'You're Fearing For Your Life' - Enda Stevens On Pitch Invasion That Saw Billy Sharp Headbutted By Fan
Sheffield United full-back Enda Stevens says he feared for his life during the pitch invasion that saw his teammate Billy Sharp headbutted by a fan.
Sharp required four stitches to his lip after being assaulted by Nottingham Forest supporter Robert Biggs at the end of the Championship play-off semi-final at the City Ground.
Biggs, 30, was jailed for 24 weeks after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm at Nottingham Magistrates' Court.
Update:— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 19, 2022
The 30-year-old man has been jailed for 24 weeks for assaulting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp at the end of the play-off semi-final. pic.twitter.com/ZkAvdHxyDc
Stevens says United's players were left exposed during the pitch invasion, just one of a number at the end of the English football season.
"I was out there with him and it was just an absolute disgrace," said Stevens, speaking while away on international duty with the Republic of Ireland.
"The thing is with that, you're actually fearing for your life. You're on a pitch and thinking, 'I can be attacked at any moment here'. There was no help for us, nobody there to protect us.
"There were policemen beside us who didn't help us and didn't want to get involved.
"It comes down to protecting us. We are the ones isolated out there, and we had no protection at all. There were people in place to protect us but they chose not to.
🗣 “You’re actually fearing for your life. You’re on a pitch and you’re thinking. ‘I can be attacked in any moment here’. There was no help for us.”— Football Daily (@footballdaily) June 1, 2022
Sheffield United full-back Enda Stevens says the pitch invasions in England need to be dealt with due to the dangers involved. pic.twitter.com/5q4q6r2Hqs
"They could see it and they didn't help us. It was up to ourselves to protect each other and try get ourselves off the pitch, whereas they could probably do better in terms of policing it more with more stewards.
"It is a difficult one for the them, I understand that, but it is something that has to change.
"The fact of what happened to Billy, it was clear as day, and Billy wasn't too far away from the tunnel. That's where you should be policed the most, like in that tunnel.
"With the stewards, they should be all around there protecting people from getting in.
"We were right beside the tunnel and we had zero protection."
The English Football League is reportedly considering tougher punishments to deter pitch invasions next season.
Capacity reductions and fines are among the penalties being considered by the EFL, with chief executive Trevor Birch issuing a warning to fans.
"It is a criminal offence to enter the field of play," Birch said.
"While some suggest that pitch invasions are harmless in the main, the reality is that they are facilitating unacceptable behaviour by providing cover for the reckless few seeking to cause harm.
"There can be no blurring of the lines or ambiguity with this matter. Simply put, the pitch is for participants and the stands for spectators."
Featured Image Credit: PA Images & Sky Sports
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- Fan Who Was 'Stamped On' By Oli McBurnie 'Feared He Was Going To Die'
- Billy Sharp Releases Statement After Being Assaulted By Nottingham Forest Fan