Blues fans tell of angry mob horror

TWO investigations are under way today after furious Leeds supporters terrified visiting Ipswich fans by charging on to the pitch en masse during a crucial match.

TWO investigations are under way today after furious Leeds supporters terrified visiting Ipswich fans by charging on to the pitch en masse during a crucial match.

West Yorkshire police made 11 arrests and launched an investigation after the disgruntled Leeds fans invaded the Elland Road pitch on Saturday before throwing missiles into the crowd of visiting Blues fans.

The Football Association has announced it will conduct its own review into the disturbance, which delayed the game by 30 minutes.

Scores of Town supporters were struck by bottles, coins, lighters and watch straps in the trouble.


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Among those injured was former Ipswich Town player Tommy O'Neill who had to be taken to hospital after suffering a broken jaw.

The pitch invasion occurred in the dying moments of the game after a late Ipswich goal, making the score 1-1, had virtually condemned Leeds to relegation from the Championship.

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Phil Ham, editor of the Those Were The Days fanzine and Evening Star columnist, said: “The Leeds fans ran out from the north-east corner on to the pitch and made a beeline for where we were in the south-east corner.

“The element which made it scary was when they ran on the pitch initially there didn't appear to be any police or stewards in front of our stand. It was very ugly.”

Mark Fellows, from Ipswich, was in the first row of the away stand and said: “They were throwing coins. Somebody next to my wife got hit by a bottle.

“Somebody else had a broken jaw. Another young girl was struck by a coin on her face.”

Ben King, 19, from Ipswich, said: “They were chucking lighters, glass bottles and coins - even watch straps.

“Luckily one of the watch straps was engraved with their name on the back and I handed it to police.”

The Evening Star's football correspondent, Elvin King, agreed that the trouble towards the end of the 1-1 draw, a result which means Leeds will almost certainly be relegated to Division One next season, was among the worst he had seen.

He said: “It's moronic and shameful to the game. A small percentage of them are never going to accept relegation quietly.

“They have reason to be frustrated and the fans have a history of being violent so there was always a chance something would happen.”

Acting football intelligence officer, Tony Fisher, who travelled to the game for Suffolk police, said: “If I'd have been an Ipswich fan, without my police protection, I would have been scared.”

Were you at the game? Did you feel scared by the behaviour of some of the Leeds fans? Were you attacked after the game? Contact The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788 or email starnews@eveningstar.co.uk

See sport pages 40 - 44 and Phil Ham's view on page 39.

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