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Horrific moment Nottingham Forest fan floors Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp leaving him needing stitches during pitch invasion after playoff semi-final – with Blades boss calling for a ‘prison sentence’ after ‘cowardly’ assault
- Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp was attacked by a pitch invader at the final whistle
- The striker was floored by a Nottingham Forest fan in amongst the celebrations
- It has been confirmed that the 36-year-old had to receive stitches after collision
- Nottinghamshire Police have arrested a fan on suspicion of assault
Nottingham Forest’s greatest night this century was overshadowed by a brutal attack from a supporter on Sheffield United forward Billy Sharp in the seconds after their victory in the Championship play-off semi-final.
As fans spilled on to the pitch to celebrate their victory on penalties, one ran towards Sharp – not deemed fit to take part in the game – who was standing in the technical area.
Footage shows Sharp being floored, with his attacker coming from out of his line of sight. He was being treated at the ground and needed stitches.
Police have since arrested a man on suspicion of assault following the incident, with Forest vowing to ban any offenders for life.
‘Billy was minding his own business and he was assaulted, blind-sided,’ said manager Paul Heckingbottom.
‘It was cowardly. Billy is shaken up and he needed stitches. We have the footage.
‘We always see people talking about player safety but nothing is ever done about it.’
Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp was attacked by a pitch invader after play-off defeat
As fans spilled on to the pitch to celebrate their victory on penalties, one ran towards Sharp
These events soured what had been a fabulous semi-final, with Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba the hero in the penalty shoot-out.
Samba saved three of United’s efforts – including the decisive one from Morgan Gibbs-White – to set up a Wembley meeting with Huddersfield Town on May 29, with the winner sealing promotion to the Premier League.
This is the second night in a row there have been problems at a play-off semi-final, after Luton boss Nathan Jones complained about Huddersfield fans’ behaviour after his side’s defeat.
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom not only provided an update on Sharp, but he was left furious by incident and made it known in his post-match interview.
‘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.
Veteran striker Sharp had a spell with Nottingham Forest during the 2012-13 season
‘There will be something done about that. We’ve seen what’s happened, we know what’s happened. There’s a prison sentence there without a doubt.
‘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 upsetting for a lot of reasons – I don’t want to say too much more about it. He’ll be dealt with.’
Covering the game for Sky Sports, former Forest defender Michael Dawson condemned the incident, saying: ‘That is an absolute disgrace.’
Sheffield United manager Paul Heckingbottom was left furious by the incident involving Sharp
Nottinghamshire Police said they were working alongside both clubs after making their arrest.
Chief inspector Paul Hennessy said: ‘A 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault in connection with this incident. He remains in custody and will be questioned by officers.
‘Our enquiries into the circumstances surrounding the incident are ongoing. We have spoken to the player concerned and we are working with both clubs who are supporting us with our investigation.’