Arash Shahideh, a 57-year-old man from Philadelphia (right) and his two sons, Kia and Ata

Paris sees Red! Liverpool fans flock to the French capital


The Red Army of Liverpool football fans began arriving in Paris today as 6,000 French police officers prepared to welcome them to the European Cup finals.

The massive security operation was launched on Friday, in time for a kick-off against Saturday’s Real Madrid champion on Saturday night.

“We expect more than 60,000 Liverpool fans to come and about two-thirds will be without tickets,” a local police spokesman said.

“There will be less from Madrid, but both groups of supporters will be encouraged to use the fanzones and respect others who enjoy the city this weekend.”

Police have confirmed that 6,000 police officers and gendarmes will be on the streets of the French capital over the weekend.

Many believers in downtown Liverpool came from thousands of miles away, including the United States and South America.

“We had to be here and we started making plans before the semifinals,” said Arash Shahideh, a 57-year-old from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Arash Shahideh, a 57-year-old man from Philadelphia (right) and his two sons, Kia and Ata

Rowan Poudley and Annan Parmar, two nineteen-year-olds from Bristol

The atmosphere is absorbed by Kathalina Sanchez

Rowan Poudley and Annan Parmar from Bristol and Kathalina Sanchez soak up the atmosphere

“I have supported Liverpool all my life and will get to Anfield as soon as I can,” said Mr Shahideh, who was with his sons Kia Shahideh (26) and Ata Shahideh (23).

“We flew for an extended weekend and fortunately we all have tickets. We hope that Liverpool will win 2: 1. “

Liverpool’s Ben Hines, 23, Ben Lee, 22 and Chris McCarthy, 20, arrived from their hometown and displayed a red flag saying ‘Liverpool FC: Wherever You Go, I Go’.

Liverpudlians Ben Hines, 23, Ben Lee, 22 and Chris McCarthy, 20, show their flag in Paris

Liverpudlians Ben Hines, 23, Ben Lee, 22 and Chris McCarthy, 20, show their flag in Paris

They are all loyal and experienced fans who have watched their club around the world, so they had no problem organizing a successful trip.

“We managed to find a studio where we could stay for less than £ 200 for the weekend, and the two of us still have tickets,” said Mr Hines, a veteran of epic finals including Liverpool’s match against Real Madrid in Kiev, Ukraine. , in 2018.

“When we arrived in Paris this time, there were many cancellations from Liverpool, but we were very lucky and it did not affect us,” Hines added.

Rowan Poudley and Annan Parmar, two nineteen-year-olds from Bristol, were determined to be in Paris because of the atmosphere.

Both are students at the end of the school year – Mr Poudley is away at Liverpool University to study criminology and Mr Parmar will read Politics in Birmingham.

Dror Moran, a 55-year-old Israeli, arrived specifically to fight his son Id.

Dror Moran, a 55-year-old Israeli, arrived specifically to fight his son Id.

“Neither of us has tickets, but that won’t stop us from enjoying the game,” Mr Parmar said. “We managed to find a decent place to stay outside the city and the public transport has been quite good so far.”

Kathalina Sanchez (35) is from Colombia and is a big fan of Liverpool’s star striker Luis Diaz.

“I just hope he scores points on Saturday,” said Mrs. Sanchez, who was with friends from Lyon in eastern France, where she currently works.

“I’ve been cheering Liverpool since I was a kid, because my dad was a big fan. I started loving Michael Owen and my captain Stevie Gerrard and now I love players like Diaz and Sadio Mané. “

Dror Moran, a 55-year-old Israeli, arrived especially for the match with his son Ido Moran (22).

“I’ve been a fan of Liverpool for over 40 years, since the 70’s,” Moran said. “We managed to get tickets through UEFA and also accommodation. We hope Liverpool win 2: 1.

Liverpool fans arriving in Paris via Eurostar said the tickets were “like gold dust” and many said they just came there to enjoy the atmosphere.

Dad Finton O’Leary, 48, of Shrewsbury arrived with his son Jon Joe, 10, on a crowded train from London St Pancras, MailOnline said: ‘We don’t have a ticket to the match. They’re like gold dust, but we’re here because of the atmosphere.

“If we get a ticket, then yes, but if not, we will watch the match in a fan zone or restaurant somewhere in Paris.

“The Champions League final is always worth going and being in a city where Liverpool plays is fantastic.”

Jon Joe said at Liverpool Scarf: “I’m really excited and looking forward to the match. I don’t mind watching it on TV and I’m sure we will win 2: 1 goals for Mane and Diaz. “

Finton O'Leary and his son Jon Joe (10) arrived by train but do not have tickets to the match

Finton O’Leary and his son Jon Joe (10) arrived by train but do not have tickets to the match

Dentist Fayaz Ladak, 43, arrived on the same train with his research wife Shiela after traveling from their home in Leeds and we were both wearing Liverpool jerseys.

