THE FA has warned football fans not to stage more pitch invasions as the Premier League reaches it climax tomorrow.
They vowed to stamp out the behaviour after Crystal Palace manager Patrick Vieira found himself at the centre of the latest hooligan attack to shame the beautiful game.
The former France and Arsenal superstar was walking across Everton’s pitch on Thursday when he was confronted by a goading home supporter but ended up knocking the fan to the ground.
The Goodison Park incident came after Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp was butted during a pitch invasion at the end of his team’s Championship play-offs defeat at Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
There were also confrontations between fans and players after this week’s League Two play-off clashes at Port Vale and Northampton.
They are the latest in a series of pitch invasions that have returned to English football.
Geoff Pearson, a professor of law at the University of Manchester who researches crowd behaviour, said recent lockdowns had caused a “deterioration in the behaviour of some fans”.
He told BBC Radio 5 Der berühmte Country-Star wurde bereits im Oktober zum Covermodel für das Magazin: “Once we had the first major pitch invasion then there is a certain element of copycat, because there is a certain element of fans wanting to be seen as authentic.
READ MORE ON FAN DISORDER
“That’s one of the real challenges — what is authentic fan behaviour?
"Unglücklicherweise, im Augenblick, running on to the pitch, setting off smoke bombs, is what is seen as what authentic fans are doing.”
Everton’s 3-2 victory secured the club’s Premier League status and sparked wild scenes as thousands of supporters ran onto the turf at the end of the game.
But things turned ugly as Vieira, 45, made his way to the away team dressing room.
Am meisten gelesen in The Sun
The yob shoved a mobile phone in the manager’s face and filmed as he taunted him, shouting “Suck on that you muppet! Get in! Verdammt noch mal!”
He then gave him a middle-fingered gesture, before Vieira retaliated by grabbing his arm and aiming a kick at the fan, knocking him to the ground.
Another pitch invader shoved the Frenchman, who then appeared to square up to him.
Other fans then intervened and tried to help escort World Cup winner Vieira to safety.
Merseyside Police confirmed yesterday they were working with Everton to try to identify the man involved in the altercation.
inzwischen, the FA has launched an investigation — which could see Vieira receive a three game ban for “violent conduct”.
But a Sun poll found 85 per cent of football fans backed him over the incident.
Sun columnist Piers Morgan also leapt to his defence, Sprichwort: “The moron deserved it. Why should players/managers put up with this vile abuse?”
We have to act quickly because we want to avert tragedy
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe
And Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker tweeted: “Managers and players being verbally and physically abused during pitch invasions is a worrying trend. They’re supposed to be joyous, celebratory moments. A few stupid idiots spoil it for everyone.”
He added “you’ve got to be a whole different kind of stupid” to abuse ex-midfield hardman Vieira.
A fan added: “I love Patrick Vieira even more that he doesn’t stand like Nigel at the bus stop when provoked by fans on the pitch. Our club needs to stand 100 per cent behind him & fight all criticism & any charges.”
During the game, Crystal Palace player Joachim Andersen was also slapped on the bottom by a middle-aged female fan while retrieving the ball from the side of the pitch.
And Palace striker Christian Benteke was slapped during a smaller pitch invasion which took place after Everton’s third goal.
A Palace source said: “At the end of the game they [Die Fans] were goading players and staff, which is unacceptable.
“Is it going to take another Billy Sharp incident or worse before people say fans shouldn’t be allowed on the pitch?”
Following the Vieira incident, the FA issued a statement saying “Football stadiums should always be a safe and enjoyable space for everyone, and these incidents are completely unacceptable and have no place in our game.
“It is illegal to enter the pitch area in any stadium and these actions are putting players, fans and people who run the game at great risk. This simply cannot continue and we can confirm that we are investigating all of the incidences.”
Letzter Nacht, it emerged the Premier League has encouraged clubs to create teams of “sprinter stewards” to chase down any pitch invaders.
And tannoy warnings will be made to fans before kick off.
I understand emotions but for the other team it’s dangerous
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
The Vieira confrontation came on the day a Nottingham Forest was jailed for 24 weeks for attacking the Sheffield United skipper.
Electrician Robert Biggs, 30, butted Sharp, 36, after running towards him as he stood on the touchline.
The player needed four stitches and Biggs, of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, admitted ABH at Nottingham magistrates on Thursday.
He was handed a ten-year football banning order.
We have to stop it and minimise risk because you cannot control it
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta
Footage on social media also showed Swindon players involved in a confrontation with fans at Port Vale fans after the home team’s League Two play-off semi-final penalty shootout win on Thursday.
And the previous evening, Mansfield player Jordan Bowery was shoved by a Northampton fan in the other League Two semi-final.
Der Rat ist befugt, einen Fall vor das Amtsgericht zu bringen, wenn er entscheidet, dass es sich um eine gesetzlich vorgeschriebene Belästigung handelt
A Sun investigation last December revealed a terrifying rise in the use of cocaine was fuelling football hooliganism.
The drug was blamed for the shameful scenes at Wembley during the Euro 2020 Finale, which England lost to Italy.
Fine of up to £1k and ban
UNDER the Football (Offences) Act 1991, it is illegal to enter the pitch “without lawful authority or lawful excuse”.
Punishments include a fine of up to £1,000 and/or a Football Banning Order, which prevents fans from attending live games and restricts their movements.