The police have arrested a man for an alleged assault on Billy Sharp in the aftermath of Nottingham Forest’s victory against Sheffield United.
Following an entertaining back-and-forth semi-final, the game came to a close, and with an overwhelming sense of joy, ‘The Reds’ fans invaded the pitch to celebrate bagging their place in the final of the Championship play-offs.
Although supporters shouldn’t go on the field of the play, this reaction often occurs in big footballing moments. In spite of the potential consequences, the emotion overwhelms the men and women who’ve spent years supporting their club. And for the most part, it doesn’t cause any harm. But one individual made a bafflingly violent decision last night.
One man joined his friends to celebrate, however, unlike the rest, he targeted a member of the rival team. He spotted Sharp on the sidelines and charged in with an unprovoked headbutt which sent the Sheffield man tumbling towards the floor.
Man arrested for Billy Sharp assault
Following the incident, Nottinghamshire police launched an investigation.
Chief Inspector Paul Hennessy, of Nottinghamshire Police, 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.”
Furthermore, Sheffield head coach, Paul Heckingbottom, revealed that his player required stitches: “We’ve seen one of our players attacked. He’s shook up, bleeding, angry.
“Bill was minding his own business off the pitch, trying to get our players away. He was blindsided, it was cowardly. He was knocked to the ground [and required] stitches, he was shook up.”
Forest also condemned the supporter and confirmed that he will receive a lifetime ban for his actions.
Their statement 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.”
Billy Sharp comments on the assault
Despite the traumatic experience, the striker admitted that he wouldn’t let the actions of one reckless supporter ruin his relationship with his former club.
He said: “One mindless idiot ruined what was an unbelievable night of football.”
“Congratulations to Nottingham Forest on their victory and good luck in the final. As an ex-Forest player, I will not let one scumbag ruin my respect for the Forest fans.”
Sharp added: “Incredibly proud to captain this group of Sheffield United players. They gave their all and can hold their heads up high.”
Although his side lost the game and he endured a horrific moment, Sharp remains in good spirits. His team put up a spirited fight in a game which provided viewers with fantastic entertainment. After Forest took the lead early, ‘The Blades’ equalised and in the 75th-minute found the goal to make it 3-3 on aggregate.
But despite sending the game into extra time, and ultimately penalties, they couldn’t overcome the heroics of Brice Samba. The Congolese star saved three spot-kicks to send his supporters into raptures, in addition to bagging his team’s place in the final. Consequently, this leaves Sheffield United in the Championship for another season.
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