Liverpool fan needs knee rebuilt after 'hammer attack' at Champions League Final

30 June 2022, 11:43

Danny Smith was attacked and robbed after the Champions League final
Danny Smith was attacked and robbed after the Champions League final. Picture: LBC

By Chris Chambers

A Liverpool fan needs to have his knee rebuilt after a group of thugs battered him with a hammer and robbed him as he left the Champions League Final in Paris on May 28th.

Danny Smith was in the French Capital with his 13-year-old son to watch the final between Liverpool and Real Madrid.

As they left the stadium, Danny was smashed in the leg with what's believed to be a hammer, and then robbed.

Since then, he has been in hospital waiting for an operation to reconstruct his knee, before preparing to embark upon a long rehabilitation period - likely to be nine months or more.

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Well-wishers have raised over £16,000 to help Danny's recovery
Well-wishers have raised over £16,000 to help Danny's recovery. Picture: LBC

Kevin Morland is one of Danny's best friends, he told LBC: "Before the game he was caught up in everything that happened, the tear-gassing and the crushing outside.

"He said it was horrendous. Danny was at Hillsborough and says it was the closest thing to Hillsborough he's ever been involved in.

"What happened after the game was on another level. They were getting followed by a load of locals towards a tunnel. He said they just came from everywhere, knocked onto the floor and just felt a pain to his leg. He was swamped on, hands going in his pockets, they took his money, his phone, his chain. Took everything that he had off him.

"He was in massive amounts of pain. A couple of Liverpool fans managed to get him into a hotel where he collapsed, they really feared for him, thought he was dead."

Fans have raised over £16,000 to help him after the shocking attack

"His knee has been destroyed. The doctors have said on a scale of one to six (six being severe), he's a six. They've done an operation, fitted a brace, screwed into his shin and his knee to stop him doing any more damage, and told him he needs a major operation to rebuild his knee. He'll need a cage around the outside of his knee and wear that for over nine months.

"He's been waiting for his operation and it keeps being cancelled. He doesn't want create a fuss but we're all very worried about him. He lives on the 11th floor of a block of flats on his own and he's more-or-less immobile. You don't know what the long term damage could be."

"We're five weeks down the line and he's not been able to do any rehab yet. He's been told it will never been the same again but we don't really know the long term effects of it.

"He only gets eight weeks sick pay and he's already five weeks into that so we set up a fundraising page for him... so many people have backed it. Liverpool fans, Everton fans, Manchester United fans, Chelsea fans, PSG fans, all kinds of people have come together to support Danny. We're all just very concerned about him."

Earlier this week, the French interior minister Gerald Darmanin apologised to "everyone who suffered from bad management" at the Champions League final in Paris.

However, the 39-year-old, who had previously made outlandish claims about the number of counterfeit tickets in circulation at the Stade de France, stopped short of saying sorry to the Liverpool fans he blamed for the problems on the night of the club's defeat to Real Madrid.

"Should the Stade de France have been better managed? The answer is yes," he told French radio station RTL after supporters were locked out and then tear-gassed after serious congestion problems developed.

"Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes. Of course, I readily apologise towards everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event."

After the match supporters complained of being robbed by local gangs with police, who had earlier employed heavy-handed methods in an attempt to deal with the growing crowd issue, offering no protection.

Darmanin said they had learned from that and France's two recent Nations League matches and the Top 14 rugby final at the stadium all passed off without major incident.

"It profoundly changed the organisation of the police headquarters," he added.

"I changed the organisation to fight against delinquency because, if there was something that went wrong at the Stade de France, it was the fight against delinquency."

Earlier this month the interior minister apologised to a French Senate committee hearing for "the disproportionate use of tear gas" but his claims that 35,000 and 40,000 supporters without tickets or fake tickets were present around the Stade de France were debunked by an UEFA official who said its own count of counterfeits was closer to 2,600.