Five arrested after Blackburn fan attacks Burnley players and nine-year-old supporter is injured by a flare
Five people have been arrested following fiery scenes in Blackburn's Carabao Cup tie with rivals Burnley, that saw two supporters invade the pitch to attack Clarets players and a nine-year-old boy injured.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche was not happy with stewards at Ewood Park for their slow response as a fan ran on from the home end and grabbed Ashley Westwood by the throat before pushing James Tarkowski in the chest in the aftermath of Jack Cork's opener.
A second fan also ran onto the pitch and Dyche admitted he considered intervening himself to stop his players from suffering further attacks.
"When someone saunters on that slowly, it has to be dealt with because you just never know," he said. "The safety of players is paramount because times have changed.
"There used to be a time when people got on to a football pitch it was a bit of a joke, a little bit silly. But there are now different things going on in the world. There seems to be more anger, more animosity about these games and it has to be controlled.
"The challenge is for the stewards to deal with it quickly. I was expecting someone to run on and get him off.
"It got to the point where we were going to go on – not to do anything ridiculous but to say 'we can't have that'."
Five people in total were arrested, included a Burnley supporter who left off a flare which injured a nine-year-old boy after Cork headed in from Robbie Brady's cross.
After Brady wrapped up the victory with a second for Burnley, a Rovers fan threw a shoe onto the pitch and was also arrested.
Lancashire Police Assistant Chief Constable Terry Woods said via a statement: "We expected and planned for a lively match, which is exactly what we got.
"Due to a significantly planned and resourced policing and club operation, there were no significant incidents of disorder amongst the large number of supporters. That said, a small number have yet again let the fans down.
"I am truly appalled at the behaviour of these few, including the one believed to be from the Blackburn fans who encroached the pitch and thought it acceptable to assault a steward doing his job and two players there to partake in the match.
"Just as despicable was the man who threw the flare that hit a child. Thankfully he wasn't too badly injured and was left with minor burns."
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray claimed he didn't see the incident clearly but condemned the actions of the Rovers fans who invaded the pitch.
"It's not what you want to see and it's not what this club is about. I'd have to say it doesn't do anything positive for our football club, of course. But, there you go, it happened.
"Fan on the pitch? Of course it's wrong. I'm sure the authorities will deal with them as severely as they need to.
"I'm sure the vast majority of the rest of the supporters will be disappointed with the supporter who came on the pitch.
"But you're asking the wrong person. Go and ask the security people at the football club. I manage the football team on the grass.
"We just lost a goal and I sat down on the bench and was talking to my staff about the goal. I turned around and saw a melee on the pitch.
"I didn't see a fan running on the pitch. I didn't know what he did. That's not an 'Arsene Wenger' comment. I just didn't see it."
(© Independent News Service)
Independent News Service