Football fans (no, I don’t nor will I ever refer to the sport as Soccer) are not known globally for their tame tempers and calm demeanor’s during matches. Every single horror story you can think of has happened at a football game in Europe, from bombs being thrown on the field to mass riots, to say going to a football game in Europe is a hoot would be devastatingly understating the event.
But that culture of fan violence seeped onto the field again, as a Leeds fan jumped onto the field and beat Sheffield goalkeeper Chris Kirkland after he allowed a goal to the fans team.
Don’t feel dumb if you’re confused as to the motives of the assailant. Either he was trying to soften up the goalkeeper in an effort to allow that game winning goal in, or he was playing up the stereotype that football fans in Europe are beyond crazy and lust for blood.
As for the players, both sides of the field were appalled and disgusted by the attack, particularly Leeds manager Neil Warnock who said after that he was embarrassed to be a manager after such an attack.
“I felt embarrassed to be a manager when I saw that,” Warnock told Sky Sports 1. “I thought it was an absolute disgrace. I think they should get the guy and prosecute him and put him in prison. (Kirkland) went down like a ton of bricks but that doesn’t make a difference. Nobody should be on the pitch doing that.”
Warnock went as far as to call for a prison sentence to be handed down to the attacker. This isn’t the first time fans have come onto the field and senselessly beaten players or coaches on the field. The most notorious incident in American sports is perhaps the attack that took place at then Comiskey Park back in 2002 when a 34 year old father and his 14 year old son leapt onto the field and began beating Kansas City Royals first base coach Tony Gamboa.
Like the White Sox fans who were as shocked by the violence as the rest of baseball, Warnock took the time to defend a majority of Leeds fans, saying essentially he doesn’t want to let one psychotic apple spoil an other wise supportive bunch. The defense of his fans came after Sheffield manager Dave Jones called for Leeds fans to be banned from away games and that they were merely “vile animals”.
“Dave was saying we shouldn’t thank the crowd but our crowd were fantastic but we’ve got one moron and I can’t tolerate that,” he said. “… All of them apart from one moron were excellent tonight.”
There were no further incidents after the match, which is more than the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco 49ers can say, both of whom had high profile shootings take place in parking lots after games. But no matter where the violence is taking place, everyone can all agree on one thing: it needs to stop right now.