A Nottingham Forest fan has been jailed for five months after he pleaded guilty to assaulting Sheffield United captain Billy Sharp during Tuesday’s play-off semi-final at the City Ground.
Sharp, a former Forest player, was targeted by Robert Biggs, 30, who made a beeline for the 36-year-old in the celebrations which followed the home side’s victory in a dramatic penalty shootout.
The Blade’s skipper was left needing stitches after the violent assault, but he has sent a classy message to the vast majority of Forest fans he has respect for, having spent the 2012-13 season on loan at the club, scoring 11 goals.
‘One mindless idiot ruined what was an unbelievable night of football,’ Sharp posted on Twitter.
‘Congratulations to Nottingham Forest on their victory and good luck in the final. As an ex Forest player I will not let one scumbag ruin my respect for the Forest fans.
‘Incredibly proud to be captain of this group of Sheffield United players, they gave their all and can hold their heads up high. We will be back and go again. Thanks for all your messages and support after the incident.’
Blades boss, Paul Heckingbottom, however, was less measured in his response in the immediate aftermath, asking: ‘How can you come to your place of work, minding your own business, and be assaulted in that fashion?
‘It’s bang out of order, it’s everything that’s wrong, like I say, too many times, you hear people condemn it but nothing’s done about it. We’re the ones who suffer.
‘It’s upsetting for lots of reasons, but it’ll be dealt with.’
The Association, meanwhile, is investigating video footage which appears to show United’s Oli McBurnie stamping on a Nottingham Forest fan during the mass pitch invasion.
‘We have now started an investigation into this incident. The person in question has not yet reported the incident, but we would urge them to come forward along with any other persons who may have witnessed the incident or have video footage so we can establish the full circumstances.
‘We would particularly appeal to the owner of the original footage to make contact.’
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