan Police.

Fil Sollof has been with the England Fans Travel Club for over 20 years.

Fif Sollof and son Jordan
Fif Sollof and son Jordan

The fans storm Wembley
The fans storm Wembley

The 56-year-old company director from Loughton, Essex said: “I have travelled to all corners of the globe to watch England and I have never seen anything like Sunday night.

“It’s a total disgrace that makes me so embarrassed to be an England fan.

“The total night was completely un-policed and the stewards couldn’t cope.

“Any hopes of us getting the 2030 World Cup have ended.”

Police and England fans in London's Piccadilly Circus after Italy won the UEFA Euro 2020 Final
Police and England fans in London’s Piccadilly Circus after Italy won the UEFA Euro 2020 Final

He explained that there is usually an outer ring and then an inner ring at any international games he usually goes to.

But the system on Sunday completely failed.

I was already inside and was alerted when people started running through the concourse followed by chasing stewards.

I watched the chaotic scenes unfold and – because I was wearing a lanyard – many distraught fans coming through thought I was working for Wembley.

Pushing past the security checks in a melee
Pushing past the security checks in a melee

They begged me for help.

One said: “Why don’t you f***ing do something?

“Someone is going to die out there.”

They were calling for police to be brought in to stop the frightening crush outside.

There were many fights breaking out – in the main it was England fans with tickets, who had got in early, angrily attacking those getting in illegally.

Fans without tickets managed to make their way in
Fans without tickets managed to make their way in

I watched a group of 30 youngsters who had just broken into the stadium storm section 104.

Videos posted online showed some of these shocking incidents.

The stewards were overwhelmed and terrified.

Some were used as a human barricade to stop even more fans getting in.

Other ticketless fans came through the disabled entrances.

And some others waited until a fan inside was held and ejected and then rushed through the open door.

I watched in astonishment as a dad and his young son, perhaps ten, broke in.

They were caught, stopped and held as they tried to melt into the crowds.

But as they were about to be thrown out he shouted “run” and, holding his lad’s hand, they sprinted into the concourse and disappeared into the mass of fans.

I saw that sort of scenario happen on perhaps 15/20 occasions.

Former Liverpool star Dominic Matteo was affected.

Dominic Matteo's Instagram posts
Dominic Matteo’s Instagram posts

Matteo was shocked
Matteo was shocked

He tweeted: “The entry process was shambolic. I didn’t even stay to watch the game as the atmosphere was so hostile at many different points of entry, with children present being pushed to the ground scared and crying.”

Elliott Hind, 33, from Milton Keynes, Bucks, said: “That’s probably the worst match day experience of my life out of hundreds I’ve been to and I was at Marseille in 2016.”

Daily Mirror Travel Editor Nigel Thompson at Gate G said: “A mob of young men arrived at about 6.45pm and it turned ugly and scary very quickly.

“Yobs were leaping into the queue ahead of me and trying to tailgate fans with tickets going through the turnstiles.

“I saw a melee at the disabled access point; one door was kicked open and dozens of men ran through. It could have been 100, they just poured in.

Fans attempt to storm into Wembley Stadium
Fans attempt to storm into Wembley Stadium

“I saw families with young kids in tears – it was really nasty and menacing.

“I was really shocked by the lack of security for such a showpiece event.’’

FA chief executive Mark Bullingham has launched an inquiry.

He said: “There were a large number of drunken yobs trying to force their way in, we run a stadium not a fortress.”

Sir Geoff said the scenes were disgraceful and could harm England’s chances of hosting the 2030 World Cup unless lessons were learnt.

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He said: “If we hold the world cup here then measures will have to be taken to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.

Richard Caborn said: “They got it wrong and it could have far reaching implications. “I hope it won’t impact 2030.

“They didn’t get it right last night, they’ve got to look at it and say we got it wrong but we have wherewithal in the country to put it right.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “Those scenes were unacceptable and we condemn violence, antisocial behaviour and abuse in the strongest possible terms.

“As with all major policing operations there will be lessons to be learned.”

Broadcaster John Duggan tweeted: “You can forget about the 2030 World Cup bid. Disgraceful.”

Police arrested 49 people in the aftermath of the game as 19 officers were injured in and around Wembley Stadium.

Asked at tonight’s (Monday’s) Downing Street press conference if hooligans who stormed Wembley could derail the joint UK and Ireland bid to host the 2030 World Cup, the Prime Minister said: “Obviously I think the UK does have a very good case, together with Ireland, and we will be making that case.

“I think it was a shame that a small minority yesterday tried to spoil it or behave badly.

“I don’t think that they damaged the atmosphere, certainly not in the stadium itself.

“But we will be looking at exactly what happened.

“I think there were particular difficulties in policing and enforcing an event in the context of the ( coronavirus ) testing and social distancing rules.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The isolated outbreaks of violence witnessed in London yesterday evening were appalling.

“It is disappointing that such an exciting and historic occasion was marred by a small minority.

“This behaviour is unacceptable, is not reflective of true fans, and has no place in our city.

“The police and FA have my full support in taking action against anyone who is identified to have illegally forced their way into Wembley stadium or been behind the violent scenes witnessed after the match.”

He revealed police had made 86 arrests so far.

‘Iconic heart of the capital had been properly trashed’

– By Tom Parry, special correspondent

As I made my way from Piccadilly Circus to the Trafalgar Square Euro 2020 fan zone on Sunday, a man in an England shirt appeared at my shoulder, a few inches away.

Every time I moved, he followed me, clearly trying to intimidate and provoke a reaction.

This menace, at least double my weight, didn’t speak or respond when I said, “leave it, mate”. He stayed unnervingly at my side, hoping I’d crack, presumably because I wasn’t wearing an England shirt myself as I’d come dressed for a potentially long evening’s work in the rain.

Sweeping machines clear rubbish from Piccadilly after england fans trashed the capital
Sweeping machines clear rubbish from Piccadilly after england fans trashed the capital

What was most shocking was that he was with a large group, which included several children, some in pushchairs. They were all wearing England tops.

None of his companions intervened; in fact they egged him on.

Only when we reached the first police cordon did he finally give up.

Across the road, outside New Zealand House, another brawl was breaking out.

Girls’ screamed and the dull thump of punches landing was interrupted by the sound of a bottle being smashed.

The morning after the night before as London cleans up
The morning after the night before as London cleans up

The fan zone metal crowd control barriers were now manned by riot police, three of four deep in places. They had been brought in after thugs without free ballot tickets tried to storm their way in.

Meanwhile several hundred spectators had managed to get onto the upper steps of the National Gallery so they could see the big screens inside.

It was an ugly, intimidating atmosphere, one which reminded me of the scenes of anti-social England hooligans causing mayhem in Marseille in 2016.

England fans in the West end of London
England fans in the West End of London

This, however, was not just a nasty minority. As footage posted online on Sunday showed, fighting and vandalism took place on a massive scale.

By brushing this off as an isolated few, politicians are ignoring a bigger problem which flares up every time England plays in a big tournament.

After the penalty shoot-out defeat, I trudged back to Holborn Tube station through Chinatown and Covent Garden on a sticky carpet of broken glass, urine, beer and nitrous oxide canisters. Nearly every step of the way. The iconic heart of the capital had been properly trashed.

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