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Liverpool hero John Aldridge on Paris chaos: Pathetic cowards targeted women, children and elderly

Liverpool hero John Aldridge has offered his eye witness brief to the chaos experienced in Paris during last Saturday's Champions League final.

Aldridge wrote for the Sunday World: "We came close to a major disaster before last weekend's Champions League cup final - and the French authorities cannot lie their way out of the chaos they created.

"I was in Paris for the Liverpool v Real Madrid game and it was clear that problems were already brewing two days before the match, with little gangs of thugs hanging around street corners looking to mug and attack vulnerable visitors.

"Then, what happened ahead of kick-off added to the mayhem and very nearly created a situation that could have led to the deaths of Liverpool fans.

"Let's put to rest some of the myths spun by the French police and the politicians in recent days because the world can see they are lying.

"I can't tell you how many people have told me the same story about what happened last Saturday, so it's time the record was set straight and the facts placed on the table.

"We've all heard the stories suggesting the problems were created by Liverpool supporters turning up late for the game with fake tickets, but those yarns have been shown up to be fabricated.

"So many people tried to get to the game two and three hours before kick-off but were ushered into this narrow tunnel by French police, creating a bottleneck that was terrifying.

"When they finally managed to squeeze through the tunnel - which clearly wasn't designed to accommodate the volume of fans in attendance - the gates to the stadium were closed and the police began firing tear gas and pepper spray at the Liverpool fans.

"Amid it all, there were scores of local gangs hanging around the crowd and pick-pocketing their way through victims.

"These pathetic cowards were not brave enough to take on groups of Liverpool fans, so they targeted the women, children and elderly - and it seems this is now a major problem for all tourists visiting the French capital."

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Paul Vegas

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