English football momentarily witnessed a show of shame after Sheffield United striker, Billy Sharp was brutally attacked by a pitch-invading Nottingham Forest fan during wild celebrations at the City Ground on Tuesday night, May 17.
After the game, Nottingham Forest fans ran onto the pitch to celebrate their victory on penalties in the Championship play-off semi-final. One of them ran towards Sharp who was standing in the technical area. Footage appears to show Sharp being floored by a headbutt.
The striker was treated on the ground and needed stitches.
A club spokesperson confirmed to media that Sharp was left needing stitches after the incident.
Furious United manager Paul Heckingbottom said: “It’s assault. We’ve seen one of our players attacked.
“He’s shook up, bleeding, angry. It’ll be dealt with.”
Heckingbottom added: “We’re seeing things thrown on the pitch and things that are thrown on putting players’ health and safety in danger and nothing’s ever done about it.
“There will be something done about that. We’ve seen what’s happened, we know what’s happened. There’s a prison sentence there without a doubt.
“How can you come to a place of work minding your own business and be assaulted in that fashion?
“It’s just bang out of order and it’s everything that’s wrong. Too many times we hear people condemn it, but nothing’s done about it. We’re the ones that suffered.
“It’s upsetting for a lot of reasons – I don’t want to say too much more about it. He’ll be dealt with.”
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.”
Forest fan headbutts Sheffield United’s billy sharp pic.twitter.com/vQ98GP4YNu
— Football Fights (@footbalIfights) May 17, 2022
Forest later put out a statement saying they are “appalled” at the treatment of Sharp, who played for the club on loan in the 2012-13 season.
It 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.”