“It was a crazy thing, the children cried”… Injured during the derby, say Lensois and Lille supporters

Despite his four stitches on his skull, Rémi Serpaud did not hesitate for long. Firefighter in civilian life and weekend referee for amateur football, he went to officiate a French Cup game this Sunday. As if nothing had happened the day before. As if this faithful supporter of Lens for 25 years had not been a secondary victim of the stupidity of a minority of Lensois and Lille supporters during the Northern Derby. “It was important for me to go as a judge, it gave me the opportunity to progress. I wanted to exorcise what had happened the day before,” says the 30-year-old.

The day before, Rémi was at the center of the derby half. Coming to watch the match at the Trannin Stand with his father and cousin supporting Losc, the Lensois fan expected to spend a lovely afternoon at the stadium. Sitting right next to the Lille parking lot, he was no more suspicious than that, despite a funny mood “I just saw and filmed Nazi salutes from certain people dressed all in black”. Gestures, swear words, insults, but nothing that foreshadowed the outburst of violence that took place at halftime.

“During the break I go down to the bottom of the stand, flush with the lawn, because I sometimes intervene with France Bleu Nord to talk about arbitration. I had to respond to the antenna. And at that moment I see that the buffer zone that separates the Lille supporters from Lensois is breaking up. The stewards are overwhelmed and Lille supporters start climbing the gates. There are then a bunch of Lensois supporters who want to get in touch and, conversely, families with completely panicked children who want to leave. It was crazy, the kids were crying. The beams of projectiles intensify very quickly. Personally I saw little flags waved, cups filled and also a seat that I got caught in the face. I’m back on the podium at that point and I collapse. I put my hand on the skull, it is full of blood and after I am taken care of by the rescuers on the lawn.

“To me bullshit has no coat of arms or colors”

Evacuated on a stretcher, Rémi was taken to the stadium’s general infirmary, located under the president’s stand. It is there that he will be stitched up before coming to Len’s hospital center, where he will spend the night for further examinations. Released this Sunday morning, Rémi received a lot of messages of support from Lensois supporters, but also from Lille.

“They told me they didn’t condone what had happened to me, and that’s remarkable. I felt a lot of goodwill. For me, bullshit has no coat of arms or colors. I don’t want to be used as an excuse for anyone. I took a chair in the face, but it could have been a child in my place. I am not in revenge, but I will file a complaint on Monday to understand “.

Clément, 15, wounded in the head by an iron bar

Understanding is also what Corentin and Clément, two Losc followers, are trying to do. For the first time this Saturday, the eldest, 21, had his 15-year-old brother along for the ride. But again, nothing went as planned. Installed in Lille car park, the two brothers paid dearly for their presence in the stadium.

“It was hot from the start of the match because everyone was sleeping. And then, at halftime, there was a crowd movement. With my brother, we went down several rows. And more projectiles began to fly. I put myself in front of my brother to protect him, but at one point he moved a bit and took a metal bracket on his face,” says Corentin, the eldest.

“Within two centimeters my brother could have lost an eye”

Opened in the head by seven centimeters, Clément was not immediately taken care of by the emergency services because there is chaos around the parking lot. After several minutes of waiting, he finally goes to the hospital, where he is stitched up. Dressed in his Losc jersey, he will leave the stadium escorted by his brother so as not to bump into Lensois supporters. Back home, the teenager will return to Lille hospital center at night to also have his cheek stitched up at his mother’s insistence.

If he’s not traumatized, his brother still gets chills thinking back to the scene. “He didn’t see it coming. Two centimeters close, he could have lost an eye. But the biggest concern for him playing football is that he won’t be able to resume immediately, “sorrows Corentin, who believes that the security system at Bollaert was “pitiful”. After all, the two brothers assure it: they will return to the stadium, but with much less carelessness than before. Blame it on the stupidity of a handful of individuals.

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