This morning, Christian O'Connell and his very forgettable radio sidekick labelled the England fans caught up in the terror in Marseille as an "embarrassment". The typical cliches came out about "this sort of thing happening in 2016" and "they aren't proper football fans". Another forgettable Twitter journalist said that England fans "could have avoided Marseille's port if they wanted to". The same old written, television and radio media reaction has been damning of all involved, with a specific focus on the role of the England fans. And it's so inaccurate, it would be hilarious if it's effects weren't so terrifying.
Sandwiched between a very entertaining and engrossing game of football (of which an actual match report will be going up) were two terrifying journeys in and out of the city of Marseille. The journey home was sobered: not because of the last minute equaliser, but because of rumours (thankfully false) that two England fans had died in the violence both before and after the game.
First to shoulder some responsibility are the locals. Marseille is a rough city of which there is no British comparison. High poverty levels make violent and petty crime commonplace, and the number of recent or descents of immigrants has been somewhat misinterpreted as another reason for the violence: it is not necessarily the social groups that live in Marseille, but the absence of social cohesion and a sense of community makes for a tense and uncomfortable atmosphere. Stories of local youths brandishing knives and swiping them at the heads of English fans drinking in local bars, or bottles being dropped from the high rise flats. On the flight home yesterday, more than one England fan had a dressing on their head or face.
Next up has to be the French officials. An Aston Villa fan sat in front of us said that he'd been threatened with a chair leg by a local at the Old Port, with riot police standing by without intervention. Only when the English fans reacted would the tear gas be deployed. A chance for the authorities to test out their new toys on everybody's favourite footballing pantomime villain.
We now move onto the animals responsible for the hospitalisation of a number of English fans: the Russians. Dressed in MMA fighting gloves and gum shields, the term "hooligan" doesn't do them justice. These were organised, trained groups who adopted tactics to isolate individuals or small groups. The "rules of the game" in England, such as not kicking a man when he is down, nor attacking an individual in groups, don't apply to these men. The English hooligan has a stereotype of a beer belly, a t shirt tan, and bad tattoos. These individuals were military trained and were intent on causing as much physical harm to as many people as possible. It's astounding that nobody has died this weekend as a result of the disgusting behaviour of these animals.
Finally, we move onto UEFA, our continental sporting association. UEFA have condemned the actions in and out of the ground, but their warning to ban both sides shows their lack of understanding of the entire situation. For Russia and England to receive the same punishment is ridiculous.
They've also called for an alcohol ban on all games - you could only drink Carlsberg 0.5% in the ground anyway! And if they think it'll stop the Russians, they've got another thing coming. And of course, organisers of the event have not accepted that organising this game to take part on a Saturday, at 9pm, in a city where England fans have faced violence before (v Tunisia in 1998) played a significant role in the day's events.
They've known about this game since December, and failed to protect the safety of fans.
We can't neglect our friends at FIFA, who have given the 2018 World Cup to you guessed it, Russia. Home to homophobia, racism and violence. Congratulations, FIFA. You've outdone yourselves. And I'm sure football fans will be similarly to blame when the event is beset with reprisals.
There are those out there happy to highlight the role of English fans in Marseille this weekend, and there are those that saw it with our own eyes. When questions are asked of The FA, they must work with and defend the reputation of the England fans, the best in the tournament by far.