VIOLENT thugs showed ‘no mercy’ to a Pompey fan who was beaten with iron bars so badly he is in an induced coma, his friend has said.
Andrew Bache – known as Pepe – is in hospital in France with ‘life-changing’ brain injuries after being attacked by thugs in Marseille.
Friends said the 50-year-old was in a group of six pals in the country for England’s opening game against Russia on Saturday night.
Disturbing footage uploaded to YouTube shows chaotic scenes as Russians charge England fans in a square before riot police move in.
It shows a man, identified by friends as Mr Bache, being repeatedly hit over the head with an object seconds after screaming can be heard.
A French police officer who gave a bloodied Mr Bache CPR has been credited with saving his life by his friends.
Brice Robin, chief Marseille prosecutor, said about 150 Russian hooligans had been involved in the trouble, describing them as ‘hyper violent’ and ‘hyper rapid’.
He said Mr Bache was in a critical condition in a French hospital after being beaten round the head by Russians armed with iron bars.
Mr Bache’s brother, Dean, and his son Harry were yesterday travelling to him.
Close pal Jay Ricketts, 44, said: ‘There was no mercy given to any of the people out there.
‘Unfortunately he sustained serious head injuries and ended up in hospital.
‘We’ve got to get him home first – at the moment they’re saying he’ll be in this coma for at least a week.’
He added: ‘As far as we know he’s been put in an induced coma to help the swelling in his brain to go down.
‘There’s no real update on his condition until such time as they bring him out of that.
‘His life was saved by the French police who gave him CPR. This was a completely unprovoked attack by the Russians.’
The disorder marred the start of the tournament, with violence off the pitch continuing in the stadium on Saturday night when Russian fans charged at England supporters as the game ended 1-1.
In a message to friends, seen by The News, Dean said: ‘Just prior to the game in Marseille my brother Andrew and a group of friends were having a drink and enjoying the atmosphere when they were attacked by a large group of “Russian Ultras”.
‘Although they stood their ground they were outnumbered and my brother suffered serious injuries.
‘His life was saved by a French policeman who gave him CPR and he was rushed into hospital with serious head injuries.’
He added: ‘His mates out there have been liaising with an English policeman as the hospital wouldn’t tell them anything as they weren’t family.
‘They were told on Saturday that he is stable now and should be okay.’
More than £11,500 has been raised by friends online to support Mr Bache, who was targeted in the disorder on Saturday ahead of the game.
Mr Bache, a former Great Salterns school pupil who lives in Southsea, could be in the coma for at least a week, his brother told friends.
He added: ‘I was also told that the chief inspector of police has informed them that they have excellent CCTV footage of the attack and have identified those involved and pictures have been forwarded to the French police.’
Colin Major, 47, from Hilsea, has known Mr Bache for nearly 40 years.
Speaking to The News, Colin said: ‘Hopefully he can come out well from it.
‘I’m sick to the stomach, I’ve seen the videos and photographs and it’s horrendous.’
Colin, known as Tonner, said Mr Bache and the group he was with could not escape when charged at by the Russian Ultras.
He said Mr Bache was never involved in football violence.
He added: ‘If you’re in that situation there’s nothing you can do. Andy never went out for that.
‘He’s just a typical Pompey bloke who loves his football.
‘He just went out there to have a good time and he’s probably been saving for the last couple of years for this.
‘Everyone loves Andy and is wishing him a full recovery.’
Yesterday French prosecutors revealed a 16-year-old English fan has been charged with throwing bottles.
Five other Britons were also due in court.
NO RUSSIAN fans have been arrested in connection with the violence.
It comes as Brice Robin, chief Marseille prosecutor, said just two Russian fans had been arrested for pitch invasion.
Those arrests came after the shocking scenes at the Stade Velodrome after England and Russia drew 1-1 on Saturday night in their opening game for Euro 2016.
Mr Robin said officials had been unable to stop the Russian thugs as they had arrived in the city by train. He said 150 ‘hyper violent’ and ‘hyper rapid’ Russians were behind much of the trouble.
A total of six England fans were charged over the trouble, including a 16-year-old accused of throwing bottles during the chaotic scenes.
Six British men were jailed for their roles in the disorder and violence.
Home Secretary Theresa May said England fans involved in the ‘indefensible’ violence in Marseille let their country down.
And England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Wayne Rooney have appealed directly to fans to “stay out of trouble” following Uefa’s threat to expel the team from Euro 2016.
Uefa branded the behaviour of both England and Russia fans before and after the game ‘unacceptable’ and said it would not hesitate to impose additional sanctions.
The tournament organiser also opened disciplinary proceedings against the Russian Football Union for alleged crowd disturbances, racist behaviour and the setting-off of fireworks by its fans during the game.
SUPPORTERS have been wishing a speedy and full recovery to the injured Pompey fan.
Bob Beech, co-ordinator of Pompey Pals Project, said the attack was tragic but the incident has shown the ‘real colours’ of people in Portsmouth who are supporting Andrew Bache.
He said: ‘We send our thoughts and best wishes to him, nothing else really matters other than getting him a full recovery.
‘What happened was terrible. I think it’s a bit sinister to be perfectly honest.
‘We’ve seen things down the years at football matches whether it’s in this country or abroad but that was a little too well organised.’
But he said it has been good that Pompey fans have supported Mr Bache.
He added: ‘We do this in this town.
‘That’s something we’ve got to be proud of in this city where we look after our own.
‘We always do and it’s great – but it’s sad that it always seems to be when something awful like this happens that we see our city in its real colours.
‘We close ranks, everybody knows this is a close-knit city and when things like this happen we do really try and help.’
It is not known how long Mr Bache, a former driving instructor who now works at Tesco, was in the country before the attack.
Portsmouth Football Club has also sent its best wishes and hopes he makes a full recovery.
A club spokesman, Colin Farmery, said: ‘It’s a shocking thing to happen and our thoughts are with the family. Hopefully the guy will make a full recovery.’
Mr Bache, known as Pepe, is a regular at the Milton Arms on match days.
Landlord Steve Hudson said: ‘It’s incredibly sad what’s happened to Pepe.
‘Our thoughts go out to his family.’
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: ‘We’re in contact with French authorities about a British national injured in Marseille and stand ready to provide further support.’