‘I was punched, kicked and spat on’ – Chesterfield captain Ian Evatt reflects on pitch invasion assault

first_imgChesterfield captain Ian Evatt has told talkSPORT he was “terrified” as a mob of Preston supporters “punched, kicked and spat on” him following Sunday’s League One play-off clash at Deepdale.The hosts ran out 3-0 winners in the second leg of their semi-final tie, winning 4-0 on aggregate to seal their place in a Wembley final, but the game was marred by violent scenes following the final whistle as fans invaded the pitch.Most were in a jubilant mood, but Evatt found himself on the end of a verbal and physical assault from a group of Lilywhites supporters, with the defender claiming he was targeted due to a previous spell at Lancashire rivals Blackpool.Police reports on Monday confirmed a man has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting the Spireites skipper, and Evatt joined talkSPORT to reflect on his ordeal.“There was a pitch invasion after the game and, being an ex-Blackpool player, I was probably targeted by some of the Preston fans, there must have been a couple of hundred of them,” he said on the Alan Brazil Sports Breakfast.“I was hit a few times in the head, punched, kicked and spat on, and verbally abused.“Lucky for me the TV cameras picked up footage of two guys who threw the punches. It’s clear as day so hopefully they’ll get their comeuppance and they’ll be banned from football.“I was terrified. I’m a big guy but in the changing room after the game I was distraught because I’ve never been faced with such anger. It was scary, especially being on my own. Most of my team-mates had been shepherded off the pitch, it was just me and one other team-mate left. It was hard for me.”Asked if he had to fight back, he added: “Yeah, obviously I’d never throw a punch at any supporters, I’m not that kind of person, but I was having to use my body weight and strength to fight my way out of a hole, really.“At one stage it was right in the centre of the pitch, and the tunnel at Deepdale is miles away right in the corner, so it was difficult. Luckily for me one of my team-mates managed to find me and help me out.”Evatt also called for the Football Association to act, with Lancashire Police having now made an arrest in relation to the matter.“Something has to be done,” he added. “How long is it going to go on before a player gets seriously injured? All it takes is one idiot with a knife.”A statement from the force read: “Police investigating an assault on a Chesterfield player have arrested a man.“The 20-year-old from Preston was arrested this morning [Monday, May 11] on suspicion of Section 47 assault and is currently in custody.“Police are continuing to investigate the alleged assault on Chesterfield player Ian Evatt which followed an otherwise largely peaceful incursion onto the pitch at the end of the Preston vs Chesterfield match at Deepdale on Sunday, May 10. The player was thankfully not seriously hurt.“Officers are continuing to try and identify anyone involved in the assault. They would like to thank those who have provided information so far and appeal for anyone with information or who witnessed the incident to contact police on 101 quoting log number 0835 of May 10.”last_img

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