Tributes to Northern Ireland fan that is first supporter to die at Euro 2016 after promenade fall

Darren Rodgers, 24, from Ballymena, plunged on to a rocky beach at Castle Plage on the Promenade des Anglais, police say. Tributes are pouring in for a Northern Ireland football fan who became the first fatality of Euro 2016 after falling from a beachside promenade.

He was among thousands of fans in the French city watching his side’s first Euro 2016 game against Poland.

Hundreds of people have paid tribute to Darren, with posts on his Facebook calling him “one of a kind” and a “gentleman”.

Airport worker Scott Bruce wrote: “Going away to support your country never to return, you will never be forgotten.

Getty
Police officers watch the site where a football fan fell
Police officers investigate the site where Darren fell onto a rocky beach

Read more: Brit dies at Euro 2016 after falling 26ft off a beachside promenade

“I cannot believe what I’ve just woke up to and nothing I say here will ever come close to how anyone is feeling right now.”

In a heartfelt message, friend Katie McDowell said: “Actually can’t believe the news.

“Was talking about how terrible the news was only to find out it was you.

“Hit me harder than it ever should have, really not fair.

“I’m gonna miss your cheeky texts and our Sunday night chats Darren Rodgers.

Getty
The site where a Northern Irish football fan fell in the French riviera city of Nice
Friends are posting heartfelt tributes to the 24-year-old on Facebook

“You were always able to make me smile the minute you sent me a wee text either being smart or being a flirt.”

It is thought that the man was drinking heavily and tried to walk along a barrier before tragically falling to his death.

A Northern Ireland police spokesman said the death was not related to disorder and that Darren had “fallen from the promenade on to a rocky beach”.

He added: “The processes are that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will make contact with this man’s family and take it from there.

Getty
The site where a Northern Irish football fan fell in the French riviera city of Nice
The death was not related to disorder in Marseille, police said

“I believe it was an accident – not in any way disorder related – obviously a personal tragedy.

“This was in the early hours, on his own, quite possibly had a bit of drink had been taken.”

Separately, an England fan is in a coma after being reportedly ambushed by a gang of Russian hooligans during the tournament.

Portsmouth supporter Andrew ‘Pepe’ Bache was left fighting for his life when violent clashes broke out during the Three Lions’ opening game in Marseille.

Just Giving
Andrew Bache, who is in a coma in Marseille after being injured in the fan violence before England's Euro 2016 match against Russia
Andrew Bache, who is in a coma in Marseille after being injured in the fan violence before England’s Euro 2016 match against Russia

Read more: First picture of England fan in coma after being ‘ambushed by Russian thugs’ at Euro 2016

The 51-year-old suffered a brain injury after he was hit several times with an iron bar.

His injuries are said to be no longer life-threatening but could be life-changing, according to a source close to the family.

They said he is still in a serious condition and the extent of his injuries can’t be confirmed until he is taken out of the induced coma.

Facebook
Andrew Bache, who is in a coma in Marseille after being injured in the fan violence before England's Euro 2016 match against Russia
Police are probing CCTV images from the scene

Police are probing images from the scene after the incident was captured on CCTV footage.

A Foreign office spokesperson confirmed Andrew was among those injured in the violence on Saturday.

They said: “We are in contact with French authorities about a British national injured in Marseille and stand ready to provide further support.”


Violence between Germany and Ukraine supporters in Lille

Video loading

Click to play
Tap to play

The Live Event you are trying to watch is either unavailable or has not started
Please refresh this page in your browser to reload this live event video

DailyMirror