Pitch invasions labeled 'disaster for football' after Port Vale v Town violence

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Port Vale fans invade the pitch Photo: PA
Port Vale fans invade the pitch Photo: PA

What should have been a moment of celebration for Port Vale fans during last night's playoff semi-final victory turned sour when a pitch invasion led to Swindon players being surrounded and attacked.

This is the latest in a number of recent violent incidents involving football fans running onto the pitch and either attacking or getting into an altercation with players and managers.

Now Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt has labelled these incidents as a 'disaster for football' warning that they could lead to increased ticket prices to help pay for increased security costs.

On Tuesday, a Nottingham Forest season-ticket holder, Robert Biggs, was jailed for 24 weeks after he deliberately charged at Sheffield United player Billy Sharp at the City Ground, headbutting him and knocking him to the ground.

At Northampton Town on Wednesday night, a man came onto the field and barged into Mansfield Town’s Jordan Bowery during the League Two play-off semi-final second leg.

Thursday night also saw ugly scenes with incidents at Goodison Park, where Crystal Palace boss Patrick Vieira was involved in an apparent altercation with an Everton supporter.

Then, following their club's 6-5 penalty shootout win at Vale Park, some fans were captured in video footage seemingly throwing punches at Swindon players like Harry McKirdy, Mandela Egbo and Jake O'Brien.

Stanley chairman Holt reacted with a lengthy Twitter post where he detailed his talks with the EFL to reduce restrictions were now "hanging by the slenderest threads".

“Why have we suddenly got a minority of fans being absolute d**** lately? This is a disaster,” Holt said.

“Behind the scenes major progress is-was being made to lighten up rules and restrictions, reduce aggressive stewarding and police.

“Talk to @EFL about this regularly who were sympathetic to the way I want to change how we run games.

“My arguments are hanging by the slenderest threads in slender thread land now. ‘If you treat folk right they reciprocate’.

He went on to issue a plea for those fans unable to control themselves to stay away from matches because their actions will have consequences.

“It’s football, get a grip you complete clowns causing the problems. You win, you draw, you lose. If you can’t cope with that STAY AWAY.

“You’re ruining the day for many, increasing club security costs and as a result ticket prices for all. I’m not paying extra costs because of these stumps.

“If costs go up, tickets go up. Ban them all, jail them all, we don’t need them in football.”

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