Ireland international Enda Stevens says he and his Sheffield United team-mates feared for their lives during the pitch invasion two weeks ago which saw fellow Blades man Billy Sharp headbutted by a supporter.
e says he’s concerned as United players were left exposed and unprotected by stewards, in the latest incident in what’s seen as a post-pandemic rise in public disorder at games in England.
A fan caught Sharp with a headbutt as Nottingham Forest supporters came onto the pitch to celebrate their win over Stevens’ side, and the Dubliner has admitted his concern at the incident.
“I was out there with him and it was just an absolute disgrace. The thing is with that, you’re actually fearing for your life. You’re on a pitch and thinking, ‘I can be attacked at any moment here’. There was no help for us, nobody there to protect us.”
“There were policemen beside us who didn’t help us and didn’t want to get involved,” said Stevens, who is back in the Ireland squad after injury saw him miss the March friendly games.
“It comes down to protecting us. We are the ones isolated out there, and we had no protection at all. There were people in place to protect us but they chose not to.
“They could see it and they didn’t help us. It was up to ourselves to protect each other and try get ourselves off the pitch, whereas they could probably do better in terms of policing it more with more stewards. It is a difficult one for the them, I understand that, but it is something that has to change.
“The fact of what happened to Billy, it was clear as day, and Billy wasn’t too far away from the tunnel. That’s where you should be policed the most, like in that tunnel. With the stewards, they should be all around there protecting people from getting in.
“We were right beside the tunnel and we had zero protection,” added Stevens, speaking ahead of the Irish squad’s flight to Armenia.