Ryanair protester handcuffs himself to goalpost during Premier League match
Published 01/02/2012 | 08:40
THE Premier League football match between Everton and leaders Manchester City was brought to a standstill when a protester handcuffed himself to a goalpost.
The 46-year-old, named locally as John Foley, forced the referee to halt play for around five minutes at Goodison Park.
The bizarre incident occurred shortly before 8.40pm, five minutes before the end of the first half, with the match goalless.
Both teams' managers used the pause to speak to their players as several Merseyside Police officers worked to remove the man from City keeper Joe Hart's left-hand post.
The man, who wore a T-shirt, jeans and baseball cap, was eventually led away after police used boltcutters enabling play to restart. It is thought he was protesting against Ryanair.
His actions are reported to be linked to his daughter's alleged unfair dismissal by Ryanair, claims denied by the company.
A message on his T-shirt read: "Europe's greatest training robbers. Ryanair. Lowest wages guaranteed. Stop. Recruitment scamming our children."
Despite the attempts of captain Phil Neville as well as the man refused to leave the field. The majority of players looked with disbelief, before the crowd quickly started heckling the fan.
Reports suggested the man was Mr Foley, who staged a similar protest on top of the Crown Plaza Hotel, near to Liverpool John Lennon airport in Speke, in February 2010.
Everton later confirmed on their official website, evertonfc.com: "Bolt-cutters were used to remove the offender, who was roundly booed as he was escorted from the ground.
"It transpired that the supporter is a known professional protester, allegedly protesting about an airline's recruitment policy. He was arrested by Merseyside Police, who are now dealing with the matter."
Everton went on to win the game 1-0 with a deflected strike from Darron Gibson.
Police said the man from Southport was arrested for pitch encroachment and was being questioned overnight on Tuesday.
A Ryanair spokesman was unavailable for comment.