Pitch Incursions Take On A New DirectionPeter Houghton
Over the weekend we saw an escalation in “lone wolf” pitch incursions at least two of which included assaults on footballers.
At the Hibernian v Rangers match a match could clearly be seen leaving his seat several rows from the front walk down the aisle, climb over an inattentive steward and onto the touchline area where James Tavernier was about to take a throw-in. This resulted in a scuffle between player and “fan” and had to be snuffed out by Police. There were five arrests at this match including the invader.
The Daily Telegraph had this to say…
Meanwhile on youtube it looked like this….
Over at Birmingham City, the “second city” derby against Aston Villa was also problematic. Early in this match a man ran onto the field and punches Jack Grealish from behind. This one looks particularly dangerous as he could have easily had a weapon. Well done to the brave steward to manhandled him to the floor before the cavalry came.
Again, a you tube video showed what happened…
Not to be outdone the Arsenal v Manchester United match also had a man going solo. This time Chris Smalling was the victim.
There was no you tube videos available at the time of writing this article, but we can see a challenging worry here for our Safety Officer colleagues. It adds weight to the increased need for full-on searching at our turnstiles and the ever increasing need for our perimeter gate stewards to be hawk-eyed.