Saints Fans Arrested After Pitch Brawl

Saints Fans Arrested After Pitch Brawl




Following Southampton's Championship play-off semi-final second leg match against West Brom on Friday night, scuffles erupted as hundreds of football fans stormed onto the pitch.

Home supporters flooded the field at St Mary's to celebrate their club's advancement to a Wembley final against Leeds, secured with a 3-1 victory in the second highest tier of the English Football League.

However, trouble ensued when certain fans headed towards the end of the ground where West Brom supporters were seated. Scuffles broke out, with reports of punches being thrown, leading to the arrest of three individuals.

Fans had been urged to stay off the pitch at the full-time whistle but when thousands of people disobeyed, some of those remaining in the stands jeered.

A Hampshire police spokeswoman confirmed that two men from Southampton, aged 26 and 27, were arrested on suspicion of going on to the football pitch.

A 24-year-old man from Southampton was arrested on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker, using threatening behaviour and obstructing/resisting a police officer.

The force spokeswoman said: “The vast majority of fans attending the Southampton v West Brom match yesterday evening, both at the stadium itself and in venues around the city, did so responsibly and respectfully.

“There were, however, a minority contingent of fans from both clubs who sought to engage in public order offences, including entering the pitch during the match.

“We had a number of police resources in place throughout the city over the course of the evening which meant we were able to swiftly intervene and help mitigate any risk of large scale disorder.

“Because of this, instances of public order were quickly de-escalated, and proactive opportunities were taken by police to prevent incidents of wider disorder from happening altogether.

“A 27-year-old man and 26-year-old man from Southampton were arrested on suspicion of going onto the playing area at a football match.

“A 24-year-old man from Southampton was arrested on suspicion of using threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour to cause harassment/alarm/distress, common assault of an emergency worker and obstructing/resisting a constable in execution of duty.”

Messages on the scoreboards inside the stadium read: “The pitch is for players and the stands are for spectators. Please return to the stands so the players can celebrate.”

Southampton manager Russell Martin said afterwards: “I haven’t seen it but I think it’s unnecessary and I’m pretty sure it will be a real, real minority (taking part).

“Our fans were amazing tonight. For those who did do that, if it tarnishes the night we’ve had and the win we’ve had and getting to Wembley in any way then they’ve let themselves down.”


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