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'Chelsea fans' behaviour was ugly and shameful'

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'Chelsea fans' behaviour was ugly and shameful'
Chelsea fans cause outrage in Paris after pushing a black man off a Metro train in the French capital. Photo: Screengrab - The Guardian/Paul Nolan
19:20 CET+01:00
After amateur video footage of Chelsea fans abusing a black man and repeatedly pushing him off the Paris Metro caused outrage on both sides of the English Channel, The Local spoke to the British expat who filmed the shocking scenes.

On Tuesday evening Briton Paul Nolan was waiting with many other Parisians at the Richelieu – Drouot Metro Station hoping to get on the next train.

He had no idea that English Premier League club Chelsea were in town for their Champions League match against PSG, joined by 2,000 of their supporters.

Dozens of those supporters packed the Metro train that pulled into the platform.

When Nolan heard the aggressive chanting by some of the supporters and the abuse shouted at those standing on the platform, including the song "Where were you in World War Two", he pulled out his phone and began videoing the footage.

He had no idea that what he filmed next would cause outrage in both France and the UK and prompt Chelsea football club to promise to root out the culprits. Even UK Prime Minister David Cameron got involved, saying the scenes "were extremely disturbing and worrying". 

“I’ve just looked again at the clip and it’s as shocking as when I filmed it,” Nolas told The Local the day after the match. “Seeing the guy repeatedly getting pushed out of the carriage -  It’s ugly and aggressive.”

After the man was pushed from the Metro, a small group of fans - Nolan believes around half a dozen - then break into a chant of “we’re racist, we’re racist and that’s the way we like it”.

To me it was obvious there was a clear connection between pushing him off the train and the song that followed,” he said. “It clearly shows racist behaviour. 

“It was ugly and should be condemned. This guy was just trying to get home and they were standing there like bouncers. It’s outrageous.” he said.

The behaviour of the English fans made Nolan feel ashamed and embarrassed.

“You can see this kind of behaviour quite a lot back in the UK. But it was totally surreal to seeing these Brits  in Paris tanked up and chanting,” he said.

“They don’t realise they are in this bubble and when they come over here on the Eurostar, they go to the game and they don’t realise how they stand out and how ugly and aggressive they can look. It’s a shame. They are guests in this country."

Nolan stresses that the train was packed full of Chelsea fans, who didn’t join in the chanting, but he sensed it “could kick-off” at any point.

“It was scary. I thought there could easily be a fight here. A lot of people were leaving the Metro to get away from them or just trying to keep their heads down. They were picking on anyone and everyone,” he said.

Since being posted on the Guardian Nolan’s footage has gone viral around the net and prompted the Paris police and their counterparts in London to launch an investigation.

Chelsea have also condemned the behaviour of their supporters and vowed to root out those responsible. Footballing authorities in Europe and the UK have also called for those involved to be punished.

“I hope there’s consequences, you shouldn’t be able to get away with that,” Nolan said, admitting that he had no idea the repercussions his footage would cause.

“I just took the video to show how ugly supporters can be, not really to make sure they were identified,” he said.

“I didn’t even think it would be broadcast. I just thought I’d end up putting it on my Facebook page.”

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