Liverpool football fan left severely injured and unable to work after Champions League final attack

  • ITV Granada Reports journalist Jahmal Williams-Thomas spoke to Danny Smith about his ordeal

A football fan was left in agony and unable to walk after being attacked with a hammer by "up to 50" muggers following chaotic scenes at the 2022 Champions League final.

Danny Smith had gone to watch Liverpool play Real Madrid in Paris, but safety and security failures by UEFA led to fans being tear-gassed by police and attacked by others around the stadium.

The dad, who was with his 13-year-old son, found himself surrounded by the group after leaving the stadium following the game, where he was brutally attacked.

His injuries were so severe Danny has been forced to quit two jobs, and says he now faces the challenge of "reinventing himself" to be able to work once more.

"It was horrendous," Danny said. "But the fact my 13-year-old had to witness it, that was probably the worst part of the whole incident to be honest."

Describing the attack Danny added: "We've come out [the stadium] and we've gone to walk around the concourse away from all the crowds and a group of about 10 lads latched on to us whistling and we were just ignoring them a little bit, we were aware they were following us.

"More and more have come, then one started robbing my lad's bag and we stood up to them, a bit of a Mexican stand off.

"More and more have come, at the point there might have been 35 to 50 of them, or something like that.

"One guy has come in pretending to be a bit of a peace-maker in a way, and then I just felt a sharp pain in my knee.

"My mate's lad saw exactly what happened and said he just leant across and hit you with a hammer in the knee.

"I tried to put my foot down, and just given in and I've just fell to the floor."

Danny, who is a Hillsborough survivor, said the ordeal began when he, his son and some friends tried to avoid the chaotic scenes outside the stadium following the match, on 28 May 2022.

As they walked around the Stade de France they were surrounded by the men.

Following the attack, with the help of his friends, Danny managed to limp to a nearby hotel, where he says he had to "barricade" himself in, with other Liverpool fans, while the violence died down.

They group tried to ring an ambulance for the dad, who could not put any pressure on his leg, but was told there were no ambulances left and he should get a taxi.

But, after being begged by his son to simply "go home" the next day the pair made their way to the airport where Danny endured a "horrendous" flight home in pain.

Danny says he mistakenly believed he had simply been part of an "isolated incident", but was quickly told of the scale of the disorder.

"I thought this was an isolated incident," he said. "But it wasn't until I got home and I was in hospital and I was getting messages saying a lot of people had been attacked, a lot of people had been assaulted and a lot of people had been robbed, which was unbeknown to us."

X-rays showed Danny had suffered as many as three tibial plateau fractures, or breaks in the upper part of the tibia.

He was transferred to Aintree University Hospital for surgery and was told his knee injury was rated as at the maximum severity.

Fans were pepper-sprayed outside of the stadium in Paris ahead of the Champions League final. Credit: PA Images

The dad has undergone nine-months of rehab, but despite best efforts he has had to leave his two roles at a car manufacturing company and as a weekend carer for autistic children.

"I've had to leave work unfortunately," he said. "The job I did was quite physical, working in a factory, and with a heavy heart I had to fall on my sword.

"I gave it my best and had the best possibly rehabilitation, but I was never going to be able to go back and do that type of job.

"I'm just trying to reinvent myself now."

He says counselling has helped him deal with what happened, and has called for anyone else involved to also seek help.

He said: "I urge people, anyone who is still suffering, to speak about it, even to your friends or family.

"There's professional help out there too if you need it, and I'd urge anyone to get it off your chest."

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