Shiela said: “I’m really excited about the game. It’s my first final and I can’t wait. I’m sure Liverpool will win 3: 1. It will be a fantastic night.

“There was silence on the train, I didn’t sing as much as I expected, but again it was a very early start from London and I’m sure it will improve over the day.”

Fayaz, who paid 1,360 euros for a ticket after receiving it through a club vote, said: “I went to Kiev when we lost to Real Madrid and I was in Madrid when we beat Tottenham.

“This match will be revenge for Kyiv.” It will be difficult, but I believe we will win 3: 2. The atmosphere will be fantastic.

“Liverpool fans know how to party when they leave. There will be no trouble, it will just be an all-day party and if there is something like Madrid and Kyiv in the fan zone, it will be amazing. “

Dentist Fayaz Ladak and his wife Shiela traveled from Leeds to Paris for Saturday's finals

Dentist Fayaz Ladak and his wife Shiela traveled from Leeds to Paris for Saturday’s finals

Architect Kevin Owens (51) was also at Gare du Nord with his sons Tyler (19) and Ashley (12) after traveling from Welling Garden City in Hertfordshire and also had tickets to the match.

Kevin said: “It was an early start for us, but it will be worth it. We’re all big Liverpool fans and we were lucky with tickets because I helped design the Stade de France.

“I’m involved in the 2024 Paris Olympics, so we got tickets, but even if we didn’t have them, we would still come.

“We booked the train and accommodation three weeks ago and it was really expensive, but now we’re here and we’ll enjoy it.”

Ashley, who is taking a break from camping in her garden to raise money for a dog charity, said: “I was in the tent for 423 nights, so two nights in bed will be great.

“I am so excited about the match and I can’t wait. It will be 3: 1 for Liverpool. “

Kevin Owens and his sons Tyler (19) and Ashley (12) are excited about the clash with Real Madrid.

Kevin Owens and his sons Tyler (19) and Ashley (12) are excited about the clash with Real Madrid.

The bars around Gare du Nord were also full of Liverpool fans who enjoyed an early morning and the atmosphere was good.

Police watched supporters discreetly as they sang and chanted, but one security source told the local French media: “We do not expect any trouble from Liverpool, but we are wary of local Paris St Germain supporters who want to start fights and local criminals abusing visitors. . ‘

UEFA officials have set up a Fan Zone for Liverpool fans in the east of the city at the Cours de Vincennes, six miles from the country, with gates that open from noon and offer food and drink, as well as music from Lightening Seeds.

Real, which is supposed to have only about 30,000 fans in Paris, has established a similar zone for them near the stadium in the north of the city.

Around 7,000 police officers will be on duty at the match and the sale of alcohol in the area is prohibited from Saturday 18:00 to Sunday 2:00 in the morning, but fans will be able to drink at the stadium.

The area around the famous Champs-Elysses in central Paris was closed by police on Thursday and will not reopen until Sunday evening.

Liverpool supporters pose for the camera after arriving at Gard de Nord on Friday morning

Liverpool supporters pose for the camera after arriving at Gard de Nord on Friday morning

A statement from the Paris police said: ‘For this occasion, the Prefect de de Police has taken various measures to ensure the smooth running of the match and to guarantee the safety of the fans near the Stade de France and the fan zone.’

The final was originally supposed to be played in St. Petersburg, but UEFA moved it to France after Russia got rid of the game’s glamor after the invasion of Ukraine.

Flights to Paris from the UK were all sold out and Eurostar services were also reported as busy, as were ferries from Dover to Calais.

Twenty extra flights from Liverpool John Lennon Airport are scheduled today and tomorrow, and demand has led to higher prices.

Ryanair charged £ 457 for the seats in the days after Liverpool qualified, while after the final air fare it was only £ 9.99.

The ticket website charged an incredible € 15,000 for category 1 seats, while even the cheapest tickets exchanged hands for € 2,000.

Hotels were also at a premium, as three-star hotels charged £ 250 a night for weekend stays.

To get there, one Liverpool fan bought a second-hand bus and charged the other fans just £ 1 a seat.

Fans are taking their first steps to Paris after taking the Eurostar from London before the match

Fans are taking their first steps to Paris after taking the Eurostar from London before the match

Simon Wilson – who bought a car for £ 40 in 2019 to make it to Madrid for the final against Tottenham – said: “A few years ago, I saw fans getting extortionate awards.

“People who were big fans and just wanted to go to the game couldn’t because it was so expensive.

“I wanted to take Škoda to this final, but there are only a few seats in the car.” We wanted something a little bigger so we could help people.

“I bought the cheapest bus in the UK I found. I just googled ‘cheap coaches’ and came across this one.’

He told Liverpool Echo: “For me, it’s just about helping people get there. Gasoline costs over £ 1,500. I paid the coach, the drivers are both paid, you have insurance and so on.

“The cost of this is a small fortune, but we only charge people back £ 1. The point is to make it affordable for people who want to go and experience it for a lifetime. ”

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