Man arrested over Kirkland attack

  • Last Updated: October 21 2012, 18:48 BST

A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault after Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland was hit by a fan during an npower Championship game.

Kirkland: Was hit by a fan

The incident was one of a number of ugly scenes at Hillsborough during the 1-1 draw with Leeds which was televised on Friday night.

Gloucestershire Police said the man was arrested in Cheltenham shortly before 1pm.

A spokesman said: "The investigation is being led by South Yorkshire Police. The man currently remains in police custody."

Kirkland, who has played for England, was shoved to the ground moments after conceding an equaliser in the 76th minute.

A hooligan ran from the Leeds fans onto the pitch and pushed Kirkland in the face, before running back into the crowd.

The incident was caught on camera by Sky Sports who were broadcasting the derby game, yet the suspect was not arrested until today.

Quickly the thug was identified on social media sites with hundreds of fans joining in the condemnation. A mobile phone number was even posted, supposedly belonging to the suspect.

Wednesday manager Dave Jones - himself the subject of vile chants - urged Leeds fans to clean up their act.

Speaking on Five Live Sportsweek, he said: "It's a football match and we're looking at blaming police and stewards because they're not there

"He was a hero, he ran in the crowd, they were slapping him on the back so what do you do about that? It's not one person.

"In this country we seem to end up going with the minority all the time and it's going to take the majority to sort it out and you've got to police your own clubs.

"Do you know what needs to happen? The people that go to the games that are disgusted - and it's going to be hard - they are the ones who should walk out and isolate the people there who are doing it or point out who are doing it.''

Leeds boss Neil Warnock said: "Every club has got these fans and for me it's

got to start at the very top now.

"We know the lad who assaulted him and he's got to go through the courts and

they've got to make it detrimental.

"It's all right saying 'go in and get them out', but you've got to be there. It's frightening for stewards - I wouldn't want to be a steward.

"There shouldn't be any way whatsoever that people should be allowed to run on the field of play.

"Dave said he could have had a weapon and the other good point Dave made at the time was what happened if he (Kirkland) hadn't have got up?

"He'd made his three subs, what would have happened then? There would have been an absolute riot.''

Jones, who was cleared of child abuse allegations in 2000, was disgusted by some of the chants directed his way, adding: "I heard a guy on the radio say I get well paid and it's football banter.

"That's not football banter, I've had that for 12 years off them (football

fans).''

The Football Association said it will investigate events.

There were five arrests for various offences including public order before and

after the game, while three people were ejected from the ground and 12 were

subject to dispersal orders.

South Yorkshire Police said: "During the Sheffield Wednesday FC and Leeds United FC game at Hillsborough, it is alleged the suspect ran onto the pitch and pushed over the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper.

"The suspect was located in Cheltenham just before 1pm and is being transported to South Yorkshire for questioning."


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