Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp was left needing stitches after being viciously headbutted by a Nottingham Forest fan who had invaded the pitch at the City Ground
Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom has called for police action after Billy Sharp was shockingly headbutted by a fan who had ran onto the pitch on Tuesday night.
The unprovoked incident occurred after Nottingham Forest had beaten the Blades on penalties in the Championship play-off semi-final on a dramatic night of football. With emotions running high, the City Ground pitch was invaded after Brice Samba’s penalty save saw the home side clinch victory.
But the celebrations turned sour when one supporter charged at full pace towards Sharp, who was standing at the sideline before being wiped out with no warning. The footage has since circulated on social media while Sheffield United are calling on police action.
United boss Heckingbottom said: “There’s a prison sentence there for sure. We’re seeing things thrown on the pitch and things that are thrown on putting players’ health and safety in danger and nothing’s ever done about it. There will be something done about that. We’ve seen what’s happened, we know what’s happened.
“How can you come to a place of work minding your own business and be assaulted in that fashion? It’s just bang out of order and it’s everything that’s wrong. Too many times we hear people condemn it, but nothing’s done about it. We’re the ones that suffered.
“It’s assault. We’ve seen one of our players attacked. He’s shuck up, bleeding, angry. It’ll be dealt with. It’s upsetting for a lot of reasons – I don’t want to say too much more about it. He’ll be dealt with.”
Sharp had been an innocent bystander at the time of the attack and had not even taken part in the match as he was ruled out through injury. After the fan had headbutt the 36-year-old, there was widespread shock and outrage from those nearest to him.
Forest have since released a statement, which read: “Nottingham Forest Football Club are appalled to learn that our former player, Billy Sharp, was assaulted leaving the pitch after tonight’s match at The City Ground.
“The Club will work with the authorities to locate the individual in order they are held to account for their actions, which will include a life ban from Nottingham Forest.
“The Club would also like to apologise to Billy personally and to Sheffield United Football Club.”
Nottinghamshire police have since launched an investigation while the incident soured what was otherwise a brilliant game of football after the Blades beat Forest 2-1 in the night to take the match to extra-time. A winner could not be found and the game went to penalties.
Goalkeeper Samba was the hero of the night after saving three spot-kicks – including from Morgan Gibbs-White to send Forest to Wembley. Steve Cooper’s men will face Huddersfield at Wembley after the Terriers beat Luton Town in their own semi-final.