Nine charged in Manchester derby trouble
Published 10/12/2012 | 12:39
Greater Manchester Police have confirmed nine people have been charged in connection with trouble at Sunday's Manchester derby.
Trouble flared after Manchester United's last-gasp winner in their 3-2 Barclays Premier League away victory when Rio Ferdinand was hit above the left eye by a two-pence coin thrown from the crowd as the team celebrated. With blood pouring down his face, there was more controversy when a Manchester City supporter ran on to the pitch to confront Ferdinand.
Among the charges faced by the nine people are racially aggravated public order and pitch encroachment. Police are still hunting for the person who threw the coin.
Football Association chairman David Bernstein called the crowd incidents "deplorable" and says they must be "dealt with severely". He told Sky Sports News: "It is deplorable to see those incidents and to see Rio Ferdinand with blood on his face is absolutely terrible.
"I think it's disturbing that we're seeing a recurrence of these types of incidents. We've had racial abuse issues, the odd pitch incursion, things being thrown at players - it's very unacceptable and has to be dealt with severely."
Bernstein promised tough action from the FA to try to stamp out the chances of further incidents occurring. He added: "It's very disappointing: so much of football is so good, great things are happening in football as a whole, but these odd incidents get the headlines - and understandably because they are serious matters, they are unforgivable things."
The City fan who ran on to the pitch and tried to confront Ferdinand has apologised through his solicitors Stephen Lickrish and Associates.
Matthew Stott, a 21-year-old landscape gardener from Knutsford, said in a statement: "I would like to apologise to all those affected by my actions, particularly Mr Ferdinand and the other players. I am extremely ashamed of my actions. I have let myself down, my family down, my fellow fans down and Manchester City Football Club.
"I intend to write personally to Mr Ferdinand to express my extreme regret and apologies and also apologise to Manchester United and their fans.
"I would like to thank Joe Hart for his actions when I came on the pitch. I have been a fan of Manchester City Football Club all my life and I have been a season ticket holder for three years and I attend the games with my father. I have had the same seat in the section next to the away fans for those three years."